Carved a bonsai pot from stone, critiques welcome

I took a break from carving my usual bonsai slabs to carve a bonsai pot. The holes will come later. I was fighting sundown, so I’m taking a break to let this sit in my head.

This is the second pot I tried carving. The first was a series of bad decisions.

I don’t have a tree in mind. This is an experiment. My local stone yard had a few thick pieces of flagstone I liked. This is the small one. A much larger one will be next if this is well received. I have several 70-year-old boxwoods. Maybe one of them will look nice.

The Greater New Orleans Bonsai Society will host the “Louisiana Day of Bonsai” this Saturday. There will be demonstrations, workshops, and vendors (like me). Stome planting slabs will be available for purchase. This pot will be there, but only for discussion. I have no idea how to price it.

Carving out the bowl is exhausting and the whole project burns through cutting tools. The filters on my respirator need to be replaced. None of that matters to my customers (except that they would never do this on their own). Customers only pay what they think it’s worth. That’s fair. But in the time it takes me to make this stone pot, I could have made at least $400 worth of slabs at a lower cost. That’s why I wouldn’t price this lower than $450. But who’s going to pay that? (No, I don’t ship anything. Sorry.)

In any case, feedback is welcome. Even if all you want to say is you hate it.


I don’t hate it. It’s a good lookin’ rock Bill. I like the size of it, and the bow it has while sitting. It looks quite heavy, and like a lot of work too. I think a boxwood will look quite nice in it, or a cedar elm.

Happy to see your post this morning.
Wish I could make it over to NOLA this weekend for some bonsai and charred oysters.

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Heavy is a good word for this pot. Many other potted trees will blow over before this one even tips slightly. I haven’t given that bow much thought. I just carved the base to make three points of contact. Now that I look at it, it does look rather nice.

A friend pointed out that this is the sort of thing you find in a craftsman collection. Pottery makers will have the most ornate pots. So it should be that the stone carver will have something he can’t sell.

Wish I could see you as well. Plenty of those charbroiled oysters to be found around the city. My daughter would have me mortgage the house to feed her charbroiled oysters every night.

While I have your attention, tell me what you think of the stone, below. It has a “white cliffs of Dover” feel to it. I want to push the white layer back about an inch along the front. Then bevel under the black to give it a floating appearance. A bowl can be carved in the top and feet on the bottom. Maybe find a small azalea that won’t die on me right away. Something short, fat, and wide. If anyone wants to know, the names of these stones are landscaping industry names. The pot material is “moss waterfall” and the stone, below, is black regency.


I like the cliffs of Dover mention, it does resemble it. I also think the azalea would work. For me flowering plants and white/cream containers make the flowers pop. I can also see this with a banyan style ficus, but that would require additional winter care in NOLA.

I brought the stone pot to the Louisiana Day of Bonsai event in New Orleans this pass weekend. Several people were impressed with it. I still have no idea how to price it. One of my friends said she wants to commission a pot once I come up with a price. Sheesh…

Another friend gave me some carving advice for the white and black stone. She recommends using wooden tools only. Sounds like a lot more work, but I won’t have to do any wire wheel buffing afterwards. The quartz and the black material have a way of fracturing that looks very much in scale.

Here’s some photos taken of me and my stones. I made the slab display racks several years ago. I can show 16 slabs at a time. Not all the stones I brought are shown in the photos.


@BillsBayou i just wanted to tell you I like where you’re going. I love the slab/pot you carved. Looks great, and I’m sure I could find a good tree for it. If I were closer to you I would certainly come see them in person. Perhaps some day. I think you should keep on it, and you shouldn’t worry about the price. You need to be paid for your work and vision. Just look at what people pay on the Mirai store and other places for pots. Outrageous prices. I’m sure you can find fair and willing buyers. Keep it up.

Also, I miss your videos. They were great. Maybe some day you’ll get back to them. I hope all of your trees are well. I have always enjoyed reading your and @moon ’s comments on here.

Take care


Thanks for the kind words. I may end up buying a wet grinder and an arbor extension. There’s a nice Makita grinder I have my eye on. It will cut down on the dust I generate. If the dust gets into the grinder I have now, I could burn out the motor. Never mind the silica dust cloud surrounding me while I carve.d

As for videos, I edited one for the bonsai event last Saturday. It was just over 30 minutes long. In 2019 I made monthly trips to one specific bayou. The video I edited is filled with photos and footage of the flora and fauna moving through the seasons. It felt good to break out the video editor. I’ll have to get back into that soon.

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I’m not kidding but, you are my HERO! Hercules probably cleaned the Augean stables faster than you made that terrific pot. That’s a ton of work.

I love it, quite inspirational!