Friday, July 24, 2015

How I Pack to Send a Bonsai Pot around the Country

This is a subject that I was hesitant about posting on, everyone has different methods and materials, some work, some not so well.

I have to admit that maybe once or twice a year there will be a damaged pot received by someone. Considering the number I send, that's something that has to be expected, and am quite proud of our record so far.

A pot can be sent all over the world successfully, but when it comes to parcel handling in New Zealand we are faced with parcels that can be treated quite roughly.

This is how I send my pots around New Zealand.

Each individual pot is wrapped in several layers of newspaper, I like to recycle.

Then each pot is wrapped in layers of bubblewrap and taped.  It does use a lot of bubblewrap but sometimes you can get it on special.  Its always handy to have around for something.
Almost there!!    I must mention that all wrapping etc must be done in front of a nice warm fire away from frosty icy garages.  The cat and I jostled for the best position, unfortunately she won, that was her spot.
Finished, it takes quite a while, but the extra time put into it now, can save you having to replace any that get damaged.
I estimated that these would fit into 3 cartons, but until you get them wrapped up, its really just a guess.
My biggest challenge is finding boxes that are sturdy enough to handle the weight of several pots, and are the right shape, I didn't realise just how hard it is to get shallow square boxes.  Being mostly round pots there is a lot of wasted space using a rectangle box.  That's just something I have to live with as I have chosen to make different size pots.
The above picture shows a banana box bottom tucked inside another box just to keep the sides rigid.  A layer of scrunched up newspaper is put on the bottom and the pots are arranged so they aren't touching the sides (very important)
Nearly finished. The pots are placed in the box with layers of newspaper surrounding and in between them.  They shouldn't be able to move at all.  The box is filled up this way, being careful not to make it too heavy.
The box top is folded down and taped, by taped I mean all around several times, just one or two strips wont do.

Several "Fragile" stickers are placed around the box and its addressed and ready to send.  I also write "TOP STOW" around the box.  This supposedly means that it wont be put at the bottom of the crates they are stacked into while traveling around the country. It should be stored near the top, therefore not getting crushed with all the weight on top of it.  Well that's what I've been told by the courier, but not sure if it actually happens.

The couriers are beginning to get a bit more particular about the size and weight of box's sent, I underestimated the weight on one of these box's and ended up having to pay for an extra Courier ticket.  Sometimes the estimate is spot on, sometimes its not

So that's how I do it, maybe you do it differently, I'd be interested to hear of any different methods that don't require you buying lots of expensive packing materials:)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

It's Been a Oval Bonsai Pot at Last.

After numerous failures and disappointments while making large oval bonsai pots, I decided to give it another go........ opening the kiln this afternoon I was a little apprehensive.
Turned out beautifully!  I added a little bit of soft clay around the join, a slightly different colour but you don't see that when its planted up.
The glaze has a grainy almost wood fired look to it.....very pleased with it.  Being 48cm long it'll be a very handy pot to have.  I have a group of alders that would look great in it.
This pot however, got the "holy moly" reaction.  Being one to always try something new, I decided to dab a little dark glaze on with a sponge. Thinking it would melt and blend in with the brown glaze, I was disappointed when it didn't move/melt or anything.  Looks like a pot that has gone mouldy.  This has been put aside to try reglazing!  It's not growing on me at all.

These turned out this glaze, it's darker in the grooves of the textured pots.
It has a nice antique look to it.

Just a wee note about my pots freezing.  I got an email from Simon Leach a very well respected potter who had the same thing happen to some of his freshly  made jugs.  He noticed ice crystals in them,  he just reworked them and smoothed them down again, and they all  turned out perfectly.  So that's something to keep in mind if it ever happens again.