Pots and the price of quality

Nick, if 1 of my pots ever earns 1k, il remember this discussion, find u and donate half to a tree of your choice. My only intention in my reply was to attempt to cover my personnel answer, and why pots can be expensive. It was not to offend. Sending u bonsai love. Catch up soon :grin:

Absolutely no offence taken at all. Mirai is all about healthy discussion. I’ll hold you to that offer!!!:grinning::grinning::grinning::grinning::grinning:

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Think I’ve twigged who you might be, you were selling at Heathrow?

Hi @Blown55, iv only been selling on e bay for now and iv stopped stocking on there, preparing for my first bonsai stall. In Bristol 18th August. No secret of who i am. Hobby bonsai and potter. Search and like my FB Page Paul Rogers Ceramics :wink::grin::blue_heart:


Pots are an art form in themselves. One of the things I love about bonsai is that it marries with the art of ceramics.

High end trees deserve high end pots. Four figures and (well) above. Look at the level of pots at kokufu-ten. Many of these are basically priceless antiques or the highest quality modern. They rent them out for the high end trees…

Think of it like another art form, say, painting. Some people never see the need to spend 4 figures or above on art. Yet for a good sized painting by a young and not so established artist 4 figures is normal, it’s really entry-level. Here the economics of art begins to figure at the intersection of quality, celebrity, and demand.

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I have figured out who you are. I’ve bought a good few of your pieces from you on ebay. I love each and every one of them. Great quality and pieces of art in their own right. I can highly recommend. I find collecting containers can be almost as addictive as trees!

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#twisted… thank u for your kind endorsement of my work. Been busy getting married and all that, dam thing has holted my bonsai and pot making. I jest.

The investment needed to buy ur own equipment needs consideration. I don’t think il ever recuperate this part. Including the studio build.

That’s a bummer.

To jump off this: I’m an artist across several different axes, and I price everything I sell according to the following heuristic explicitly to avoid things like “I’m eating the cost of my equipment”:

  • Actual material costs;
  • Depreciation of equipment (if I think a piece of gear will last for 1,000 hours of work, and the art-object took 10 hours, then I’m adding 1% of the gear’s total cost to the art-object’s price);
  • Allocation of site costs (if I’m renting work space for $100/month, and I’m going to work 100 hours on site that month, then I’m increasing every art-object’s price by $1/hour);
  • My base hourly rate (which is equal to the amount I earn as salary plus benefits in my day job)…
  • …discounted for any buyer who is either (1) a member of a marginalized population or (2) using the art-object to substantively benefit a marginalized population.

Most frequently, that involves pricing for grant writing. The math on a grant contract is:

  • $0 for material costs;
  • $0 for space (I work from home);
  • $1.36/hour for laptop depreciation (laptop cost $1,500, useful life is 3 years or 1,095 days, I assuming I working an average of 1 hour/day on the grant until it’s done);
  • $1.33/hour for internet (I pay $80/month for my internet connection, ~half of that is for contract work, still assuming 1 hour/day);
  • $0.50/hour for electricity costs (too complicated to get into);
  • $49.70 for salary and benefits ($35.00/hour for salary, $14.70 for benefits), or $34.79 for marginalized clients.

A bit rambly but perhaps useful in context – and that’s exactly the formula I hope and assume my ceramists are using. :slight_smile:


Hi @hierophantic

Thanks for info - i struggle with pricing to be honest. both arts, bonsai and ceramics are both hobbies. I try and turn into couple of £ but properly cover my costs with ceramics. Trees are not good / ready enough to sell. To cover cost of a hobby is ok. Init :fist_right::green_salad:. Enjoying thats the key. :old_key:


It will be more constructive if some body explains what makes a good quality pot and how to identify it, particularly when there is a tree on it.

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder? It’s funny you replied to the post today. I was at my local Bonsai nursery today and there were some really wonderful hand made pots from a new potter to the Bonsai world. The price of them were perfectly aceptable. Not 3-400 $€.

It’s quite strange on this Bonsai journey of mine how sometimes my thoughts and beliefs can change. I have just watched the Tom Benda stream and I have to say it’s the first time that I have seen the value in a really expensive hand made pot. His work is outstanding, pieces of art in their own right! I could just look at them without a tree in them. It really is quite a strange feeling to me. On the down side I now need to up my game to have a tree worthy of a pot of such beauty. Oh and start saving. Not sure I’ll be able to part with that sort of money for one though. I do however have a slight ache to own one. Whatever next? I know, natural design Bonsai trees. Oh Mirai you have a lot to answer for.:grinning:

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