Resources on Making Pots, Styles of Pots, Ceramics, etc.

Mike Hennigan

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Hey all, i’ve just signed up for a handbuilding ceramics class that will be starting September 10th. The Monday after after the national show. Can anybody point me in the right direction for any books, blogs, etc. on building bonsai pots, on the different styles of Japanese pots, or on ceramics in general that would be helpful to me?

I would like study up as much as I can and come up with a rough outline for the pots I would like the work on so I can hit the ground running once the class starts.
 

Anthony

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Tokoname and Yi Xing used to, from the 80's offer catalogues
of what they sold.

Slab building is pretty simple.
Our clay bodies are self dug, self cleaned and heavily grogged
for easy assembly, even drying and fast firing.
They can go immediately from hand building to firing.

Industry does a pressed powder body for immediate firing,
since the early 80's.

Use drawings with measurements and life will be easy.
Good Day
Anthony
 

Gsquared

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I am in the midst of a class right now. We have three more classes so I’m pretty much forcing myself to stop building and start glazing. I’ve got 11 pots in the works. The last class we’re doing a Raku firing, so it won’t be a bonsai pot that week. I’ve had such fun this summer getting back to clay.
 

Mike Hennigan

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I am in the midst of a class right now. We have three more classes so I’m pretty much forcing myself to stop building and start glazing. I’ve got 11 pots in the works. The last class we’re doing a Raku firing, so it won’t be a bonsai pot that week. I’ve had such fun this summer getting back to clay.

Yea I saw some of the pots you posted, really nice work man. I worked with clay in my youth and in high school and I always really loved it and felt I had a knack for it. I’m 31 now and this upcoming class almost feels like I’m coming home to something very familiar. Any advice? Book recommendations?
 

sorce

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I can't for the life of me find the Peter Krebbs site I love so much.
Japanese Bonsaipots.net? .co? Usually a few searches and I find it....great info.

Digitalfire too.

Sorce
 

Anthony

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ClayArt, if it is still around.
Lots of Master potters to talk to.
Good Day
Anthony
 

Gsquared

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Yea I saw some of the pots you posted, really nice work man. I worked with clay in my youth and in high school and I always really loved it and felt I had a knack for it. I’m 31 now and this upcoming class almost feels like I’m coming home to something very familiar. Any advice? Book recommendations?
I've not found any books that cover bonsai pots. Most are all concerned with making cups, bowls, vases etc. Those can be very helpful with techniques and many are applicable to bonsai pot application. As someone mentioned earlier in this thread, Greg Ceramics has some great Youtube vids. Totally instructive and inspiring. Aaron Stratten has some too.

I started a Pinterest page for myself that is all ideas for bonsai pots. Some are very traditional Japanese and others are very modern. It has shapes and glazes that I like or find inspiring. Here's a link:

https://www.pinterest.com/studiovoltaire/pots-and-pottery/

The main tips I can give are if you are doing slab built pots:
1. make a paper pattern first...before class. Start with something moderate in size, a 8-10" long pot. Oval or rectangle. Something simple, then move on from there. The main thing is make your patterns first. Don't get to class and go, "what am I going to make today?" You waste precious class time that way. Plan in advance with the type of pot you want and make a pattern. Newprint is fine, but a slightly heavier paper is better (brown craft paper). DON'T use inkjet paper from home. It soaks up the moisture and can stick to your clay (I learned the hard way and spent hours gently scraping paper off of slabs and pot bottoms.). Take printouts of the style pot you are wanting to create. The instructor may be able to help guide you with tips. Bottom line: plan ahead and have a goal.

2. Roll your slabs out first and leave them to sit for a while before you start building. It is way easier to build from slabs or thrown rings if you let them sit and firm up. I always start class by rolling out 2-3 big slabs (I do mine 1/4 or 3/8ths thick) and let them sit to use later in class. Part of it is drying out (put a fan on them if you can), but I think that clay sort of gets firmer if you let it rest for a while.

3. Feet. If you get the walls up on a pot, wait to let it get to leather hard stage before you try to put the feet on. That usually happens at the next session of class. Wrap the pot up in plastic and add the feet several days later. I often will support the middle of a larger pot with a center foot too. Not very "Japanese" but no one sees it once a tree is in the pot and it can save a pot from slumping in the kiln. I even will do temporary center feet on smaller pots for support while drying.

So those are my pearls of wisdom. Have fun!
 

Mike Hennigan

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I've not found any books that cover bonsai pots. Most are all concerned with making cups, bowls, vases etc. Those can be very helpful with techniques and many are applicable to bonsai pot application. As someone mentioned earlier in this thread, Greg Ceramics has some great Youtube vids. Totally instructive and inspiring. Aaron Stratten has some too.

I started a Pinterest page for myself that is all ideas for bonsai pots. Some are very traditional Japanese and others are very modern. It has shapes and glazes that I like or find inspiring. Here's a link:

https://www.pinterest.com/studiovoltaire/pots-and-pottery/

The main tips I can give are if you are doing slab built pots:
1. make a paper pattern first...before class. Start with something moderate in size, a 8-10" long pot. Oval or rectangle. Something simple, then move on from there. The main thing is make your patterns first. Don't get to class and go, "what am I going to make today?" You waste precious class time that way. Plan in advance with the type of pot you want and make a pattern. Newprint is fine, but a slightly heavier paper is better (brown craft paper). DON'T use inkjet paper from home. It soaks up the moisture and can stick to your clay (I learned the hard way and spent hours gently scraping paper off of slabs and pot bottoms.). Take printouts of the style pot you are wanting to create. The instructor may be able to help guide you with tips. Bottom line: plan ahead and have a goal.

2. Roll your slabs out first and leave them to sit for a while before you start building. It is way easier to build from slabs or thrown rings if you let them sit and firm up. I always start class by rolling out 2-3 big slabs (I do mine 1/4 or 3/8ths thick) and let them sit to use later in class. Part of it is drying out (put a fan on them if you can), but I think that clay sort of gets firmer if you let it rest for a while.

3. Feet. If you get the walls up on a pot, wait to let it get to leather hard stage before you try to put the feet on. That usually happens at the next session of class. Wrap the pot up in plastic and add the feet several days later. I often will support the middle of a larger pot with a center foot too. Not very "Japanese" but no one sees it once a tree is in the pot and it can save a pot from slumping in the kiln. I even will do temporary center feet on smaller pots for support while drying.

So those are my pearls of wisdom. Have fun!

Wow, thanks so much for your response, that really helps me out. I definitely want to plan as much as I can ahead of time and you help put in perspective what that planning should look like. I’ve been watching tons of the Greg ceramics videos, will definitely look up the other guy. Nice Pinterest page too!
 

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