Learning the art of bonsai pottery II

Rory Wilmer > Bonsai > Learning the art of bonsai pottery II

Part 2 – mame and shohin

In part 1 of this blog series I started this series off with their first two of my creations in clay and focused on the potters from Tokoname in Japan who gave me the original inspiration to start learning how to make my own bonsai pottery. I now start to look for other places and people for inspiration. One person who I have found so inspiring is Pitoon Ekarintaragun aka PIT-EKA.

When you think of bonsai you probably think of small tress. But not all bonsai are small. There are many styles and sizes of bonsai and they all have terms and names. Mame literally means “Bean” in Japanese, while 小品盆栽 & 豆盆栽 Shohin means “a small thing”. In recent times it has become a very popular style of planting size. It’s basically something you should be able to hold in your hand and can often be as small as a thumbnail.

One of my mame bonsai posts I bought from e-bonsai.cz with a planting of moss I created at the start of my bonsai adventures.

There are many easily found examples of mame and shohin style bonsai trees, it wasn’t so obvious to find the people behind making the miniature size pots. I wanted to find out some of the masters behind this tiny world of ceramics.


Creator of mame and shohin sized bonsai pots of high detail
My ability to create such small things yet retain such high detail and quality to share with the bonsai community is something I truly enjoy.
Pitoon Ekarintaragun aka PIT-EKA

Pitoon Ekarintaragun aka PIT-EKA creates mini bonsai pottery. The following bio is on his website.

My name is Pitoon Ekarintaragun, I am the craftsman and grower behind the scenes.  Since my pre-teen years I’ve always been fascinated with bonsai, moreover obsessed with plant propagation which also started around the same time. Over the past two decades my hobby was mainly focused on woodworking. I’ve just recently ventured into pottery.  My fascination for detailed miniatures lead me to make bonsai pots specifically mame and shohin sized pots of high detail.


Tiny pots with big details

Pitoon’s attention to detail, intricate designs and glorious glazing put’s his work at the forefront when it comes to the miniature world of mame and shohin bonsai. I am very excited and proud to be able to purchase some of the first batches of PIT-EKA, and in doing so, I have been in conversation with the American based artist. Pitoon creates his pots using a small pottery wheel. Using just fingers, as opposed to using your hands when you throw bigger pot’s, the shape and style of the pot is carefully, and the slightest mistake can make hours of wasted time as the pot will be destroyed. I asked Pitoon via email about his process.

I use a mini pottery wheel.  It takes patience to make them as you are not turning with your hands but with your fingers.  One mistake and the pot is destroyed and you have to start all over.  Each one of my mame pots takes about 4-5hrs to make (greenware) sometimes longer and each is unique.  Making the pot is the easy part…….design, proportions, and glaze is the hard part.


As well as creating mini bonsai pots Pitoon is also a master woodworker and he creates tomobako’s to package the pots inside for transportation. The word 供箱 ’tomobako’ refers to the wooden box that often accompanies a porcelain piece made in Japan.

Tomobako boxes for tea cups. They are not the work of PIT-EKA pottery it is just an example of antique tomobako boxes. Image from THE POTOMACK COMPANY, Alexandria, VA, USA.

I am super excited for my PIT-EKA pots to arrive in the post from across the pond. Until they arrive please have a look at Pitoon’s work and enjoy an unboxing video of his posts from Bonsaify.