Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Crescent for KAWA

We got first place, we got first place...right?!? NOT!

 Here is a beautiful Juniper, hand picked by Mike Rogers, in my one of a kind, commissioned crescent pot. I made this after four other attempts, to get it just the right size, right balance, color, and shape. We used it for the Club Night competition this past month at the Bonsai Society of Florida's state convention in Orlando.

A fun, frenzied time was had by all. Amist a blur of dirt, wiring, placement and patience we worked to finish the project, even finishing with time to spare...

...but first place was awarded to the Brevard Club.  

Here  are the Boys of Brevard working diligently to bring order to chaos designing their impressive Ficus Salicifolia/Nerifolia forest on a slab. It was a real stunner.

They are a powerhouse, yes its true...
but look at the concentration in this trio!

Our BSF Convention headliner and judge, Ryan Neil, did a fantastic job with everything at the convention. He really liked our composition and even had a few nice things to say about the pot.

Club members Diane, Mike, Jane, Mike and Louise should be proud of second place. They were a great team!

....and there is always next year...AGAIN!!!

Thanks to Gerry Devane for providing photos-

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

In the Pursuit of Subtlety

Trees with an aged character can benefit from a pot that has gentle undulations of color or textured elements.  Conversely, a  pot with bold or brash angles and glazes works to suit a younger, more boldly styled tree. In my last round of pots I have been developing the use of glazes that are better fitting to older trees. Here are a few examples.

The use of sprinkled ash from my fire pit brought out some nice blueish hues to this pot. It is still somewhat monochromatic, again better suited to an older tree...

I would say that the depth of such a container makes it more masculine and perhaps others in the realm of bonsai would agree.  By contrast, the pot at the top of the page, with its convex profile and graceful rim, promotes a graceful composition.

There is quite a bit of interplay of blues and blueish green hues in this container. It would be well suited to a bougainvillea,  azalea, or anything with a red magenta flower, among others.

The back side reveals a bit of pitting from an interaction of sprinkled ash with the flame path in my kiln...

Although I am not really sure which side I like better I do know one thing: an effective bonsai artist would choose the side based on the needs of their composition.   To display bonsai for exhibition the whole composition (tree, pot, accent, and movement) should be taken into account. For example, if more visual weight is needed to pull the eyes down, then I would choose the front from the last photo. The eye becomes attracted to the surface quality more than the other side of the pot.

Subtlety is something that can really be developed in bonsai, given the appropriate subject (tree) and the bonsai artist's desire to communicate it.  

I welcome any comments or questions. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

National Bonsai and Penjing Exhibition

This past May at the National Arboretum in Washington D.C. was the PBA Regional Bonsai and Penjing exhibition and I am very humbled to have been able to make a pot for one of the participants in the show. The show was the creation of the Potomac Bonsai Association which represents a number of bonsai and related clubs of the greater Washington D.C. area.

Here are just a few of the photos from that event that showcased the talent of the exhibition.

From what I can tell here there was much thought given to the placement of each subject. In bonsai and penjing the negative space between each of the elements being presented is of great importance. I would have loved to have seen it in person...

This was a juried show done by the very esteemed American bonsai master Chase Rosade.
Here is the winner of the competition,a beautiful white pine.  I really love the tension that is created by the proportion and placement of that lower branch. Quite lovely!

I hope someday to see this exhibition in person. There were many great works in the exhibit and each of them warrant your viewing pleasure.

Here is a maple that I have a personal interest in...

A closer look...

I am quite thrilled when one of my pots is seen in a show with such caliber as this one. What is even more satisfying is knowing that this tree received an honorable mention. I am very humbled to have made the pot for this participant. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fired test tiles...

Here are some of the samples that were fired since my last post. Being so far behind in my posting it seems  unnecessary to go into too much detail about all of them.  I have since been under the gun for my last show and was way too busy to post along the way.

Anyhoo,  for your viewing pleasure, here are some of my little soldiers.

The middle tiles are glazed with a fake ash glaze with my own oak ash glaze dripped on the top.

Here are a few pots that I glazed with that recipe...

Fellow potters can email me for the recipe. It works best on white and tan stoneware the in my opinion. These were fired in my gas kiln in reduction from ^6 to ^8 nicely.

Michelle is working this week on adding new material to my website so if you are interested please stay tuned...

Check out this technique!