Pots and the price of quality

Is it me or is it that I’m flabbergasted at the price of pots??? I really do understand quality etc. But it seems to me that some pots are more valuable than the trees destined for them. I’m honestly astonished.

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Yes handmade pots can get quite pricey. A lot of them are truly one of a kind and high quality of both craft and art. They can be worth it for that special tree.

But yeah, factory made pots are much more cost effective and still look pretty good (if maybe not quite as unique).

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I’m always happy when I see art-objects priced in a way that makes it possible for the artist to live and thrive on their sale. :slight_smile:

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I know a number of potters, not one of them is driving a Lambo.

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Don’t get me wrong I had a pot hand made way back by Gordon Duffett. I get the handmade, quality etc. But lately I see pots so expensive that most people couldn’t afford them. They are beautifully made for sure. I’m not sure what I’m trying to say except “wow those hand made pots cost a bomb now”

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As a relative beginner in bonsai, I choose to use pots that are inexpensive for training bonsai in development. I see no need to buy artisan pots until the trees I have are refined and somewhat aged. At that point, I might invest in a more expensive container to show off the tree that “earned” its place in a show able pot. That could cost some bucks.

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I hear you. Every time @ryan posts a new batch of Jonathan Cross pots, I want to cry/rob a bank. But as expensive as high-end pots are, think about how much more expensive comparable trees are.

I don’t begrudge world class bonsai practitioners their expensive pots. I don’t have a tree that justifies a $2,000 pot. I do have a couple that justify $200 pots – which is what I have them in. And everything else goes in a training container until it’s ready for an art-object. :slight_smile:

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I can only speak for the potters that I know but if you priced out their hourly rates then it would be pretty low. A lot of work goes into a good pot and then occasionally it will break in the kiln etc. What I do see is a fairly large spread of prices for them depending upon not only where in the world but where in a country. That applies to Japanese as well and probably antique Chinese. When you touch a great pot though it can really suck you in and when a combination is 100% it’s stunning.

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Many bonsai clubs use auctions as fund raisers. This will give you the opportunity to collect expensive pots at a bargain price. You just have to know what you’re looking for.

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I agree with BillsBayou Clubs auction are great place to find pots. I picked up a Sara Rayner pot for pennies on the dollar this way. I was looking for a unusual pot and Her pot fit the bill. I was excited.

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Okay, one coda:

High cost is almost always correlated with popularity but not always with high quality.

Other than Jonathan Cross (high cost + widely known + high quality), my favorite bonsai potter is Will Talbot. He’s young, he’s experimenting, he’s not yet world class, but his pots really move me – and they’re affordable (low cost, not widely known, high quality).

I’m relatively young in bonsai to be giving this advice, but here it is anyway: if you’re looking for great pots on a budget, find a new potter you like and support their work and development with your pocketbook.

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What a wonderful response. I concur​:grinning::grinning:
Happy Sunday.:grinning:

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dave giorgi pots seem quite affordable for some quality ceramics. but like the previous post, widely known artist + top quality= higher cost. many people pay for art that hangs from walls thats a whole lot more expensive than a J. cross pot.

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Sometimes high cost is a function of name dropping. I’ve seen poor quality designs with high prices being sold by a potter who introduced the pots by mentioning their friendship with well-known artists.

Agreed.

Ultimately, I’m stating the obvious: that price can be the function of many different factors; that quality is only one of those factors; that quality is subjective; and that those factors are often disconnected from each other. :slight_smile:

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Wholeheartedly agree with OP! Quality is a function of knowledge, skill and material and does not need to be expensive. As these factors add to speed a certain work can be done and pot does not need to take long to make.
That being said there are some great pots at semi reasonable prices from both out and within the USA(home). The market for antique chinese and Japanese pots seems to me where the higher prices are semi reasonably to be expected. There are a couple of domestic potters that are out of line expensive and at least one good one that is very reasonable. Another I custom ordered from and pot was totally wrong after 2 1/2 month wait. Did not buy.
Unless one is rolling in money spending much on a pot is not needed to get something nice and showable.

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Check out local potters! You can get amazing one of a kind pots for very good prices locally with up and coming potters or bonsai practitioners who make pots as a side hobby. One of the local clubs here does a yearly 2 day potting workshop, where you pay something obscenely low and come out with a handful of pots you made yourself (the firing is done by the teacher). My bonsai Sensei has been making pots this way over the years and I buy some from her for very reasonable prices. There is a way to get stunning one of a kind pots that are decent quality without having to sell off some of our tree collection :stuck_out_tongue:

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Hi Nick, all. I’m 2 years into learning pottery, started that journey to make my own bonsai pots. Il like to comment on pricing etc.
Iv spent a lot of time effort and money just learning the skills.
The investment needed to buy ur own equipment needs consideration. I don’t think il ever recuperate this part. Including the studio build.
Then the time each pot takes to make, what wage would you work for? Plus the materials for each pot.
Lastly. I think its about the demand for ur work. If it sells, its liked, u get to be known, demand goes up. And i guess the price.!
Quick share. Based in the uk.

IMG_20190607_202813_823|500x500 @paulrogersceramics

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Nice pots @CeramicBonsaiArt
Is there a way to contact you in case of interest, any portfolio? Where about in UK are you?

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My point is, that when I see pots commanding huge amounts of money like over £1000 I just can’t see the value. I of course understand the whole set up and learning etc. Anyway it’s just my opinion. I don’t think I’ll ever pay even £500 for a pot in my lifetime. I suppose also there are people that buy Mercedes and there are those who buy cheaper cars. It’s all relative. Why does a lawyer earn huge amounts of a money compared to a bricklayer? They both spend the same amount of time learning their trade.
Maybe I have opened a can of worms, it wasn’t my intention. I do really like a nice ceramic pot. I just can’t ever see myself parting with such huge amounts of cash for one.

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