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!


  1. I love these glazes (and the pot they're on). Nice work.

  2. Thanks for the Photo, Beautiful Japanese Art,
    There is this Art Gallery Yakimono in Paris, showing nice pieces.
    Yakimono Paris


Thanks for taking the time to comment!
-Rob Addonizio

Check out this technique!