Bonsai artist

Bonsai expert profile

John Pitt

I’m a Bonsai and Ceramic Artist living in Derbyshire U.K. My father had always kept little trees, so I grew up with them all around me.

John PittI have always had a deep love and admiration for nature, especially mature old trees, and thanks to my fathers influence started Bonsai seriously in 1994. At first on my own and local clubs, since then I have worked with many of the worlds Bonsai Artists and learnt from, and shared knowledge with all of them.

Nowadays I usually prefer to work alone in my garden, slowly guiding each tree into the image I have in my head. A visit to Japan inspired me and enriched my knowledge even further, great age, or apparent age, is now my goal, with the whole combination, tree and container.

As a successful Bonsai artist, I have exhibited trees at many European exhibitions and won several awards, I think this helps me a great deal in understanding the role of the Bonsai pot and ultimately designing and creating pots for trees.

Quick facts

Appeared at these events: Various European exhibitions: Gingko Award, Noelanders Trophy, UBI, EBA exhibitions, Bonsai Festival, Best of British Bonsai. Newstead and Swindon winter image.

Appeared in these magazines: Various including BCI, Bonsai Actual

Awards: Several awards

Books: N/A

More information about John Pitt

I wanted to make pots for my own trees and had studied art many years before at college, I made a conscious decision to teach myself the new skills and techniques I would need, I didn’t want to be taught what to do, or what not to do, I wanted to approach Bonsai pot making from a Bonsai artist’s perspective, I felt I could be more of a free spirit from this approach. I started making pots for my own trees, then for friends trees, and now my pots are to be seen in major exhibitions the world over.

From the very beginning I decided I wanted to make one off individual pots, I use various combinations of techniques, wheel throwing, coiling, slab building, pinching, and a few unconventional ways to produce my pots. I now use several types of clay, all high quality stoneware and manufactured in the Potteries, an area in the UK renowned for its ceramics, 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.

My passion is experimenting with glaze recipes; I use hundreds of ingredients in various combination and several different techniques of applying glazes. I create finishes that are totally individual and some times impossible to repeat! Some of the oxide finishes I use 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.

Much of my work is commissions, which involves working with the Bonsai enthusiast, designing and creating a pot that will enhance their tree. I am a commercial member of the Federation of British Bonsai Societies and The Bonsai Traders Association, so you should see me at most of the UK shows, and major shows in Europe. If you don't see exactly the pot you want on my stand or website, please contact me, we can discuss your tree and agree a design that will frame your tree to perfection.

Some of John Pitt's Bonsai trees

Prunus Spinosa bonsai
Prunus Spinosa "balerina" (March 2012)

Itoigawa shohin bonsai
Juniperus Itoigawa (Shohin)

Taxus bonsai
Taxus (2012)

Contact information

Location: England
Email: john (at)

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