John Pitt is a Bonsai and Ceramic Artist living in Derbyshire U.K. His father had always kept little trees, so he grew up with them all around him. He has always had a deep love and admiration for nature, especially mature old trees, and thanks to his fathers influence started bonsai seriously in 1994. He is our Winter Show Sponsor and also an individual exhibitor at the show for the second consecutive year.
He started at first on his own and joined local clubs, since then he has worked with many of the worlds Bonsai Artists and learnt from, and shared knowledge with all of them. Nowadays he usually prefers to work alone in his garden, slowly guiding each tree into the image he has in his head. A visit to Japan inspired him and enriched his knowledge even further, great age, or apparent age, is now his goal, with the whole combination, tree and container.
As a successful bonsai artist, he has exhibited trees at many European exhibitions, Gingko, Noelanders Trophy, UBI in Italy, EBA exhibitions and bonsai festival in France, Best of British, Newstead and Swindon winter image, to name a few, and won several awards. He believes this has helped him a great deal in understanding the role of the bonsai pot and ultimately designing and creating pots for trees.
He wanted to make pots for his own trees and had studied art for many years at college, before he made a conscious decision to teach himself the new skills and techniques he would need. He didn’t want to be taught what to do, or what not to do, he wanted to approach bonsai pot making from a bonsai artist’s perspective, and he felt he could be more of a free spirit from this approach. He then started making pots for his own trees, then for his friends trees, and now his pots are to be seen in major exhibitions the world over.
From the very beginning he decided he wanted to make one off individual pots, he uses various combinations of techniques, throwing, coiling, slab building, pinching, and a few unconventional ways to produce his pots. He now uses several types of clay, all high quality stoneware and manufactured in the Potteries, an area in the UK renowned for its ceramics. He used a magma red for most of the oxide finishes, and a white magma crank, and some others for experimenting with, all these clays are high fired to approx 1260 deg centigrade and produce pots that are completely vitreous (non-porous), frost proof, and extremely durable.
His passion is experimenting with glaze recipes; he uses hundreds of ingredients in various combination and several different techniques of applying glazes. He creates finishes that are totally individual and some times impossible to repeat! Some of the oxide finishes he has uses are ‘once fired’, the oxide and clay fuse together and this allows combinations to be blended on the surface of the pot itself, other finishes require the pot to be bisque fired first, and some special effects require 2 separate glaze firings.
Most of his work is commissions, which involves working with the bonsai enthusiast, designing and creating a bespoke pot that will enhance their tree.