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Inspirational Artists- Yoshiyuki Kawada

In bonsai, the pot or container is as important as the tree, both completing the whole composition. A tree without a pot is just a tree. The word bonsai literally means plant in a pot, bon being a tray or pot and sai a planting or plant. Many enthusiasts will tell you one can experience the want for more and more pots and this can become an addiction when talented artists like Yoshiyuki Kawada exist.

Kawada’s work is simply amazing and has been tooted as one of the best pot makers in Japan. Kawada specialises in small mame and shohin pots which at this size he carves out of blocks of clay. Using traditional ways like slab technique would just be too fiddley to do. The intricate shapes of his pots are sketched out on to the clay and then cut to shape, they are then hollowed out and ready for glaze. Shapes include octagonal pots (see purple pot in images), Flower shape (white pot), ancient mirror shape, kenmokkou (sword Japanese quince shape) among many others. Most of these pot shapes are unique to Kawada as far as I am aware.

Not only does he make beautiful shaped pots, equal skill and attention is given to the glazes used on the pots. From bright colours, to subtle, glazing really brings out the shapes of the containers, pinks and purples can be seen along with unglazed. Crackle glaze and glitter type glazes also feature but the thing I like most how the use of various colours on a single pot. The effect I like to call flower where there are spots, shapes and other designs are made in the glaze (see white pot below for example). More recently reduction firing using the charcoal have brought out some stunning effect in his glazes. I have barely scratched the surface of this highly renowned artist and to see more of the beautiful work of Yoshiyuki Kawada, visit his Facebook page and marvel at the craftsmanship or go to his website which catalogues every pot he has ever made.

The pots are few and far between with production of only a few each day makes them hard to come by. I was lucky enough to get some shipped to the UK from Japan and below you can see images of the pots I got. These are available for use in commissioned wire trees, if you are interested please feel free to contact me.

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