Handmade pots for bonsai trees

Tokoname glazes

November 12, 2017

There are a few glazes that every Tokoname bonsai potter needs to have in his production if he is going to get orders from the wholesellers, and reach the japanese market. To be repeatable most of them are plain, without any mixing and not to many effects. ”what you see in the catalogue is what you get”. 

Beeing featured in The Tokoname catalogue, from wich most wholesale orders are made, is a must for a bonsai potter in Tokoname.

The Shuuhou page in the annual Tokoname catalogue.


Some potters take commisions from visitors who come to the studio, but his main source of income is from the large bulk orders he gets from wholesellers. But at every potters studio there is shelves with more experimental stuff he makes on the side. If a potter in Tokoname/Japan gets famous, is often for his take of a well known glaze. 


Here are some of the standard bonsai glazes, Shuuhou version.


Namako - striped glaze (appears in several versions)


Oribe - green


Shiro - white and cream glaze


Kiiro - yellow glaze 


Shinsha - copper red glaze



Kinyou - milky blue 


Ruri - Azur & Cobalt blue


Celadon - Crackled transparent green


Tenmoku - dark brown with copper effect



Applying the glaze

Every potter has his or hers way of applying glaze, but basically you can brush it on, spray it, or dip the whole piece. Some prefer to apply it when the pot is unfired/green/raw some after its bisque fired. 


Hidemi showed us how he dips greenware/unfired pots in glaze.


First he covers all the parts he want to protect, from splashes, with tape.


Then he put plugs into the drainage and wiring holes. Note that he leaves two unplugged, where he needs to put his fingers in later on, to hold the pot.


Hidemi put two layers of glows on, to seal the holes with his fingers, before he lifts it up.





And then its dipped and slowly turned, while let the glaze run of, to avoid pools.


Watch the video below if you want to see tempo and technique. Hold in mind that this is greenware that is going to be raw fired. (This is also the only pot that he ”fails” with, and get glaze on the inside. Lets blame it on me and the camera. :D)






Thank you for reading and watching.




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