Saturday, September 17, 2011

Vintage Chinese pot

I bought a vintage Chinese bonsai pot. The previous owner Dorothy Koreshoff had it for a long time. According to her it is an imitation of Kanton green ware produced somewhere in northern China. It was certainly a mass-produced flower pot of its day. However, this pot tells a story. I instantly fell for the wonderful dragons-and-clouds decoration and beautiful running glaze forming tears all around the base (arrow 1, picture below). In fact, the glaze ran so much that the pot’s feet got completely stuck to the kiln shelf and had to be broken off (arrow 2), which probably was a normal practice. I know that the pot is old because it is wood-fired and mass-produced pottery in China is not wood-fired for many decades. The gloss on the inside surface of the pot (arrow 3) is molten wood ash. Also, only wood-firing produces flashes on unglazed surfaces. The flashing shown at (arrow 4) actually happened because another smaller pot was fired inside this pot. The weight of this smaller pot made the bottom of the big pot sag and it slightly distorted its whole form. All this makes this pot very unpretentious and reminds me of Yanagi Soetsu’s unknown craftsmen and the Mingei movement. The pot has no artist's mark. I also know how this pot was actually formed. The creases on the bottom of the pot shown at (5) indicate that the pot was formed by pressing a slab of clay into a mold. If the pot is old enough the mold could have been made of wood and not plaster. Now, you know what I mean when I say this pot tells a story.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Annual Exhibition of Bonsai Society of Australia 2011

Once again, I go to the Annual Exhibition of Bonsai Society of Australia. Same place different year. There were very few trees of interest to me. My favorite was the tree shown above. I could see only the demonstration by Pat Kennedy. He showed how to make a free form bonsai pot by making a plaster mold and pressing a clay slab into it. The demonstration was novel, informative and useful. The other demonstrations were by Joy Morton from New Zealand and Pham Bao Khanh Linh.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The funniest reference to bonsai

From this year’s Father’s Day catalogue of Shaver Shop.

Latest bonsai pots

Last month I had a few bonsai pots fired. See the photos below.

Round, 12×10 cm, unglazed, wood fired.

Left image - round, 20.5×7 cm, chun glaze, wood fired (sold).
Right image - hexagonal, 11.5×7 cm, celadon glaze, wood fired.

Top left immage - oval, 19×17.5×8 cm, tomato red glaze, electric kiln.
Bottom left image - oval, 28×23×6.5 cm, white glaze, wood fired.
Right image - square, 10×16 cm, unglazed, wood fired (sold).