Retrospective

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It’s been 2 years since I started this website, in May 2011, and I’m very happy to report that it’s become the go to English resource worldwide for information, edification, and identification of Bonsai pottery. This month marks another milestone for the site, 200,000 views, so I thought it would be fitting To take a look back at some of my, and your, favorite pots and other images we’ve looked at on the blog.
You can access the table of contents through the menu bar at the top of the page, and have a look back yourself if you like, I think I’ve put up a good amount of information over the last two years: I hope it’s as interesting to you as it is to me!
Now, on the montage!

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Three of my favorite Heian Tofukuji we’ve looked at on the blog. The first is mine, and I hope you can see how much my photography skills have progressed! The latter are excellent examples of kiln change glazes: unpredictable Noborigama(climbing kiln) glazes that produce some insanely unpredictable and lovely results(in the hands of a master!).

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A trio of painted pots from an old collection post: Haruyoshi, Teizan, Seiwafu.

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A rare oval Ino Shukuho from the post dedicated to him.

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Miyazaki Isseki from the Isseki post.

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A couple of Echizen Hosui painted pots. I thought his work was undervalued 2 years ago, and I still do.

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Sano Daisuke collaboration with Konno Shinzan.

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Okatani Zeshin, the Timothy Leary of Japanese Potters.

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A precious and rare terebineri pot by Ueda Naokata, from “A Very Special Pot”.

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The hands of Kamiya Ryuen at work, from “Pots and Process.”

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A Sanshu Ichiyo with incredible patina!

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Shunka Shozan, one of my favorite contemporary potters. He just began painting pots in the last year, and a post will be forthcoming, his painted pots feature the anthropomorphized animals of the Chojugiga, and are awesome!

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Kyogoku Shiho

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Uematsu Tosui, “1st generation”, from the post “Demystifying Tosui”.

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Yuraku, the Yusen homage king.

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Gyozan, Yukizou and Yuuji, respectively: the top of the top shelf Tokoname.

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Takao Koyo

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A pot by Haruyoshi with a killer winter landscape in overglaze enamel and dyed porcelain, followed by a view of the recent pieces fresh from the kiln! If you’ve haven’t already, like him on Facebook: he not only makes and paints gorgeous pots, but produces awesome mame and shohin bonsai, which he posts often.

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A marvelously glazed Shigeru Zyubei, a gift from my buddy Matt Ouwinga of Kaede Bonsai En, when I turned 35 last year. If only all my friends gave me killer pots for big birthdays!

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A little display with a new years scroll for guest Brian Van Fleet when he visited my garden around New Years. The scroll is pine, bamboo, and Ume, classical new year’s symbols of good luck, long life, and strength in Japan.

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Suzuki Syuzan: THE Japanese master of unglazed pots.

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Tsukinowa Shousen, grandson of Yusen, and one of the most masterful painters of the modern era.

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A shohin YamaMomiji from the collection of Bill Valavanis, in the “Bonsai Gardens of the Northeast” posts. A very special tree, originally grown by the founder of shohin bonsai, and chairman of the first Kokufu Ten, Count Matsudaira. A post on the history of shohin bonsai, which is directly linked to the availability of small Japanese bonsai pots, is in the works!

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Harvey Carapella with some of his wonderful trees showing their Autumn colors. From the “Bonsai Gardens of the Northeast” posts.

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The view from the entrance to Doug Paul’s Kennett Collection. I can’t say enough about how impressive it is. Probably the best bonsai collection outside of Japan, and it certainly would rank there, as well. Over a thousand top shelf trees in a beautifully landscaped setting in the middle of nowhere in Pennsylvania. Absolutely inspirational.

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A rare black and white painted pot by Ito Gekko.

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Heian Kouso, whose mentor(possibly father)was close friends with Tofukuji, Kouzan, Yusen…many of the most famous potters of the 20th century met and discussed pottery at Kouso-En, when Heian Kouso was but a boy. But he remembered, and were it not for his work, most of them would have remained in obscurity after their deaths.

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My shohin Miyasama Kaede, in a Bushuan pot. Harvey Carapella used this image to create my surprise logo, which appears at the top of the page. It’s classical yet modern, old school but still cool, just like Harvey. I love his work and the logos he created for me.

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Before and after Shimpaku rough stock, styled in a full day where I worked with Bjorn Bjorholm one on one, last year.

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I have a lot of Bravermans, some Hagedorns, some supa early edition Rayners when production levels were low, pretty much something from everybody and a good selection of rare stuff…but this pot by Peter Krebs is my favorite western pot in my collection. I’ve seen a whole bunch of carving and motif pots, and Peter’s are every bit as good, if not better, than anything Ive seen from the East. Now, if we could get ourselves a painter….

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A lovely stamped Middle Crossing Antique Chinese from my collection. Untinted clay like this simply doesn’t exist anymore.

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Root over Rock owned by friend Matt Ouwinga of Kaede Bonsai En. A real lesson in ramification, shown in Kokufu this year. More American enthusiasts should do so…I’m saving as we speak!

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A page from the Bonsai Sekai articles penned by my Japanese friends, about our tour of “Bonsai Gardens of the Northeast.” Look close and you can see me with Suthin, his wife Donna, and Endo. Don’t miss Suthin’s collection if you have the chance, it’s one of the best on the right coast.

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A really cool ShiShimaru pot with its own stand. Check put the post, a lot of work went into finding more out about that shady, yet talented, character.

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A shohin Shimpaku in my garden this spring.

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A carved Sruga Yamasyo from the post dedicated to his work. I got a lot of emails about him and sourcing them, beware!, the nice ones are expensive(but totally worth it!).

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A collaborative pot from Seifu Yohei and Tsukinwa Yusen, from the collection of frequent contributor Matt Ouwinga.

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A really wonderful Fujikake Yuzan, painted inside, out, and bottom, from “An Interesing Yuzan”.

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Third generation Inoue Ryusei.

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A really nice Ogurayama, carved and painted, from the collection of Neil Dellinger. A really unique and characteristic piece of Ogurayama work, and For Sale(it’s on the page) to boot! I’m a little surprised no one has grabbed it yet!

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The rarest of the rare: yellow glazed window painted pot by Tsukinowa Yusen.

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A Yusen featured in the post dedicated to his work, published in “Charisma”.

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The “after”. From “Semi Cascade Black Pine and Bjorn”.

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A really wonderful overglaze enamel porcelain pot from Kutani Ikko. Simply three dimensional.

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And. Of Course. Last but not least, and all that. Perhaps no potter has stirred more response from you, my readers, and no “perhaps” about it; no potter has stirred more response from me, than Shigeru Fukuda, Bushuan Kiln. The above 4 are/were part of my collection, as is the pot that my logo tree is in. His glazes are both bold and classical, easy to use yet outlandish. I make no bones about my taste for his work, and find it unsurprising that no one in Japan can describe him without mentioning Tofukuji.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this walk down memory lane. Thanks to all who read, and more thanks to all who encourage others to read. There’s still a serious lack of information about Bonsai pottery in the west, I’ll continue to rectify that in any way I can. Many more posts are in the works, so stay tuned!

About japanesepots

I've been collecting Japanese Bonsai pots for a few years, and feel that the famous, and some of the lesser known but great Japanese pot artists could do with a little more writing and exposure in English. Additionally, this blog will feature My own And others bonsai for discussion. The purpose of this blog is to further knowledge of Japanese pottery and Japanese style bonsai. If you have any questions about Japanese bonsai pottery, or would like to acquire pots by some of the potters presented in the blog, feel free to email me at gastrognome@aol.com
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5 Responses to Retrospective

  1. Brian VF says:

    Great look-back on 2 years, no doubt the next two will be exciting as well! Congrats. Dig that yellow painted Tsukinowa Yusen, and of course the New Year’s 7-point! Onward!

  2. ron heinen says:

    I can’t begin to tell you how much you have brought to the (limited) Western knowledge of bonsai pots. Please keep us informed. Thanks!

  3. big DAVE says:

    Congrats on 2 years. You are doing something special here. Whenever I need a boost to get back to pot making, I come here…ideas flow

    Thanks…
    Big D

  4. Aw, this was an extremely nice post. Taking
    the time and actual effort to produce a good article… but what can
    I say… I hesitate a lot and never manage to get anything done.

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