Petra Engelke Tomlinson Holding her Bonsai Pots

Bonsai Ceramics

All known pottery techniques can be used to create a bonsai pot. I only use hand building techniques. I do not use any press moulds or slip casting methods - I call them hand finished not handmade, even though masters for the moulds can be handmade models for mass production. No doubt these pots can be produced in high quality, as evidenced by the Far East and Europe - not only by Japan - but it restricts the individual creativity and the endless possibilities of shapes and dimensions of the same idea.

A handmade pot with all its virtues and faults creates a humble aura and a perfect frame for an outstanding tree. Here I find satisfaction, honour and pride in holding in my hands my own `perfect` pot - a future companion for a magnificent tree.

Bonsai Pots by Petra Engelke Tomlinson


As well as all pottery techniques being possible, so too are all decoration methods. They were and are, used all the time-nothing really new! - but how to use them for this particular purpose makes them very difficult to appear in a subtle way.

To decorate or ornament an object means: `... look at me! pay attention!... I am outstanding! - but this is not really what a bonsai potter tries to achieve. The pot still has to provide the living area for the tree and to serve and underline its appearance. Just as a picture frame to a beautiful painting.

On the other hand the pot should have a strong character in some way - either/or rough, smooth, colourful, subtle, dull, crazy, heavy, light ...and so on and so on. In any case it should become a unit between the tree and itself.