Thursday, April 30, 2009

Terra sig bonsai pots

Saw some Tokoname pots at a bonsai show and was talking to some club member and they wanted a local source this style of pot. After studying the containers at the show and doing some research online I think may have figured out how to recreate that look in an electric kiln. Made up a batch of redart terra sigillata then divided in half, leave one red and the other I made black.

Not sure if the Japanese do it this way but the texture of my recreations are very close to the surface feel of the Tokoname pots.

I like the red and black together.
Attempted to antique this cascade pot, the imprints at the rim are from rivets. When I was apllying the terra sig the moisture got under and some relesaed so I removed them all.

Mixed red and black on the pot and red only on the feet

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Accent pots

A few have asked if I do accent pots, my reply was not intentionally. Last night I put these together, all under 3inches in height and width. The clay I used is Cassius Basaltic by Aardvark, a smooth black ^5 body. Looks best if fired to ^3 or 4, at 5 some blistering of the surface occurs.

Scoop attempt

After seeing and reading about scoop pots I gave it a try, made these a couple of months ago. I like the shapes, texture and color but not too thrilled with the feet. Will omit the feet on the next ones.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Out of the kiln

This is my favorite low fire crawl glaze, Black Lava.

2 coats of a low fire red under 5 coats of black lava. I've tried this one small pots and wanted to see what it would look like on larger. I'm going to try do this same technique on square and rectangular containers next.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Checking growth

Brachystelma barberiae, this species is so tender and easy to rot that every spring I wonder if it will wake from it's long dormancy. As you can see it's waking up, you can also see it's putting out new roots where it rotted 2yrs ago.

Cyphostemma segmentatum is also showing signs of growth, this is another temperamental species to keep alive year to year. Hopefully the cuttings I rooted last year will be waking soon.

Unpotted my large Adansonia digitata to check roots for anticipation of a new pot.

Slab built this pot about 3wks ago, thought I was so smart cutting all the pieces allowing enough length for shrinkage. Well I didn't, the walls were about 4in short. Instead of scrapping the whole project I made a piece to fill in. Kind of reminds me of the hull of a ship, with the rivets and all.

It's dry enough for the bisque firing, that will take place on Tuesday. I'll probably just stain it with a manganese dioxide wash then fire to ^6 and be done with it.

Last year I purchased this Aloe polyphylla due to it's dichotomous branching, today I went to repot it. It was cover with leaves from the winter winds and as I uncover it I noticed something different.

It branched again!

Let's get things started

After hemming and hawing over putting together a site for months I thought I just jump in and get it started.

I guess I should start with a brief introduction; I'm a self employed Pedorthist by trade and have been since 1997. My collecting of caudiciform/pachycaul succulents started in 1991 with just a few plants, today I have over 800 ranging from seedlings to massive specimens and it's taking over a good portion of my backyard.

Pottery came about because I need a pot for a large Cyphostemma so I could take the plant to a local Cactus and Succulent show in 2008

A little history of my collecting first before I go on with the pots. This plant is what started my craze for fat plants, in 1991 I purchased this Cyphostemma juttae at a local home repair warehouse in a 3.5" pot. Had no idea what it was intrigues by it's shape, as my wife says "it looks like a potato in a pot". It was grown in a pot for a few years and it got bigger but not very fast. In 1995 I saw some Cyphostemmas in the ground at UC Berkeley botanical garden and those plants were quite large. I came home and made a small raised growing bed to see how it would respond. Wish I would have started taking photos of it's progress back then, the first photo of it I have is from 1999
Showing some great character even at this point and this was from being in the ground for 4 years!

In 2000 it was dug up for transportation to our new house, it's in a12in wide container. You can see a line across the midsection where it rotted one year ans I recall it was from a cold snap of the winter 97-98.

From 2000-02 it was potted, growth was minimal in height but it kept getting fatter. I wanted larger growth and later that year I put back in the raised bed.

Here it is in 2003 in the raised bed, growing medium is 80% pea gravel and 20% composted manure.

Winter of 2005 under an unheated poly tunnel for protection from the rain.

Look at all those growing points!!

After much prodding from friends I decided to enter the plant in a C&S event, I went looking for a pot suitable to put it in. Went to nurseries, home centers, bonsai retailer and found nothing . The pot that were wide enough were too deep, ones that were the width I wanted were not deep enough and I wasn't going to pay $300 for a nice bonsai container.

So this is where the pottery comes in. My wife has a kiln for her ceramic and doll making, I just needed to learn how to build a pot. Bought a book and made a few small pots to get the feel of the clay.

Nothing fancy, simple pinch and coil pots. Now I felt ready to attempt a large creation.

Here it is on top of our 28" electronic kiln. It was a coil construction using a large wash basin as a mold.

It just fits, and to my amazement it comes out of the kiln perfectly fired!

After potting up the 100lb behemoth.

At the 2008 Sacramento C&S show, too bad it was not a judged event. After receiving so much praise I made the decision to jump in the pool with the big boys down in Los Angeles 3 months later.

Winning 1st place in the novice division at the 2008 Intercity show!