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What Do You See When You Look at a Bonsai?


Though it's a little embarrassing to admit, this is the only pot I clearly remember from the Artisans Cup (fall 2015). It and its well matched tree belong to Michael Pollock. Here's Michael's caption from his Bonsai Shinshei blog... "My lone Hinoki cypress after a quick fall cleanup. Falling deeper in love with this pot that Ron Lang and I collaborated on.” 

This post is the beginning of a series on bonsai pots... 

A few years ago I attended a major American bonsai exhibition (Artisans Cup) at a time when I had the leisure to go through the entire show three times over two days. The first time was a swirl of bonsai and people - It was packed and unless you wanted to create a traffic jam, it was best to just go with flow. I left that evening energized by the power of the event, but feeling that I had barely scratched the surface

The next day I went twice (morning and afternoon) and though each time I was more able to slow down and appreciate what I was looking at, I realized later that I had fixed my attention mostly on the trees and in many cases, couldn’t remember that much about the pots, let alone the stands.


Not only is this pot unique, but it's completely suited to the tree. The caption on this one reads "For Sándor Papp the best picture of my Sabina photo Willy Evenepoel, Pilsen 2é11." The artist is Milan Karpíšek


Red on red. Red glazes are expensive and not that easy to do. The tree is an Elaeagnus pungens (Siverthorn in English, Kangumi in Japanese). The potter/bonsai artist is Haruyosi


Is this pot made of bamboo or is it ceramic made to look like bamboo? The little tree is a Camellia japonica 'Unryu.' The photo is from the Omiya Bonsai Museum


It's almost like the tree is conforming to the shape of the pot, but I think it's the other way around. The tree is a famous Yew by our friend Harry Harrington. The pot is by Victor Harris of Erin Pottery



Here's a pot you won't easily forget. The tree is a Dwarf Kumquat and the photo is from Bill Valavanis's Bonsai blog


I'm not sure I've ever seen a pot quite like this one. I don't remember where the photo came from. The tree is a Rosemary



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