Post Podcast thread: The Bonsai Vessel

I hope it’s cool if I get a discussion going on this one.

Anyway, does anyone have further thoughts on this podcast?

Personally, I guess my favorite thing about bonsai these days is the diversity. When selecting a new pot for one of my trees I can look anywhere from Antique Chinese, to ranging ages of Japanese pots, to a plethora of new and old designs from bonsai potters around the world. As Ryan pointed out, there seems to be an explosion of new artists and ideas either about to happen or already beginning.

One thing I don’t think was discussed is how simply potting new/different trees in more traditional pots may actually breathe some new life into older pot designs. At least I kind of feel that way. I personally love the look of a wild ponderosa pine with long needles (compared to traditional Japanese pines) in a somewhat ornate Japanese pot. To me, if done well, it speaks of our culture in that we are branching out with new species that stretch the accepted norm while paying homage to the roots of bonsai and it’s beginnings here in America. Of course I’d never want all of my ponderosa pines in the same type of pots; that’s the beauty of it, we have so many options to create with these days.


No thoughts…? lol.

I think Scott Elser’s ponderosa displayed in the Artisans Cup may be one of the primary trees that has developed my personal appreciation for Ponderosa potted in a type of pot we wouldn’t typically consider for a wild tree like that. The tree also took “Finest Evergreen” at the 2nd US National show in 2010.

In the critiques, the AC judges we’re fairly split as to whether they liked the pot or wanted something more rustic.

I’d post a picture of that tree, but my shot from the Artisans Cup is terrible. If anyone has a descent photo feel free to post so everyone can see what I’m referring to.

As my senses in bonsai evolve, I am more inclined to go for rock/pots/cement containers that emulate wilderness of the environment. I do however like often to see more wild trees in formal pots for the contrast. Also as it often the case not just in Bonsai, a beautiful frame uplifts the subject and makes up for the lack of interest of the tree. This season I will probably experiment with cement containers using the work of Jan Culek and Erik Chrisovensky as inspiration.

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Any “vessel” works as long as it adds to, enhances, or highlights the story of the tree. I do have preference over rock and or stone.
I am experimenting on planting deciduous trees on driftwood (mopani for reptile aquariums).