In honor of Pippin, the world’s greatest mountain dog.

Artist’s statement

Vicki Chamberlain
Ashland, Oregon

The clay’s and glazes I use are influenced by three very important bonsai artists, and by what I observe in nature.

Michael Hagedorn (Crataegus Bonsai) advised me to embrace traditional bonsai design before I venture into abstract shapes. I have taken this advice very seriously and continue to refine traditional shapes and styles.

Ryan Neil (Bonsai Mirai) once told me that if I could truly see the tree planted in my pots before I make them, then the pots would be more appropriate for bonsai.  I use this advice every time I sit down at the wheel.

Most of all I owe thanks to Scott Elser, national bonsai award recipient and active member of the Bonsai Society of Portland. Scott has taken the time to critique my work on a continual basis and his guidance has helped me progress with focus. It is a true gift to have someone with such knowledge share it so generously.


I am a bonsai enthusiast that got started making containers for my own collection.  I am fascinated how the bonsai and pot are so connected. I continually try to use restraint in my glazes and shapes. Only when the tree is planted in the containers do they truly come to life.  I love meeting people who share the same passion and seeing my pots go to homes where they will be paired with bonsai for many years to come. It is an honor to provide containers for others in the bonsai community.

A note about depth of some of my containers

With temperatures in southern Oregon continuing to climb I have decided to make some of my containers slightly deeper than some bonsai practitioners might like. I do this to help provide a little additional protection for the roots. I realize that for the true connoisseur a slightly deeper pot has some negative ramifications, but with temperatures reaching 106F for multiple days, I am finding that a little more depth helps reduce stress to the trees.

I also want to make containers that are appropriate for the many bonsai hobbyists that are still training their young bonsai. I am pretty sure my bonsai collection will never be eligible for the Artisan’s Cup or William Valavanis’ U.S. National Bonsai Exhibitions, but that doesn’t diminish the enjoyment I get every morning and evening when I visit my collection. I think most bonsai hobbyists fall within this same category and I want to make sure they have the opportunity to purchase handmade containers that work for them.

So you may find some of my pots a little deeper than the true connoisseur might like, but rest assured you’ll find both shallower and deeper containers in my collection.

I invite you to tour a sampling of glazed, unglazed, and kusamono containers uploaded to this site.