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Ceramic Koi Pots

Tips on making Asian ceramic koi pots.

Ceramic artist Bruce Tomkinson combines large classical forms with bold sculptural abstract animals. His works have been inspired by trips to Japan, by the Torei gates and the Asian brush painting of animals and birds. His sculptural forms are most often Asian and ancient Mediterranean and are a classic blend of East and West.

Tomkinson first throws the base form, a pot, on the potter's wheel. As the form is firming up and drying, it's time to make his signature animal handles--in this case a beautiful Japanese Koi. He constructs the Koi from hollow slabs of clay and delicately adds the details of the fins, which are cut with wire. He carefully connects the Koi to the top of the pot, creating a form much like a basket handle. The pot is then bisque fired to 1800 F degrees. After the first firing, a matte glaze is applied to the pot and the Koi is stained with iron oxide. Then it is fired one more time to 2350 F degrees, and the dazzling Koi pot is complete.

The contrast of new to old, rough to smooth, and traditional to contemporary is what Tomkinson find's interesting about sculpting in clay. His art is a harmonious blend of form and texture.

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