Asymmetrical pots

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Asymmetrical pots

Postby GavinG » July 27th, 2018, 5:24 pm

Most of our pots are symmetrical - rectangular, oval, square or round, although our trees are almost always not symmetrical. Natives in the "natural" style seem particularly unsuited to formal pots. Whenever I've tried to make asymmetrical pots they have always turned out "geometric" and "designed", not organic.

Last night I tried turning off my logical mind (OK, some beer may have been involved...) and put stuff together without thinking or planning. It's not chaotic - there's thirty years of pottery experience behind this "casual" approach.

So here are some pots. I think they are probably too "shouty" to balance well with a bonsai tree - I've posted them just to start a discussion.

P1010308.jpg


P1010313.jpg


P1010311.jpg


P1010314.jpg


P1010312.jpg


P1010325.jpg


P1010318.jpg


P1010315.jpg


So what do you think?

Gavin
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Re: Asymmetrical pots

Postby Thymetraveller » July 27th, 2018, 7:25 pm

Some great shapes there, Gavin!
I like a wide variety of pots, from very formal to very rough, decorated, austere, gaudy, bring them on!
Yours bring to mind rock and slab plantings, and definitely chime in with the penjing side of my micro-forestry.
Keep making them! Perhaps the next level of experimentation is to thoroughly research the effects different kinds of beer have on the design ;)

Cheers
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Re: Asymmetrical pots

Postby regwac » July 27th, 2018, 7:34 pm

I’m with you Gavin !
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Re: Asymmetrical pots

Postby Pat K » July 27th, 2018, 7:50 pm

:shock:

Gavin, I need to sleep on this.....
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Re: Asymmetrical pots

Postby GavinG » July 27th, 2018, 8:50 pm

PatK, just a few more glasses of red...

(And where is that wood-fired kiln pray tell? These pots might be nice with lots of ash drips.... )

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Re: Asymmetrical pots

Postby Rory » July 28th, 2018, 7:53 am

As usual Gav, your posts make me laugh, and think, then laugh and think again.
I’m with Pat, I had to sleep on it, mainly because I’d had a lot of beer. Mountain goat are making some really good stuff lately.

I really do love the free form pots that I have by Pat, Graeme, Penny.
But also the traditionally symmetrical pots that I have work really well with my all-native trees.
In particular, I love the look of Pats round pots with my trees. This is why I acquired a stack of them. Because I feel that most fancy shmancy Tokoname pots look too contrived as a pot anyway. There are quite a few exceptions to this which I own, where the simple symmetrical large Toko pots look wonderful with my trees. Keishin is a Japanese potter who produces the most lovely dark yellowish clay, which resembles the ground around where I live.
I digress, I really couldn’t find any Aussie potters that could produce something 50cm plus, that was symmetrical for my big casuarinas. Thus I bit the bullet and tried a Keishin tokoname pot and loved the combination.
This was he same for group plantings. However I recently acquired a lovely raw slab from Sno which I love, and makes me question the need for pots at all. But I’m a sucker for a well made large round Aussie pot, which is why I loved Pat and Marie Hewartsons work.

I don’t think an asymmetrical pot makes our rugged natives look better or worse, but rather each individual tree may look better in a symmetrical or asymmetrical pot depending on the pot. Sometimes the lovely round pot gives the harsh tree more accent because of that. However, having said all that, what I love about Pats pots is the glaze can produce these lovely imperfections that really stand out, just like a tree that has imperfections.

Some of the unique colors Graeme gets on some of his pots are the reason I’ll never part with them. I even have casuarina trees already ear marked for them. The colours are what reminds me of the earthy ground from where they came.

I think what doesn’t work for me with traditional pots on our natives is the fancy feet, or the pretty engraved pictures, shiny gloss, etc etc. it just doesn’t shout out, “look at me, im a banksia in 45 degree heat with a broken back” that you want. It’s often the texture/glaze of the pot that I feel makes so much impact.

It’s a really important point Gavin raises about our natives, and I think one of the most underrated topics today.
With the consensus from a lot of growers now leaning towards a natural growth in their natives, it begs the question of do we put as much effort into acquiring a raw looking container or a non-natural perfect circle/square pot. It’s probably nostalgia for me, having grown up in the 80’s and seeing all the glorious Bonsai with big round pots or rectangles, but I prefer to have both symmetrical and asymmetrical.

In regards to these pots you’ve made Gav, I look forward to where you’re going with them.
My favorites are the 1st and the 2nd last one.
Last edited by Rory on July 28th, 2018, 9:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Asymmetrical pots

Postby Keep Calm and Ramify » July 28th, 2018, 9:27 am

:wave: GavinG,
I like pics no2, 5 & 7 the best. Reminds me of...
dirk huijssoon.jpg


I cant really tell what size your pots are, but can imagine some of these being useful as kusamono pots, to complement [or contrast] against larger, plain or more formal styles of pot. :clap: for sharing your results.
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Re: Asymmetrical pots

Postby Pat K » July 28th, 2018, 11:24 am

OK Gavin, my sleep was undisturbed but upon waking I was still undecided about the value of your 'mind snap' :?
I thought about a red breakfast but waited and now, perhaps, the form (or lack of form) is growing on me. My 'considered' opinion is that these pots might work in a paler, or even white clay with a good, breaking shino. I think the dark clay makes the pots heavy and cumbersome.

My tuppence worth ;)

Staying muddy, as I'm glad to see you are,
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Re: Asymmetrical pots

Postby LLK » July 28th, 2018, 4:09 pm

I think they all are a "Why Not" shape, if you have the right tree for each. On the whole, though, I prefer pots where the water has a good chance of staying put till the tree has drunk its fill. I know, creativity is sunk by practicality. Such is life.
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Re: Asymmetrical pots

Postby John(JP) » July 28th, 2018, 4:30 pm

Gav,

I'm with Rory as to Pat's pots(I only have 1 but have seen many) but I have to say that I do like 1,4 & 7 although some lighter colouring would make me keener and I have had no beer, Red wine nor a cleansing Sambuca.

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Re: Asymmetrical pots

Postby dansai » July 28th, 2018, 6:09 pm

The thing I might find hard is not eating them with the breakfast cereal I put in them. They look delicious......

Seriously though, I love them. They are dynamic and lively and I think they would add beautifully to a tree with signs of struggle against harsh conditions. Nice job Gavin :clap:
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Re: Asymmetrical pots

Postby GavinG » July 29th, 2018, 5:59 pm

Thanks folks.

Rory, "Little Creatures". Fine brews. Please post photos of your pot/trunk combinations - it doesn't matter if you think that they're "mature" bonsai or not, we can get the idea of how the trunk and the pot relate.

PatK: wet clay is of course darker than dried/fired clay. It depends on how much reduction happens as to how dark and nasty they become. They are indeed heavy and cumbersome, visually - my next step is to try to get the same geometric freedom with less "shouting" - something that can sit more harmoniously under a tree. These are very much a first approximation.

Lisa: your pots have holes in the bottom, why not the sides?

John(JP): better luck with the beer/Sambuca as the week progresses. Yes, they need to be lighter both in colour and visual impact - next step.

dansai: Cereal killer pots maybe? It will need to be a very nasty tree that can sit with these pots, but the technique, or lack of calculation should lead to some lighter but still interesting pots.

Stand by.

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