The purpose of this site is to promote the art and craft of pottery for bonsai in North America by providing a guide to the practitioners of this art form that is so essential to the art of bonsai. Introduction  The word "bonsai" comes from the Japanese words "bon" (pot) and "sai" (tree) and literally means "tree in a  pot".  Most individuals who use the term bonsai are referring to the tree, but from the name, it is clear that the  pot or container is essential to complete the bonsai whole.  In bonsai, the container or pot is almost always ceramic.  The pot must be carefully matched to the tree in  size, style, color and "gender."  The pot should complement the tree and not draw  attention to itself rather than the tree or the total composition.  Inexpensive pots  are used for initial training but nicely trained trees deserve nice pots.  Trees grow  and change in style, so as a tree matures, the "perfect pot" may change.  As a  result, there is a saying in the bonsai community that one can never have too  many pots.  The corollary is that one never has the right pot for a given tree after  a restyling.    There are several bonsai styles that do not employ ceramic pots.  Those  include single trees or  forest plantings on rough  stone slabs or, more  recently, synthetic slabs  from ciment fondue or  fiberglass.  Trees clinging  to rocks are another familiar theme in bonsai; the stone  may or may not be placed in a ceramic pot or suiban.   Chinese penjing often employs marble slabs carved into  shallow oval or rectangular trays.    Bonsai is often viewed as a very traditional art bound  by many rules instituted or codified by the Japanese.   These traditions are an important underpinning of bonsai  and it is wise to understand the rules and why they exist.   There are many books that will guide the beginner  through the intricacies of bonsai.  All art is based upon  balance and composition, but bonsai includes the  additional aspect of a living and growing organism.  To  understand the rules is critical, but bonsai is also an  evolving art, not only in the growth of its trees, but also in  the evolution of its artistry.  Very traditional styles can  stand side by side with modern or even abstract works.   See the wonderful article "Bonsai Containers as Ceramic  Art" by Fred Aufschläger for a description of bonsai and  pot styles and how they relate to one another.  There is a related site on identifying bonsai pottery of the world hosted by the Dutch bonsai portal.  That site  is currently focussed on marks or chops of the entire world and is thus very complementary to this effort.    Organization  There are several ways to view this site.  We have compiled a directory of artists and their signatures, seals,  rakkan (Japanese seals) or other identifying marks.  Those identifiers link directly to individual pages for each  artist.  One may also simply browse through the artist pages or return to the home page or the directory at any  point. We have devoted pages to each of the artists we have  identified giving a very limited impression of their work.  We have  also included very brief information about the artists.  Where  possible, we have also included links to their own or other web  sites where you can find additional information.    Purpose The initial basis for this site was a project undertaken by the  Brandywine Bonsai Society to document the pot collections of its  members.  Several of these collections are deemed to be of  significant historical value.  Other photographs have been taken  from the internet.  (Where we are aware of copyrights, we have  obtained permission to reproduce, though this does not imply that  our readers have permission to reproduce.)  It is brought to you as  a service to the bonsai community at large.  It is our intent that all  of the information is correct, up to date and useful.  It is also hoped  that this will be an evergreen site in that we are constantly updating  and improving the information.  With that in mind we make the  following points: 1. We welcome additions to the list of artists.    2. As the site grows, we intend to give more space to well  established artists. 3. We welcome new artists and hope to use this space to  encourage potters to consider bonsai pottery. 4. We would be happy to consider changing the photographs on  any of the pages should an artist or collector provide better  material.  5. We particularly welcome any corrections.    6. We are willing to accept works by unknown artists in hopes of identifying their work or identifying marks.    Finally, in keeping with our objective to promote the art of bonsai pottery in North America, and for that  matter, around the world, we encourage bonsai enthusiasts and clubs to do so also.  When we are showing trees it is common to label the genus and species of tree.  We would also encourage you, whenever possible, to  identify the artist who constructed your pot.  There is no better way to acknowledge their important contribution  to our hobby or passion. 
Tiny contemporary pot.
A huge classic pot.
Modern pot as contemporary art
Links below in blue are not yet working
Store Home About Us Meetings Trees Creating Bonsai Pots Display Galleries Stones Information Contact Us
The Art of Bonsai Pottery by Steve Ittel
Brandywine Bonsai Society is an educational organization and as a result, the material in this site may be copied for educational purposes.  If large portions are copied, we would appreciate attribution.  We welcome links to this site. 
The purpose of this site is to promote the art and craft of pottery for bonsai in North America by providing a guide to the practitioners of this art form that is so essential to the art of bonsai. Introduction  The word "bonsai" comes from the Japanese words "bon" (pot) and "sai" (tree) and literally means "tree in a  pot".  Most individuals who use the term bonsai are referring to the tree, but from the name, it is clear that the  pot or container is essential to complete the bonsai whole.  In bonsai, the container or pot is almost always ceramic.  The pot must be carefully matched to the tree in  size, style, color and "gender."  The pot should complement the tree and not draw  attention to itself rather than the tree or the total composition.  Inexpensive pots  are used for initial training but nicely trained trees deserve nice pots.  Trees grow  and change in style, so as a tree matures, the "perfect pot" may change.  As a  result, there is a saying in the bonsai community that one can never have too  many pots.  The corollary is that one never has the right pot for a given tree after  a restyling.    There are several bonsai styles that do not employ ceramic pots.  Those  include single trees or  forest plantings on rough  stone slabs or, more  recently, synthetic slabs  from ciment fondue or  fiberglass.  Trees clinging  to rocks are another familiar theme in bonsai; the stone  may or may not be placed in a ceramic pot or suiban.   Chinese penjing often employs marble slabs carved into  shallow oval or rectangular trays.    Bonsai is often viewed as a very traditional art bound  by many rules instituted or codified by the Japanese.   These traditions are an important underpinning of bonsai  and it is wise to understand the rules and why they exist.   There are many books that will guide the beginner  through the intricacies of bonsai.  All art is based upon  balance and composition, but bonsai includes the  additional aspect of a living and growing organism.  To  understand the rules is critical, but bonsai is also an  evolving art, not only in the growth of its trees, but also in  the evolution of its artistry.  Very traditional styles can  stand side by side with modern or even abstract works.   See the wonderful article "Bonsai Containers as Ceramic  Art" by Fred Aufschläger for a description of bonsai and  pot styles and how they relate to one another.  There is a related site on identifying bonsai pottery of the world hosted by the Dutch bonsai portal.  That site  is currently focussed on marks or chops of the entire world and is thus very complementary to this effort.    Organization  There are several ways to view this site.  We have compiled a directory of artists and their signatures, seals,  rakkan (Japanese seals) or other identifying marks.  Those identifiers link directly to individual pages for each  artist.  One may also simply browse through the artist pages or return to the   point. We have devoted pages to each of the artists we have  identified giving a very limited impression of their work.  We have  also included very brief information about the artists.  Where  possible, we have also included links to their own or other web  sites where you can find additional information.    Purpose The initial basis for this site was a project undertaken by the  Brandywine Bonsai Society to document the pot collections of its  members.  Several of these collections are deemed to be of  significant historical value.  Other photographs have been taken  from the internet.  (Where we are aware of copyrights, we have  obtained permission to reproduce, though this does not imply that  our readers have permission to reproduce.)  It is brought to you as  a service to the bonsai community at large.  It is our intent that all  of the information is correct, up to date and useful.  It is also hoped  that this will be an evergreen site in that we are constantly updating  and improving the information.  With that in mind we make the  following points: 1. We welcome additions to the list of artists.    2. As the site grows, we intend to give more space to well  established artists. 3. We welcome new artists and hope to use this space to  encourage potters to consider bonsai pottery. 4. We would be happy to consider changing the photographs on  any of the pages should an artist or collector provide better  material.  5. We particularly welcome any corrections.    6. We are willing to accept works by unknown artists in hopes of identifying their work or identifying marks.    Finally, in keeping with our objective to promote the art of bonsai pottery in North America, and for that  matter, around the world, we encourage bonsai enthusiasts and clubs to do so also.  When we are showing trees it is common to label the genus and species of tree.  We would also encourage you, whenever possible, to  identify the artist who constructed your pot.  There is no better way to acknowledge their important contribution  to our hobby or passion. 
Tiny contemporary pot.
Modern pot as contemporary art
Home About Us Meetings Trees Creating Bonsai Pots Display Galleries
The Art of Bonsai Pottery by Steve Ittel
Brandywine Bonsai Society is an educational organization and as a result, the material in this site may be copied for educational purposes.  If large portions are copied, we would appreciate attribution.  We welcome links to this site.