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:

AllinoneCeramics



Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Some Final Products

      I am relatively new to pottery, but the process of  turning soft clay into a permanent state still impresses me.  Finger marks that are so easily wiped clean when the clay is drying out is set in place forever if overlooked.  Intentional impressions by the fingers remain, unmovable.  The etchings that peel back the clay so easily are now pictures that cannot be covered over.

      Below are some new pieces that have reached their resting place.  They have gone through all the hard work, the precarious moments when they could have been lost to the recycling bin, and now they sit and wait for somebody to use them.  That seems to be the easy part.  They have gone through their turbulent moments, endured water, fire and perhaps exploding shards.  They have not buckled under the pressure.  In comparison life now becomes more subdued, more restful.  

 
I am experimenting with combining different clays together for more unique results.  I kneaded porcelain and Taiwan brown clay together.


I was happy with the color.  It may be difficult to reproduce because the mixed clay was not measured out in equal amounts.  It was just all thrown together from pots that were recycled. 

I made a pair.  This is the partner.  I painted a simple decoration with red iron oxide.  Painting 'something' on a pot is an area that I am exploring.  It is difficult to get it right and is very much a personal thing. 

These guys are quite small and are to be used as a water cup or tea cup.

A taller tea cup with a bamboo design painted.

During the Summer I took Chinese brush stroke lessons from a local guy living around the corner from our place. 

It is another area of pottery that has opened up.  It is amazing how one thing builds on another once you find something that interests you.

These are my attempt of flying geese.


I squared this tea bowl off.  It adds a very different feel to the pot.  I think I will do more although I prefer a rounded lip.

We now enter the wood fired world!  A few weeks ago I picked up a batch of wood fired pots.  During the firing with wood, results can vary a great deal.  It can be brilliant or flat out terrible.  Mostly you find something in the middle.  I got lucky this time!


I glazed the inside and handle.  The glaze stopped running just in time. 


A smooth inside.

This is the partner.

I don't think this one is as nice but still has its own charm.


Again the glaze behaved and didn't run too far.

A inside look.


Pick me up!

This was an experiment.  I have purchased a more expensive Japanese white clay.  I was pleased with how this clay reacted in the kiln.


Taking a rest.


Same clay but either a sake bottle or bud vase.  I altered it while it was still wet by pinching it with my fingers.


It now becomes just a bit more personal.  It's a touch easier to pick up.

The clay has very fine grains of sand giving it a nice feel.

Bonsai pot.

Extremely lucky with how the glaze stopped at the foot.  If it had continued to run the pot would have stuck to the kiln shelf rendering it useless.

I still need more practice glazing bonsai pots.  Too much glaze snuck inside. 

Another small bonsai pot.

Same clay and same glaze as the previous one.

A cleaner attempt at glazing this one.

A small bowl dripping with white glaze.


The inside has a touch of green.

I threw this bowl quite light and was worried it may warp in the kiln.  It stood up to the pressure and maintained its shape.

A small foot ring giving the bowl a little more lift.

A single tea cup, altered by compressing either side inwards with my thumb and index finger. A red iron oxide was painted to highlight the impressions.


The glaze is a nice clean, clear white.

A finger swirl to top it off.

This tea cup is wood fired.  The same technique was applied to this cup.

A random splash while glazing.  Some people like this effect.  I'm not sure if I do...it somehow looks like it needs to be wiped clean?

The inside was nice and smooth making it easy to wash.

Foot ring and maker's seal.

While the clay was still wet I used a wire and sliced the clay at an angle.  It takes a while to get right but once you do, it has an interesting look.

This piece was wood fired, hence the variety of colour.

I was pleased with how this guy turned out.

A set of three very small tea cups.  I realize I need to include a prop near my pots so you can quickly picture the size of them in relation.  Any suggestions?  I'm against the lighter, match box...a coin could be ok.  I'm open to any other ideas.

                                                            These cups are only 5.5 cm in height.

I used a wire to trim clay off these guys in the wet stage.  I envisage them being used as either tea cups or sake gulpers.


While travelling in Kyoto in July we came across a raku museum.  This museum had tea bowls that dated back 16 generations.  I saw one tea bowl that was made for the winter.  I tried to make that style here. 



11.5 cm in height.  Japanese white clay - wood fired.

A plainer tea cup.

It felt comfortable in the hand.

I made two tea pots, this being the first.  I was very happy with the result however, there were slight cracks in some joins.  Slight but they are there.

They are still water tight but I am disappointed.

We use this guy at home.
Another small bowl.  4 cm in height and 10 cm in width.


Good to use as a soy sauce bowl.

This one didn't receive as much heat in the kiln.  The result was a little whitish in sections. 

Another one of my experiments with the brush.  I don't think it works.  Something feels not quite right - too basic - the moon too bright...or something.  I am a fan of not splashing the obvious down...leave some room for the imagination.  The good thing is someone might come along and say..hey I like it!


The other side.

11 cm in height.

Another small bowl. 

A nice pool of green appears at the resting spot.


I carved a little out of the foot ring.  I also sliced parts away to create a more textured feel.

The other side.

The orange section is shiny.

Tea bowl.

Wood fired - Taiwan brown clay.

An altered bud vase - wood fired.


8 cm in height.

Side angle showing the foot.

This is the second tea pot. 

Again, slight cracking in some joining areas. 

A small flower vase.

7.5 cm in height.


An open vase.  Glazed on the inside with some dripping coming down the sides.


11 cm in height.

I tried etching bamboo along the sides of the pot.

Two tea bowls.  Just to prove to myself that I can make two of the same width and height.


A tiny tea cup - 7 cm.  A interesting amount of colour going on.  I especially like the blue.  I have no idea where it came from!

Wood fired in Miaoli, Taiwan.

It could pass as a sake cup.

And lastly...another tea cup.  Porcelain - wood fired - white glaze.

For this one I stamped all my different size seals into the pot.  I have 3 ranging from tiny, to small, to medium.

Carved foot.

It is always exciting getting finished pieces from the kiln.  Some ups and downs and some all arounds.  These pots have survived the long process from mud to kiln opening.  I hope they enjoy their time resting and occasionally being used in either good times or even just ordinary times.

Hope you are well out there.


3 comments:

  1. Wow, that's quite a haul! Seeing many of these pieces in person is quite a treat as the colours, especially of the wood fired pieces, are even more vivid.
    Those wood fired pieces where you used the expensive Japanese white clay are pretty special....I like the shapes and contours of the sake bottle.
    I loved your poetic intro.....cast quite the picture!

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  2. Your work is really beautiful, well done....being a potter myself and doing bonsai and ikebana...that's how I started!!
    Keep it up!!

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  3. Thank you for your message. It's nice to hear an encouraging word. Hope you are enjoying your trees and pots! Have a good holiday season.

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