Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Few Photos

Yep, I'm a slacker.  Been too busy to keep up with my blog and I must say it is rather embarrassing. Oh well, at least things are going good so I won't complain.

In my busy summer schedule I thought I could at least share some of my photography. These  photos are really fun for me. I love taking my stock pictures and spicing them up a bit. I get my inspiration from fashion magazine covers...go figure. I absolutely love the arrangement of color and mood that I see in the fashion world. Very dynamic.

This fun, yet limited venture keeps me in a good place with my pottery. It forces me to 'rethink' about glazes and matching them to feminine or masculine pots. The hard part is looking back at what I have done in the past. I can see lots of pieces, especially earlier ones, that were rather mismatched. Oh well, I will just have to chalk it up to progress!

Thanks for reading....

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Aiming for Subtlety

Reminiscent of a quiet, rainy mist, white crystals flow down below a sea of grey.

I have been working a lot lately on trying to push my glazes into different directions. My hope is that this round of experimentation will help me to develop a more personal style, something that a lot of effective artists will continually strive to achieve. Instead of choosing more and more glazes and testing them each to the nth degree I have chosen a small select few and pushed them.  How they are applied and how they are fired makes a huge difference.

Toasty hues break over a cream exterior. Perfect for Maples!

Some of the most effectively balanced bonsai compositions are represented in pots with a quiet subtle glaze. Perhaps a buttery matt glaze...nothing too flashy. It should have a muted tone with more than one hue (color) in its overall visual makeup. In other words it should have a main color with other ones breaking through. I have been developing a group of glazes that do just that.

This glaze has a narrow firing range but the possibilities for species representation are many...

The best way to go about developing glazes to fit your needs as a ceramicist is to find qualities that appeal to you and push their boundaries. How else will you learn it's limits? Try changing their application and method of firing. I have found that it can lead to new horizons of discovery and direction!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Growing Panes

No, I didn't misspell it... 

The title of this post has relevance to the artistic nature of product photography and all the trials and tribulations that come from learning on one's own.

It has been a jagged journey from the beginning shooting with a small point and shoot and a sheet of craft paper. Back in the day I had not a clue what to do but I enjoyed the modest shots of my pots and the response was generally positive.

from 2009...bad color saturation, ok lighting but not much resolution
Notice the above photo. It is a pot that has the same glaze as the composition at the top and yet one can hardly tell.  I now have a program that I use in post editing that helps me to get adjust the color saturation. This is a very handy tool to have. The light set up in these older photos and the exposure setting on my little point and shoot camera were in desperate need of controlling if I wanted to bring it to the next level...

this shot was taken a year later in my light tent setup...not bad, but the setup still had some limitations

In 2010 I purchased a light tent kit that I used with lights and a backdrop. This is the 'Go To' method for a lot of potters.  Overall I was very happy with this set up but I still had several issues with the lighting.  Sometimes it was just too soft or too harsh and glossy pots where a nightmare. I have since figured out to keep tweaking the method individually for each photo. Very time consuming but worthwhile all the same.

I have since corrected these and other problems. A new backdrop method is being explored, one that doesn't scratch and leave ugly marks. I have also gotten a better camera and lens this year. This has made the most impact on my photography, but that is a story for another day. If you have the need for any suggestions with your product photography please feel free to drop me a line.

That's all for the meantime keep changing those windows!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Taiko-Earth goes viral.....NOT!

This pot was part of a set that was commissioned by the past president of the Bonsai Society of Florida. You can actually see how I glaze the pots in the video. (See link below)

Many of you may know that there is a lot that goes into pottery. Science, proportion, and basic math all play their part in the craft of ceramics.  In the name of education I was asked to share some of my methods as they relate to my business as a potter.

Florida's education is being revamped. New standards of curriculum have been released that give relevance to real world applications. Called Common Corethis new methodology emphasizes parallels across different disciplines like math and science, or language arts and science.

This video was used by the state to show how I use proportions in my quest to develop glazes. The video is a resource for educators to show their students real world examples of cross curriculum relevance. Please check it out here:  Rob Addonizio, Field Professional /Proportion/Glazing

The film was shot in my garage/studio. All the pots were constructed by me, but the trees you see in the beginning are all property of Mike Rogers. Thanks Mike Rogers, Tabinda Syed, Adam Santone and the film crew!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

'Plum' Tuckered

These guys love a tree with chartreuse and yellowish leaves or blooms.

Last weekend's firing was exhausting. What with trying to get the timing right on the reduction process and getting my kiln to even out and not go all 'bipolar' on me. Firing copper reds should be a right of passage for bonsai potters!

Malphighias, black olives, maples, and even fukien tea would be a good fit.

Copper reds, plums, liver pinks, call them what you will, it is the thrill of the chase that fuels a potter's passion.  Potters carefully plot scenarios for timing the beginning of the reduction process. They may ask themselves questions like: 'If I reduce now, will I lose temperature climb?' or 'Why am I getting good reduction here, but not there?' 'If my instrumentation shows a reduced atmosphere reading what it should be, why do I not see the characteristic visual signs of a typical reduction process?'

When I fire, I take tons of notes as prescribed by many a master.  Hard fact is, every firing is different. Every kiln load is packed differently. The top portion may be tighter, the bottom looser, or vice versa. I may have different conditions in the primary air than last time which could also affect how my burners are functioning. All must be taken into consideration.

Well, since the results are still good with the color of this particular glaze, I will keep at it. I love the chase, the nuance, the learning. Potters that fire copper reds will definitely understand the patience AND the practice of using this glaze. My hope is there will be a bonsai enthusiast who can appreciate the glaze color too!
If you look carefully you may be able to see some subtle texturing under the glaze.

Thanks for viewing.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Campeche, Ilex, and Peggy's Sleepy Raintree

At our monthly bonsai club meeting this past Friday, I had the opportunity to photograph a few of one of my favorite customer's trees. 

This first pic is a Campeche, also known as logwood or bloodwood; a name referring to its hard dark heartwood.  This is a tropical ornamental tree that grows in the Yucatan and northern south america. It was used for centuries by indigenous cultures for many medicinal purposes, as well as for its lumber. Peggy chose this oval with a pale cream glaze, which I think is great choice. The pot is quite well suited to enhance the color of the trunk and cool grey greens of the foliage.

At around 30 inches tall, this guy almost didn't fit in the photo setup! Great tree though!

If you prefer cool grey green hues in a bonsai composition then this next tree would be a good fit. 

This is an Ilex Shillings, or Yaupon, a type of Holly. I had to under expose the composition a full stop just so the colors of the pot came through. In my opinion, this pot matches the foliage and wood tones just superbly!

The Brazilian Raintree is popular tropical specimen for a bonsai.  It features bi-pinnately compound leaves and a creamy green wood.  An interesting feature of this tree is how the trunk grows. It can bulge and undulate, giving it a character all its own.

I want to thank Peggy for all of her support. She is a very active woman in our club and her attention to detail truly inspires me! Thanks again!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mello Yellow

Here is a lovely fake ash glaze that works really nice with texture. It has a lovely orange yellow hue to it, very well suited to many species for bonsai.  It works great on masculine and feminine compositions, and it can be used to highlight form quite effectively.

Here you can see how the breaking of color from the texture enhances its form.

Here is a new technique I have been playing around with. I love the folds!!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Hibiscus for Bonsai

Here is one of my pots outfitted just perfectly for a customer's Hibiscus. It sports yellow flowers when in bloom which will really add a nice balance to the composition.

Its just kinda funny when things just work out, eh?  No, I didn't expect this pot to turn out the way it did, but I am happy with the accident!

Afterall, if the shoe fits...

Thanks for viewing!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Kusamono Time!

I would like to take time to thank Owen Reich, Kusamono and Bonsai artist for this lovely photograph. He chose this particular pot of mine for his planting of Viola and Acorus. The color of the pot has nice oranges and greys giving warmth and unity to the composition.

Great job!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Artistic symbiosis

Symbiosis is defined as the intertwining relationship of two different species. I admit to using this term metaphorically but I think it fits the bill in this bonsai. No doubt it is a rather untraditional combination, one that invites several second glances. Like a pair of faded blue jeans or an old rusty ford pickup, this guy has quite a bit of visual appeal.

A few things I like about this composition are the interplay of form with the lower trunk. Lots of movement. This helps to bring out the character of the tree and give it personality.

 The color works well too. When this photo was taken I had the luck of having new spring foliage. The chartreuse hue of the leaves balances nicely with the pot color. Even in the shadows of the folds of the pot, the color relationship is very harmonious.

I know that there will be critics who see this tree as too different, but I beg to differ. A close look at the artistic elements in the tree, trunk and container will reveal the caliber of bonsai artist Mike Rogers.  

Traditionally tempered, yet artistically assertive.

I look forward to working on more projects with this artist. As a potter, this is the epitome of 
opportunity, being able to see my work used in the most effective and artistic ways.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Odds and Ends

Midrange clay body with glazes from some of my favs: Bright sky blue,
Panicoli's Pale Blue Matt and Panicoli's Fake Ash to name a few.
Been back at it. This last round of pots gave me some unexpected extra room in my small 40+year old electric kiln for a few small accents.  The photo above is from the commissioned set of 24 accents that I made for a retailer in the northeast.  After looking at my kiln shelves before the bisque firing I noticed that I could get in a few fun extra kusamono and accent planters.  The dark brown clay I chose has a bit of iron and manganese in it. The clay really helps pop out a bit of extra contrast from under the glaze.

Here are some of those funky kiln space fillers:
The cracks are intentional, both on the rim and on the surface.

These guys are really rugged and fun to make.  I really enjoyed jigging with the texture.

Here are some smaller guys looking for a pinch of moss to brighten up a three point display. Perhaps a bright green color in the center could work nicely with the dark brown clay?
Each little 'rosette' has a rounded cavity and drainage holes.
 In this next set I added a bit of height to the moss rosette idea.  They will fit the same basic design purpose but perhaps with a different pot/tree style. 

Personally, I enjoy the wabi sabi character of these guys. They are a joy to make; imagining them in finished, planted up in a three point display is were my creativity lingers....


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Recent Pairings

As a bonsai potter, I sometimes find myself more concerned with the way my pots look on my display, then I do with the way they look under my customer's trees.  Taking time to look at them in combination with a tree as the main subject can be a very humbling experience.

The first example, above, is a Malpighia, a shrublike tree also known as Barbados Cherry. Not a true cherry, it has small pink flowers that turn into green, then bright red pea sized fruit.  In a few months, with some careful leaf reduction, this composition will look even more effective. Some carefully planned shots with smaller, tighter foliage, and flowers/fruit, and we will be rockin'!

In the next photo, I have a Chinese plum, just at bud break...

This tree has personality! I love the ominous mood brought on by the trunk, looking ready to strike. The owner/designer of the tree has a great artistic sensibility!

And to finish this post, I wanted to include another tree from the same artist.  When I designed the pot, my focus was to make an expressive, primitive soft cornered rectangle.  I wanted to put some folds in the walls and show lots of texture. I was shell shocked when the artist bought the pot and used this tree. A Buckthorn, from south florida, fits the bill very well...
This tree, albeit a rather unconventional design, holds it own in terms of visual balance. To see it in my photo does it no justice. Making a fun expressionistic pot is one thing, but it takes a master bonsai artist to choose it for just the right subject!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Getting it Just Right...for Now!

Thought I would post some pots of my last few batches. These pots represent the culmination of months of testing and retesting to get just the right color for an unglazed container.  

If you are someone steeped in the art of bonsai, it may come as no surprise to you that the best way to dress up a pine, juniper or other tree of the deciduous variety is to choose an unglazed container.  Unglazed bonsai pots imbue an addition of subtlety and character that the glazed pot can overstep.  Color in a glaze, even one somewhat matt and soft, will draw too much visual weight from the viewer, and away from the tree.  Since pines and juniper don't have any colorful displays such as blossoms to balance out a vivid glazed pot, it is just more visually balanced.

The Japanese potters of Tokoname have been making beautiful unglazed pots with the warm brown and sienna tones most gracious for trees of this variety. The color comes from the clay that they use to make their pots, and many a bonsai artist has chosen these pots to help achieve a well balanced composition. Rich earthy hues are well matched to the bark of a pine, or even the uncovered sinuous undulations in a jin. 

Recently I have made it one of my goals to attempt to match this color with oxides and washes, and it has worked pretty well, for now.  Matched with the right temperature in the firing process, and applied in the correct manner on the right clay body and it works. 

Thank you for taking time to look at my pottery. If you have any comments, bonsai related or otherwise, please drop me a line...


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Interesting Glaze Combos

The cobalt in the top glaze breaks out into shades of grey brown and light blue!
Being someone who is always looking for something different to cover my pots with has its ups and downs. I never seem to get there fast enough and when I do, I am still left with more questions than answers. 

Spending countless hours pouring over articles, recipes, and anecdotes, I find inspiration. Perhaps its the color of a glaze or the way it breaks so languidly over the surface that draws me to investigate further. I wonder what vessel would warrant such a provocative treatment. I consider a possible clay body. Iron rich? Porcelain based?

Then on to the cross referencing. I have the idea of what to try, but what about specifics?  Should I spray, dip, or pour?  How thick to mix for specific gravity?  I know that these are the details I must test myself, but the more questions answered now, the further I will get on with my own results.

I take many notes, copy recipes and revise where necessary. Sure, I get the scientific process. These present ups and downs of their own. But my biggest challenge is timeliness. There is just not enough time in the day!

These are three glazes with the new glaze underneath, the orange color.  The white body is a half porcelain body and the other a iron rich one, both from Highwater.  The underglaze has some unique qualities that flux out the overlying glaze.  It is this unique effect that entices me.

Under a matt glaze it holds firm, but there is some color variability that interesting too. I know that if there is too much visual interest then it can take away from the subject, so at the moment I am looking into using it with some accent pots. Here it is under a matt glaze attributed to Don Reitz. I look forward to trying this on my midrange manganese and iron clay.   Stay tuned....

This combination of glazes has some crystals at the top where it was thickest. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Great Tree and Container Combination

Here is one my pots from 2009 that was potted up with an Escambron, a deciduous tropical tree. In my opinion,  this pot was a good choice in regards to its style, color, size and shape.

As a bonsai potter, it is always a thrill to open up your kiln and see your finished pieces. Sometimes you are happy with expected results, sometimes happy with unexpected results, but there is always a joy or element of surprise.

When I opened the BSF magazine this week I was met with another surprise, seeing such a beautiful subject in one of my old pots.  The owner is a great designer and his work is evident here.  The tree has a greyish cast in its trunk that I feel helps to unify the subject to its container.  The style of the tree, with its feminine curve is well matched to the pot: both are predominantly feminine, but the depth of the container and the girth of the trunk work very well also. After all, both feminine and masculine features usually are present together in bonsai compositions, but good compositions have a balance. They are usually predominantly feminine OR masculine, with smaller qualities of the other.

I am alway overjoyed when I see one of my pots under a beautiful tree especially when both tree and pot are paired so well.  This is no exception.  Go Mike!

Check out this technique!