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The Collectors: Bonsai Pots

Sep 2, 2011

by rikrak handmade and vintage goods

Welcome, welcome, wonderful September! Your cool winds bring our imaginations inside and creative container gardening begins to take shape. Perhaps your indoor gardening style is the modern masterpiece of an air plant array, the magical mini-world of a terrarium scape, or that timeless classic, the windswept bonsai garden. All types find a home in the sunny window sills of early autumn.

Who are you?
Valerie Tyler, jeweler and school teacher.  

What are you collecting?
Bonsai pots for a slowly growing Japanese garden.

When did you start? 
My husband and I started collecting bonsai around 2006. We were inspired by my mother-in-law, who I believe has over 50 gorgeous bonsai trees in a stunning collection of pots and containers.

How many do you have?
If you count the ones that are strictly bonsai pots with low profiles, I have 10. If I count the myriad of other pots we’re using until we collect more, I have almost 25.

Where do you find them?
I love to scour garage sales, yard sales, and thrift stores. I’m thrilled when I make a discovery, as they’re not always easy to find. I always look for handmade pots, as that makes them extra-special.

Where do you keep them?
In winter they’re all kept in a two tier window garden. Come spring, they’re taken outside to the Japanese garden we are slowly creating.

What’s a crazy/interesting story behind one?
During a relatively successful art show, I snuck away from my table to visit the studio of Matt Richards, a.k.a. Ryu No Sakebi. Since I had cash burning a hole in my pocket, I quickly purchased two of his pots. They’re pretty interesting works and they each have his handprint glazed on them, which I thought was quite a signature!

What piece would you like to add?
I’d like to commission my friend Gina DeSantis to make me a pot. She makes gorgeous, Japanese-inspired pottery. 

Why do you love them?
My husband and I both share a love of Japanese-inspired art. Bonsai pots showcase simplicity in design — they have beautiful, clean lines and usually come in gorgeous earthy tones and watery blues. Best of all, they provide a harmonious partner in shape and form with the trees they hold.

What else do you collect?
Along the same design lines, I collect other forms of pottery and Asian and nature-inspired art. Basically, art work that has a relaxing quality.

Beautiful! Thanks so much, Valerie.

Valerie explores her appreciation of living things with her modern, nature-inspired metalsmith jewelry. Reflective of her beautiful bonsai collection, I adore her use of clean lines, her apt mix of metals and colors, and gorgeous sense of space and shape in each piece she creates. I hope you’ll visit her wonderful Etsy shop, Valerie Tyler Designs, and her blog, Art Addict.

What do you collect? Please tell us in the comments below. We’d love to hear!

The Collectors Series | Bonsai on Etsy

Bonsai Planters Miniature Octagon Blue Pots Saucers
Bonsai Planters Miniature Octagon Blue Pots Saucers
Set of Vintage Paper Cocktail Napkins in Plastic Case - Black and White Image of Japanese Garden - RESERVED FOR KIMBERLEY
Set of Vintage Paper Cocktail Napkins in Plastic Case - Black and White Image of Japanese Garden - RESERVED FOR KIMBERLEY
Windswept Bonsai Tree  Rubber Stamp K13811- Wood Mounted
Windswept Bonsai Tree Rubber Stamp K13811- Wood Mounted
$17.00 USD


  • TwinkleStarCrafts

    TwinkleStarCrafts said 8 years ago

    Wonderful collection. Bonsai is a great way to bring the outdoors inside in a beautifully decorated way.

  • satellitedaisy

    satellitedaisy said 8 years ago

    I became fascinated with bonsai after a trip to the Huntington Library Botanical Gardens. Wonderful post. Thanks!

  • minouette

    minouette said 8 years ago

    That's really nifty.

  • AukinasGoddess

    AukinasGoddess said 8 years ago

    you inspired me to get a new pot for my bonsai. :) thank you for writing. and- beautiful work [valerietyler].

  • ShoeClipsOnly

    ShoeClipsOnly said 8 years ago

    Love the bonsai trees! thanks for sharing!!

  • prillarguri1976

    prillarguri1976 said 8 years ago

    I love these little trees.

  • TheIDconnection

    TheIDconnection said 8 years ago

    This is wonderful! I love Bonsai trees Monica TheIDConnection

  • jammerjewelry

    jammerjewelry said 8 years ago

    Wonderful article, thanks!

  • fbstudiovt

    fbstudiovt said 8 years ago

    Beautiful! If you haven't checked out the bonsai collection at the Botanical Gardens in Montreal, I highly recommend them. They're stunning!!

  • RedorGrayArt

    RedorGrayArt said 8 years ago

    i breathlessly thank for this post reminded me of my mom today .. a bonsai gardener from way back all I have are the lovely memories..such stunning series here today

  • myvintagecrush

    myvintagecrush said 8 years ago

    I love my bansai! Great interview

  • amysfunkyfibers

    amysfunkyfibers said 8 years ago

    So beautiful, I just love the form and shape of the bonsai.

  • tarikyousef

    tarikyousef said 8 years ago

    I love bonsai trees, this is amazing work! I used to build cedar bonsai planters for my own garden, they were very fun to create and the Bonsai trees were so fun to grow and maintain.

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 8 years ago

    Beautiful pots, I'm not sure what I love more the variety of pots on display or the plants themselves!

  • BanglewoodSupplies

    BanglewoodSupplies said 8 years ago

    I love this!!!

  • Mclovebuddy

    Mclovebuddy said 8 years ago

    those are fun to collect. i really love frogs and ikebana containers, too - kind of similar.

  • thebeadgirl

    thebeadgirl said 8 years ago

    so cool! makes me want to try a bonsai...i've always been scared!

  • vitamini

    vitamini said 8 years ago

    My grandparents were world travelers and bonsai gardeners. I have such fond memories of going out to the bonsai garden with my grandma to help her water the trees. My favorite was a ginkgo that had been rooted over a lava rock. I inherited many of their beautiful pots, trays and containers. Some have chips from being moved around over the years, but I love them the same.

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 8 years ago

    Love it!

  • TheScarfTree

    TheScarfTree said 8 years ago

    Beautiful - I love bonsai as well! Such a tranquil thing to have around!

  • lindaketelhut

    lindaketelhut said 8 years ago

    Love these little plants! Like beautiful mini sculptural pieces. Thanks for sharing your inspired collection!

  • AdornmentsNYC

    AdornmentsNYC said 8 years ago

    great post and lovely collection! Thanks for sharing!

  • MegansMenagerie

    MegansMenagerie said 8 years ago

    Love this! There is something so calming about those little trees :)

  • MootiDesigns

    MootiDesigns said 8 years ago

    Love Bonsai trees, I can never keep them alive though. Great post!

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 said 8 years ago

    What a great, fun collection. Not only would I kill a bonsai tree I could probably kill the pot it came in. I have killed air plants. I'm not proud of it.

  • thevelvetheart

    thevelvetheart said 8 years ago

    I've always wanted to try my hand at this! Bonsais are so cool!

  • TheVintaquarian

    TheVintaquarian said 8 years ago

    Bonsai pots, with their simple soothing lines are so appealing. My sister gave me one (complete with plant and a tiny little person) that I've been enjoying for about 10 years now. Still going strong! Always interesting to hear what other people like to collect, great post! And yes, I agree, Valerie's jewelry is reflective of the simplicity, clean lines and beauty of the bonsai, very lovely!!

  • withheartbyhand

    withheartbyhand said 8 years ago

    Your collection is beautiful, I too love bonsai plants and pots and everything japanese-inspired. Check out my etsy page and see my japanese inspired might interest you!

  • AvianInspirations

    AvianInspirations said 8 years ago

    Beautiful! And I never really stopped to consider the pot before, I've always simply enjoyed the bonsai. Thanks for the new perspective!

  • paramountvintage

    paramountvintage said 8 years ago

    what a great collection. i bet there are some amazing handmade pots on etsy. i'm going to look now! :)

  • rejive

    rejive said 8 years ago

    I love bonsai trees! Anything that can help slow down my overactive brain is GOOD!

  • grandpaspocket

    grandpaspocket said 8 years ago

    so beautiful and so ethereal and so peaceful.....great article!

  • ValerieTyler

    ValerieTyler said 8 years ago

    Thanks for letting me share. Of course I love the related items.

  • GwenDelicious

    GwenDelicious said 8 years ago

    beautiful, my husband and I have many bonsai's in our garden...thanks for sharing!

  • Gookies

    Gookies said 8 years ago

    Great collection. Some of these trees are very well manicured!

  • zJayne

    zJayne said 8 years ago

    Wonderful sharing about Valerie's collecting. She is such a supporter and kind spirit on the Cleveland Handmade team. I have been luvin her blogging since day one!

  • stonz

    stonz said 8 years ago

    Go Valerie!! Love Gina's work too~

  • 2TrickPony

    2TrickPony said 8 years ago

    awesome collection! and a lovely necklace, too:)


    GLORIACASTANEDA said 8 years ago

    i love it! for minute i thought the first photo was weed plant! O_O

  • SweetiePieCollars

    SweetiePieCollars said 8 years ago

    Awesome! I am going to get one when I get back from vacay!!!

  • Justlena

    Justlena said 8 years ago

    Wonderful article,great collection!

  • Turnadaisy

    Turnadaisy said 8 years ago

    Love Bonsai! Awesome article and already had Valerie's shop in my favorites...beautiful work. Thank you for including Turnadaisy with all of these wonderful artists!

  • HardlySimpleDesigns

    HardlySimpleDesigns said 8 years ago

    Great article! That is so true, Asian and nature inspired art has such a relaxing quality. That is probably why my house is filled with both! :) Now I just need that Japanese garden. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • limegreenrhinestones

    limegreenrhinestones said 8 years ago

    Nice article Valerie!

  • StyleGraphicDesign

    StyleGraphicDesign said 8 years ago

    Awesome!! I love them very much! Thank you:))

  • girliepains

    girliepains said 8 years ago


  • jewelkingthai

    jewelkingthai said 8 years ago

    I love gardening, it gives pleasant feeling in mind ......

  • JewelsbyJasmin

    JewelsbyJasmin said 8 years ago

    Beautiful pots!

  • shiplett

    shiplett said 8 years ago

    Great job Valerie. Love your work.

  • oneperfectday

    oneperfectday said 8 years ago

    Now, that's a great collection to have! Pretty little trees! Awesome!

  • LazyTcrochet

    LazyTcrochet said 8 years ago

    Valerie's garden is beautiful. She hosted our first Etsy Craft Party for the ClevelandTeam and it was such fun!

  • SylviesDesigns

    SylviesDesigns said 8 years ago

    What a wonderful hobby. I've always been fascinated by Bonsai. At the moment I collect shells, from perfectly formed shells of about 2mm to huge ones that fill my hand. I find them on beaches that we visit around the world. I intend using the smaller ones on a Unique Wall hanging that I am quilting entirely by hand....about 300 hours in it so far. I've also hand dyed some of the fabric for it...but I also collect fabric. Not huge lots, but pieces from all over the world where I have traveled....these too are going into the wall hanging. The shells will be used along with beads and pearls to make some unique jewelry....about 70 hours work in that ...but not yet ready to be you all will have to wait a bit.....see ya :-D

  • JeffreyJamesModern

    JeffreyJamesModern said 8 years ago

    Beautiful Bonsai!! Lovely!!

  • AMSkrafts

    AMSkrafts said 8 years ago

    Beautiful bonsai! I think they are so amazing; my grandfather (a gardener by profession) have perhaps 50+ bonsai in his backyard, and I think he continues to care and collect more, even though he's running out of space! I would love to attend a bonsai class to learn more of the art, perhaps start a bonsai garden of my own in the future. Thank you for sharing!

  • diamondgracejewelry

    diamondgracejewelry said 8 years ago

    very cute plant. i would love to have one in my house :)

  • GinaDeSantis

    GinaDeSantis said 8 years ago

    Thanks for the mention Valerie! Can't wait to get started on this project. Just pick a color...I'm assuming black?!

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