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Mini Mania

Shisui's Mini Mania

Very small bonsai - also called Mame - require special tiny pots. Here I would like to present you creations by Shisui.

He chose the artist's name Shisui meaning "enjoy with dedication", which is surely a suitable name for somebody dealing with bonsai of such a miniature size.

Shisui started cultivating bonsai about 35 years ago without the help of a master; all his current knowledge was the result of trying and experience. "To create miniature pots you need the right tools. If these weren't available I built my own. By striving to build fine pots I made my own experiences".

Miniature pots must be very thin so that they can contain enough soil, and quality should be a prime focus. "Every single pot has its own way, hardly ever a pot is perfect. For instance, a pot may have a perfect color, but then it warps at firing. That is the interesting thing about ceramics: It is always a challenge." 98% of the bonsai on Shisui's benches are cultivated in pots made by himself. "When you create many pots with a wide variety of colours and shapes, selecting a pot becomes particularly appealing. A pot can significantly enhance a plant potted into it."

Shisui's Style

As president of the Kiraku Club, he is dedicated to the world of miniature bonsai. The club's members are bonsai lovers who delight in everyting related to miniature bonsai, be it pots, plants or tables for presentation. In a certain sense, this is a style of its own. The club was founded four years ago. "Meeting Sensei Kooji Sasaki was pivotal for my own development. I didn't like the idea of being president of a club, but Sasaki exhorted me to take on the challenge.  He was an enthusiast and taught me to dedicate myself to bonsai with enthusiasm and passion." Here is a message to all who would like to experiment with creting miniature bonsai: "Sometimes bonsai lovers are deterred by the amount of time needed to reach a high level of refinement of a tree. With Mame, it is different: Isn't it nice to be able to display an interesing specimen after two years of development? Take on the challenge, don't think of the difficulties. It's a hobby suited for everyone, and it's not too expensive either ...."

Glazed rectangular pot, size 1,8 cm x 1,6 cm x 1,2 cm.

Rockspray Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster horizontalis), Height 4 cm, in a glazed, hexagonal pot with outward rim.

Sumac (Rhus orientalis), height 6 cm. Glazed round pot with outward rim. Stand made by Shisui from the root of a Juniperus rigida.

Trident maple (Acer buergeianum), width 7 cm. Plant from seeds, five years old, in a glazed, hexagonal pot with outward rim. Wooden presentation table created by Shisui.

Azalea (Rhododendron kiusianum), height 7,5 cm. Plant from a cutting in a quince flower shaped pot with outward rim. Wooden slab made by Shisui.

This pot for grass has a drainage hole, despite its tiny size.

Grass, height 8,5 cm, in octagonal glazed pot with outward rim.

Left: Hosta in a square glazed pot without a rim. Right: Another Hosta in a hexagonal glazed pot with outward rim.

The wooden tables were created by Shisui from a single piece of ebony. The special feature of this table is that its appearance changes depending on the position of the viewer.

The trays are filled half with gravel and the miniature bonsai put on it. This prevents the substrate from drying out, while the plants themselves are still exposed to air movement.


This article was kindly provided by BONSAI ART.


Translation: Stefan Ulrich

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