Welcome to All in One Bonsai

Bitten by the Bug

Welcome to All in One Bonsai...a blog that aims to remind me of what I have forgotten. Over the years I have been finding out as much as I can about the art of bonsai. I hope the information in this blog will shed some light to the beginning bonsai enthusiast out there.

I saw some bonsai trees at a corner market one night in Taipei and asked the guy if he was willing to teach me how to create these miniature trees. He directed me to a night school where all the instruction was in Chinese. My Chinese ability is very ordinary at the least so although I was learning bits and pieces, I really wasn't getting all I wanted from the course. The best parts were when the teacher would start pruning a beautiful tree or when he showed us how to repot a bonsai. The mystery was still out there but my interest wasn't waning, if anything it fueled my motivation to find out more. And so I did.

Let the adventure begin...

Recently I have discovered the joy of pottery. Bonsai and pottery are close friends so it was only a matter of time before I was introduced to her. Welcome to All in One Bonsai...and pottery.

Feel free to visit my site where you can purchase some of my handmade pottery. Quite a few pieces have been wood fired as it is the prefered method here in Taiwan:


Monday, 27 March 2017

Back from the Heat

Back from the Heat

I feel it is a good match.  Pottery and bonsai.  Both have been a surprise discovery for me over the last 5 years.  They have taught me to use my hands in other ways beyond the daily mundane rituals.  I have a new appreciation of my hands.  It feels empowering to create, making something that can be used or just looked at.  I hope you enjoy these latest pots that have come back from the heat.

All these pots have been wood fired in Taiwan. 

Part of the fun of pottery is that you can try different techniques to get unique results.

I sliced this  tea bowl when wet with a twisted wire to create the ridged effect.  I then dipped the porcelain in a red clay, and finally white glazed the piece before placing it in a wood fired kiln for four days. 

A close up of a nice drip of glaze.

A zoomed out shot.  Some sections are more shiny, while others a little more matte.

Waiting to be filled up with whatever.

A pot with texture is asking for someone to pick it up.  I think that is a sign of a good piece - it screams of wanting to be touched and held.

A new style for me.  While wet, I cut into the clay with the sharp edge of a metal ruler.  I then stretched out the clay with my fingers.

My hope was that the wood ash would find its way in the ridges as it became a melted glaze.  It kind of worked in parts. 

I may try this technique once again, but next time I think I will try and avoid any straight lines. 

Although the contrast of straight and some deep cut grooves may be the way to go?
I'm also experimenting ways of where and how I put my seal on a pot.  The seal can be part of the overall design and proof that it was actually handmade.  I have my Chinese name on a seal - I thought about it for a while.  I tried signing my name in English and it always looked so boring - until I find a way to be creative with my English seal, I will continue using my Chinese chop. 

I glazed the inside and lip of this pot.

Tea bowl.

I mixed two different clays for this bowl.  I then glazed half. 

I made this guy quite light with a  shallow foot ring.

I have been rolling a small ball of clay and pressing my seal into it as a final touch.

I used a simple white glaze, but when wood fired, it has a nice green smoky appearance.

This guy was probably my favorite.  Simple, comfortable shape, with an interesting colour spread.

I made the lip undulating which creates a feeling of movement but also modesty. 

A section of the glaze that I applied melted the foot ring onto the wad.  I had to grind it off so as the cup would stand without wobbling.  The whiteness showing up on the foot is the result from grinding.  I would like to tone down the whiteness but I am yet to find out how.

I applied the glaze too thick.  You can see it here dripping down and settling on the foot, adhering it to the wad.  My mistake.

A small tea cup.  I added Japanese white clay slip after trimming.

I impressed a finger dent in the side to add a touch of ....uniqueness?

A splash of white glaze on the other side.

I think I will continue dipping some pots into my Japanese white clay slip.  I like the effect.

A tea jar.

Again I applied the glaze too thick.  It pooled down the bottom and stuck on the wad. 

I removed it with a grinder but it would be best if it didn't happen.  I think the jar would have been nicer - however, it does tell a story!

This guy is the size of my thumb.

I always make a few very small tea cups and throw them in a firing

They are all different.

I have about 30 or so up until now.

This last fellow isn't as small as my thumb, but not too much bigger.  He was fired with an electric kiln.  I have been playing around with some painting as well.

The other side.

Everyone loves a nice foot ring.  It is one of the first things someone will do when picking up a pot.  Make sure you get the ring right!

Thanks for reading!  I hope your trees and pots out there are giving you some joy.

Friday, 16 December 2016

More Pots!

The Hits Just Keep Coming!

Wood firings in Taiwan come thick and heavy as we near the end of the year.  Potters around Taiwan fill their stock shelves, preparing for tourists or locals wanting to buy.  Me, I'm just taking the opportunity to ride the wave.  We have another firing on Christmas Day!

Below are some new pieces that emerged from a kiln north of Taipei.  
Please visit my online shop for more details.


A nice little tea cup.  I applied a white glaze and the wood ash did the rest.

The glaze that I use has a green tinge to it.

A nice pooling at the foot, near my seal.

The white glaze and wood ash combine to create a smoky colour.

A cup or small bowl.  Both will work.

These coffee mugs have an interesting story.  I used porcelain and then dipped them in a red clay slip.  I bought them to be bisque fired to a friend's kiln.  He made an error and fired that at glaze temperature.  Now I wasn't able to apply any glaze to these mugs, so I was a little annoyed as they were Christmas gifts for my parents.  I decided to take a risk and place them in a wood firing kiln just to see what would happen.  They ended up being really nice mugs with unusual colorings.  I got lucky.

I used a sharp knife to cut away some clay on the body of the mug.

This is the second one.

A very small bud vase.

I used just a dribble of glaze.

The other side.

Another small bud vase. 

Some interesting things happening here.

A squared off vase or bottle form.  I plan on buying a nice cork lid for this one.

A spoonful of glaze splashed around.

This was a Japanese white clay body.

A stormy tea cup.  This was the second time this cup was wood-fired.  The first time was about a year ago.  It came out of the kiln very bland and under fired.  I always liked the shape and weight of this cup so I kept it in the workshop on my dusty bench.  I decided to fire it again and see what would happen.  I was happy with this cup's new outfit.

Winter is coming.

A tea bowl with a mountain etching.

The base sunk a little which is a shame because I love the rest of this bowl. 

It still holds its own though.

Porcelain bottle with red clay slip applied mixed with wood ash.

I wiped my fingers over the red clay slip.
Vase or bottle?  Rough mountain etching.

Some bamboo etchings around the side.


The vase was also squared off with a slab of wood during the drying process.

More bamboo!

Porcelain with a white glaze in parts. 

Can you see the lonesome goose?

A contrast.

A bit of everything here.

A mix of recycled Japanese white clay and Taiwanese brown clay.  A brush stroke of only Japanese white across the belly.

A few interesting speckles.

The white slip trailing.

My larger pot.  13 cm high and 17cm wide.

A etched quite a few bamboo shoots on this bad boy.

A sneaky look at the foot.

Well, holidays are here as of today.  Another year passes with lots of things happening in between.  Let's hope that there are many more to come.  Hope people are enjoying what they do out there.

Merry Christmas everyone.