Making a custom pot

Dale Cochoy

Reaction score
Hartville, Ohio
In an earlier post I mentioned that I am often commissioned to make a pot for a customer for a Specific tree. This might be a tree that is already potted into a bonsai pot or one that is being developed to go into it's first pot.
When I speak with a customer about making a custom pot I first get the INSIDE measurements of length, width and depth that are needed. We talk about shapes, colors and finishing. Then, I set to work. There is usually some math involved in calculating sizes, shrinkage, etc. I also work from past experience making similar sizes and shapes. I can usually get pretty close in size to a requested size. Some pot types are easier to zero in on than others. Slab built pots and round 'thrown' pots are easier than ovals. Also, when there are extreme changes in rim, top diameter, bottom diameter it throws some quick calculating into the construct 'on the fly' so to speak.
I want to show you an example of some fruits of my labor concerning a pot I recently finished for a customer. Actually, it was three pots. As pots get more and more fancy and technical there are always more things to go wrong, so I usually will make more than one example for a customer to pick from. This series is a good example of my works along these lines.
At a show last fall a customer took a liking to a pot I had but it wasn't quite the right size. So, after the show, he went home, did some measuring and contacted me with what he figured he needed. I then made three examples that were each a bit different in shape and size, but finished with the glaze he requested. These are the three pots. Which one do you like?


  • granite gray fancy.jpg
    granite gray fancy.jpg
    47.1 KB · Views: 65
  • granite fancy rim.jpg
    granite fancy rim.jpg
    49 KB · Views: 58
  • fancy granite 2.jpg
    fancy granite 2.jpg
    49.9 KB · Views: 67
Nice selection, I'm sure the client will be more than satisfied with any of the three. The middle one caught my eye initially but after covering up one on the screen and then quickly covering the other one, I was drawn more to number three. Of course, the size and shape of the tree would influence my final choice.
Number one. It just looks right to me. I like thee proportion of the height of the body to the lip and feet heights.
hmm. definitely between#3 and #1, though i think i like #1 a little more, but i would have a hard time deciding :) very nice pots and craftsmanship by the way and beautiful color/ glaze

Any one would be a welcome addition to my pot stockpile.

I like the shape and overall appearance of #1 the most.

I like the glaze or finish of #3 the most.

All are excellent.

The second one (middle) is first I made and I think too shallow for customer. BTW, all three glazes are identical, different clay bodies but doesn't make much difference. Mostly just photo differences.
I'll let you know which gets picked. I think it will more likely be the 'size' that gets chosen and not style differences. BTW, these are all around 14" across and 3 1/2-4 1/2" tall.
Last edited:
FYI, A follow up,
The customer picked the first ( to the left).
It most closely matched the internal size requirements and we both agreed it was the best choice.
I believe it will be planted with a Blue Atlas Cedar.
custom pot for future American Beech specimen

In a few years if everything goes right I am going to be looking for a LARGE size pot for my beech. I currently have biult a training box 10inches by 10 inches deep. This will be a large sized bonsai when finished out I was wondering if you make pots that would be suitable in the size it is going to need? if so what kind of price would it be for such a pot? Color really is not the major concern for me.
Thank you.
Lets wait until you are set on the size pot you a few years:)
Top Bottom