So what is POTS and what was POTS?

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Hey I gotta a question,
With all the GREAT bonsai Pots , and the NEW designs for POTS,, What is a Pot, you see I have a niec that is an Art Major in ceramics, and she and I would like to start to develop pots,, for my trees, at first but maybe for some trees that aren't in the NORM of Bonsai tradition.
 

Bonsai Nut

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This could be the start of an interesting discussion...

As far as I am concerned, to a bonsai, a pot serves both a functional and artistic role.

In it's functional role, the pot provides an environment for the health and well-being of the tree. It holds the soil (or whatever medium the tree is planted in) and keeps the roots from drying out. It keeps the tree stable and prevents it from falling over. As such, the pot has certain functional requirements in terms of size, weight, and finish. At the minimum, it has to keep the tree alive, and not deteriorate in a outdoor, wet, sunny environment.

In it's artistic role, the pot has to compliment the tree and represent a united artistic vision between the tree and pot. It needs to be in scale with the tree, have the same personality, and compliment the tree's design.

Just as it is difficult to master the design and creation of a great bonsai tree, it is equally difficult to master the design and creation of a great bonsai pot.
 
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you said a mouthfulllll,
I look at my "OLD" books on bonsai and penjing and see how this is true.
 

bonsaiTOM

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Glad you brought this thread back. I was a bit disappointed that it wasn't expanded on by some our fine potters out there. Could make for a great discussion.
 

rockm

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Having tried to work with a few aspiring bonsai potters in my area, I have to say that it's not easy to get them to "see the light."

Potters unfamiliar with bonsai tend to want their work to shine and have difficult time accepting that their pot is not the focal point of bonsai. It's an ego thing. Interesting ceramics are fine if you're into ceramics, but not so much if you're doing bonsai.

Many new bonsai potters tend to base their work on wheel thrown rounds or clunky, funky hand-shaped blobs. Most are, well, mostly useless as bonsai containers, or require such a quirky tree to counter the funkiness, as to make them useless.

Making an excellent bonsai pots takes skill, both in the art of ceramics and the art of bonsai. It's not something that happens overnight. It can take years to get an "eye" for the shapes, glazes and construction that makes a decent bonsai pot.

All this said, potters new to bonsai have to start somewhere. If they do, they would do well to look at what long-time bonsai potters do. Hold an actual high-end bonsai pot in their hands, see its finish, construction and overall artisty. Also, a trip to a local museum that has antique Asian ceramics can open eyes to glazes, shapes and ideas.

I'm not saying that getting into bonsai pots is impossible. I'm saying it can take some time and a bit of research on the potter's part.
 

jk_lewis

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This could be the start of an interesting discussion...

As far as I am concerned, to a bonsai, a pot serves both a functional and artistic role.

In it's functional role, the pot provides an environment for the health and well-being of the tree. It holds the soil (or whatever medium the tree is planted in) and keeps the roots from drying out. It keeps the tree stable and prevents it from falling over. As such, the pot has certain functional requirements in terms of size, weight, and finish. At the minimum, it has to keep the tree alive, and not deteriorate in a outdoor, wet, sunny environment.

In it's artistic role, the pot has to compliment the tree and represent a united artistic vision between the tree and pot. It needs to be in scale with the tree, have the same personality, and compliment the tree's design.

Just as it is difficult to master the design and creation of a great bonsai tree, it is equally difficult to master the design and creation of a great bonsai pot.
You all might want to read the current issue of International Bonsai magazine, where John Romano has a very nice discussion on pots for shohin (and smaller) bonsai. They don't follow quite the same "rules" as used for pots for larger trees.
 
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Thanks RockM

Potters unfamiliar with bonsai tend to want their work to shine and have difficult time accepting that their pot is not the focal point of bonsai. It's an ego thing. Interesting ceramics are fine if you're into ceramics, but not so much if you're doing bonsai.


But what I meant was why do we and the potters have to remain restricted to the Bonsai? why can't the pot be just as striking as the tree? Maybe not as over-powering , but just as focal.

just my thoughts,
KJ
 

rockm

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"But what I meant was why do we and the potters have to remain restricted to the Bonsai? why can't the pot be just as striking as the tree? Maybe not as over-powering , but just as focal"

Well, see there's the problem...and one I've tried to explain to potters I've met over the years who are interested in making bonsai pots:eek:. Bonsai is about the TREE, not about the pot, no matter how much potters WANT it to be about the pot. The pot is a not the star or co-star of the combination--if it were bonsai would be ceramics. The pot is a supporting player. It is background--but (here's the part potters don't understand)--that supporting role is an extremely important one. You can't build a house without a solid foundation. A well-made, well-thought-out bonsai pot is absolutely necessary for bonsai. Achieving that goal is not an easy task.

While it's easy to say that the two should be of equal footing, in practice, it is extremely hard to pull off. It's mostly impossible to pull off for a potter just beginning in bonsai work.

This sounds like a lot of snobbish hoo-ha. It's not. I can't number how many "bonsai" pots I've seen built by potters who say their pots should stand out--I have had a hard time telling them that their work simply can't be used because of their weird shapes and/or glazes or construction can't be matched well with any tree form I've seen...

So, bottom line, you can make pots that are visually agressive and shout "look at me, I'm a work of art" and mostly not sell them. Or you can learn the whys and hows of real bonsai pots and sell them to be used with trees.

There is much to be learned in the more traditional methods. Old glazes, shapes and construction techniques used in Japan, China and even in the U.S. for stoneware offer more than enough for an aspiring potter to strive for....
 

jk_lewis

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For me, while I like and have several, hand-made bonsai pots -- from Dale Cochoy, Peter Krebs, Robert Wallace, Crataegus pottery, etc. -- I can make only so much use of them. 99% of them are round, or at best oval. Many -- if not most -- bonsai look better in rectangular pots.

Modern potters aren't into hand-built, slab pottery. They take a long time and aren't susceptible to as much creativity in glazes or ornamentation (and, if you're not VERY careful, the can fall apart during firing or use in cold weather).

Most commercial rectangular pots are mold-built these days -- even Tokonome.

Those who want to learn about matching pot to tree would do well to own David DeGroot's "Basic Bonsai Design." Published by the ABS, it currently is out of print and I don't know what their plans are for it. They should republish it.

Deborah Koreshoff's "Bonsai, its art, science, history and philosophy" has an excellent section on the relationship between tree and pot. Unfortunately, it too is out of print, but copies can be had at www.abebooks.com.
 
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ketoi

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When I was 1st asked to make a bonsai pot I went to a local club sale to look and feel their pottery, very different from the cactus and succulent containers I was accustomed to. Pots were subtle, both in shape and color. I've been to various shows to examine plant/pot combinations and I still have much to learn.

Whenever I see a tree (or C&S) in a pot (no matter who made it) if my eye is drawn to the pot it is distracting from the subject, whether it's color, size, shape or texture.
 
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