A ceramics that is part of North American Bonsai History

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I am now almost convinced that this is indeed a Nick Lenz pot. Not just that, but an early example of his work. I still need to establish the final link in the chain of provenance to link it to Nick Lenz. But all circumstances point to it being one of his very early works in ceramics dating to before 1987. The size and shape match, and so does the geometry (large diameter but very shallow - 12" wide, 1.5" deep inside), the clay and glaze according to Kris Springer, an expert in Nick Lenz pots. However, Nick Lenz was not known to write on a pot with a sharpie. The lack of holes for wires was confirmed by David Easterbrook as a characteristic in early Nick Lenz pots. The lack of openings on the feet are likely part of Nick Lenz' early experimentation and in my opinion to slow down the drainage of water on such a large but shallow pot. Other experts on Nick Lenz' work, such as Andre Flores think that all aspects of this pot point to Nick Lenz. All still needs to be looked in person more closely but the purpose of this post is to seek help from anyone that may be reading this and can fill more gaps in the chain of provenance.

Why is this pot part of American Bonsai History? Assuming all the above, it is one of Nick Lenz' early works, at least 35 years old. At some point it was acquired by Jack and Genieve Enright while they still lived in Lexington, MA. Genieve was a pioneer female bonsai artist in the US, her work received national recognition and some of her bonsai are on display at national collections. Jack and Genieve moved back to the west coast and Genieve was among the founding members of the Puget Sound Bonsai Association. Genieve lived to the age of 98, some time before when Genieve and Jack Enright moved to a retirement house, they sold their entire collection of pots to Josef Addis, a known pot trader and a former president of the Puget Sound Bonsai Association. The collection contained a lot of signed Nick Lenz pots and a few unsigned, the one here being one of the unsigned ones. The stature of Genieve Enright as a bonsai artist and pot collector is perhaps the strongest evidence of authenticity for this pot in the absence of confirmation by Nick Lenz himself. Josef sold this ceramic container to Rick Grève, a young but enthusiastic and knowledgeable member of the Montreal Bonsai Community who amassed a very interesting collection of pots. Rick recently felt obliged to quit bonsai and was gracious enough to sell me his entire collection of pots. With the known connection between Nick Lenz and Montreal and with the fact that Genieve was originally from Canada, this round pot has made a full circle.

This ceramic container connects east and west, north and south, past and present in north american bonsai history.

I call on anyone with information that can validate or invalidate any aspect of the deep mystery of this shallow pot to come forward and reach out. As a disclaimer, all experts mentioned in this post other than Josef have not seen the pot in person but through the photos below and of course their opinion may change if they ever see the pot in person.

IMG_0516.jpegIMG_0515.jpegIMG_0514.jpeg
 

sorce

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Etch it for prints!

@crust ?

As soon as I feel like Nick wouldn't leave a pot unmarked, I feel like he would. But I doubt he would. Would he?

Sorce
 
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Etch it for prints!

@crust ?

As soon as I feel like Nick wouldn't leave a pot unmarked, I feel like he would. But I doubt he would. Would he?

Sorce
There are a number of verified Nick Lenz pots that are unsigned. Remember to always sign your pots and trees. You never know if you'll one day become famous.
 

crust

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Raf,
I am not an expert however here is my take. All the anecdotal evidence sure makes this pot sound Lenzian. The clay body looks like one of the groggy ones he used, The upper lip is characteristic. I don't recall him ever making any, and for sure, that sized wheel-thrown pots without an incised foot rim as this is importantly functional to him and way back early he did not use such clay body for the experimentation argument is weak also the bottom drainage hole is untapered at the mouth, which he did a lot. No wire holes, yes, but that is ubiquitous with older pots. I am skeptical. You would have to put it in Springer's hands to know for sure so it is unclaimable and just suspected as Lenzian to me. The pot still works though and that's all that really matters--put something weird or elegant in it and call it bonzo.
 

Adair M

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I would be somewhat hesitant to use it since there is no escape path for water to exit once it passes thru the drain hole.
 

penumbra

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I would not hesitate to use it. It would never be in a position where it would trap water either in display or in winter storage. It would display on a slatted wood bench or grow out area or it would winter store in a cold frame or on the ground.
 
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Raf,
I am not an expert however here is my take. All the anecdotal evidence sure makes this pot sound Lenzian. The clay body looks like one of the groggy ones he used, The upper lip is characteristic. I don't recall him ever making any, and for sure, that sized wheel-thrown pots without an incised foot rim as this is importantly functional to him and way back early he did not use such clay body for the experimentation argument is weak also the bottom drainage hole is untapered at the mouth, which he did a lot. No wire holes, yes, but that is ubiquitous with older pots. I am skeptical. You would have to put it in Springer's hands to know for sure so it is unclaimable and just suspected as Lenzian to me. The pot still works though and that's all that really matters--put something weird or elegant in it and call it bonzo.
Hi David, I agree with you 100% and I am neutral on its authenticity. If it is not a Nick Lenz pot though, the original seller has a lot of explaining to do giving his reputation. The original add selling did not say 'suspected' Nick Lenz pot, it categorically said Nick Lenz pot. It is a beautiful put regardless.
 
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I would be somewhat hesitant to use it since there is no escape path for water to exit once it passes thru the drain hole.
You would have to have to place this pot on a rubber coated bench with a heavy tree to trap the water. I am sure that on normal conditions, wood or stone bench, water will drain out, over a few minutes but not get trapped. Lack of air circulation could be an argument that would hold more water (sorry for the pun) but even then in such a shallow pot (only 1.5" deep), this is not a problem. I argue that the lack of opening cn the feet, either by design or accident serves a very important horticultural role in this pot and the pot would be less functional without this feature. It works essentially like a slab.
 

Adair M

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You would have to have to place this pot on a rubber coated bench with a heavy tree to trap the water. I am sure that on normal conditions, wood or stone bench, water will drain out, over a few minutes but not get trapped. Lack of air circulation could be an argument that would hold more water (sorry for the pun) but even then in such a shallow pot (only 1.5" deep), this is not a problem. I argue that the lack of opening cn the feet, either by design or accident serves a very important horticultural role in this pot and the pot would be less functional without this feature. It works essentially like a slab.
I’m sure you’re correct that is would not be water tight. But it would likely retain a wet condition under there. I place my pots on wood benches. Having constantly wet wood, with high humidity and heat (I live in the South) is a recipe for mold and fungus.
 
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I’m sure you’re correct that is would not be water tight. But it would likely retain a wet condition under there. I place my pots on wood benches. Having constantly wet wood, with high humidity and heat (I live in the South) is a recipe for mold and fungus.
Yes, you're absolutely correct. That is an issue to consider and monitor.
 
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This was actually going to be my question. As you are his student, why not just take the pot with you when you go to him and ask him if it is made by him.
I wish I was his student. I am not but he is a major influence. One of his students helped me with that.
 

sorce

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Can you ask him if it just got too dry to trim a foot in?

I was Thinking it just got to dry and he was like, screw it.

Sorce
 

leatherback

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I’m sure you’re correct that is would not be water tight. But it would likely retain a wet condition under there. I place my pots on wood benches. Having constantly wet wood, with high humidity and heat (I live in the South) is a recipe for mold and fungus.
I find algea grow around the feet of my pot to the extent that I have to seriously pull at times.
 

shinmai

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I have several pots that started out as bowls, from when my son was a potter. For the one or two that don't readily let the water drain through, my simple answer is to put the pot on top of a couple of chopsticks--that elevates them enough for drainage and air circulation.

You might consider starting a thread one of these days to show some other pots from your collection as well. Sounds like you were in the right place at the right time to land a treasure trove.
 
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Can you ask him if it just got too dry to trim a foot in?

I was Thinking it just got to dry and he was like, screw it.

Sorce
The email he read contained the exact same text above including the photos and raising the issue of lack of opening on the feet. I am grateful he confirmed the authenticity of the pot. It is ok for me if he left some room for mystery. We can now discuss for years to come here in bnut the reasons for the lack of openings. ;)
 

leatherback

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but it says you are right there, in your signature
:eek:
I thought I was the only one who was confused. Read the small print carefully. Only those that have life streams are considered teachers. The rest are mere influencers
 

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