BACKGROUND

In my ‘artroom’ photo-recording every pot we make — quite a lengthy process!

Dan was born in Hong Kong in 1938 – the last of thirteen children – he has six brothers and six sisters, four children of his own and five grandchildren.

Dan first acquired an interest in bonsai in 1969. He has never had any formal training in bonsai and was essentially self taught, but he was fortunate in having been trained and qualified in the first instance, as an art teacher, and, later in graphic design with Applied Photography being his main subject, he was self-taught in this too. He was a Senior Lecturer at the Bristol Polytechnic (now the University of the West of England) and finally graduated to Head of the Photographic Department. It is the last 50 years of involvement with various aspects of the visual arts that have helped him enormously with bonsai and it is essentially this background he relies on when creating his miniature trees. Dan took early retirement from his Lecturing Post with the Polytechnic almost 30 years ago and set up an educational Service in Bonsai involving: demos, workshops, master classes, lectures, residential courses etc.

Dan has, for over 25 years, served as a judge for Bonsai at the Chelsea Flower Show and numerous other Royal Horticultural Society shows; he has received three Awards for photographs of bonsai trees exhibited at the International Bonsai and Suiseki Exhibition, Osaka, Japan, including the major Award for 1989 and has also received many other International awards for bonsai. Dan was made a Member of the British Bonsai Roll of Honour (by FoBBS) for contributions to the furtherance of Bonsai within Britain and he was honoured in 2006 by the Association of British Bonsai Artists (ABBA) with their “Most Prestigious Award”, also, for his contribution to British Bonsai. He has been a guest bonsai demonstrator at numerous Bonsai Conventions in the U.K., most of the European countries, and in America on numerous occasions. Dan has conducted over 500 different programmes.

Dan had his first book on bonsai, ‘THE BONSAI BOOK’, published in 1989 by Ebury Press (it has since been re-printed several times and in several languages). He is currently working on a second book that will deal mostly with aspects of the aesthetics and philosophy of contemporary bonsai practice in the Western World and offering an alternative approach from the traditional methods to the subject. It will be a very visual book and will be very different from any other book on bonsai.

Dan was Founder of the The Bristol Bonsai Society in 1975, and The Classical Bonsai Circle (27 years next April). He also founded the  Association of British Bonsai Artists (with great encouragement and a push from his very good friend Steve Tolley who said; stop talking about the idea and just get on with it….. thanks Steve). He has created several national Bonsai events such as “The Joy of Bonsai” and “Bonsai UK Exhibition” (BUKEX).  Dan was also actively engaged in the formative years of FoBBS.

Dan’s latest ‘brainchild’ (2011) was coming up with the idea of creating an exhibition to showcase the various items that are frequently exhibited as ‘companions’ to bonsai in formal displays.  He invited Robin Jehan, John Trott, Mark and Ritta Cooper and his wife Cecilia to join him in forming a working team to kick-start the concept — and so the “Magical Bonsai Accents” exhibition was created.  Its first exhibition will be on 27th May, 2012

In recent years, he has extended his interests to making handcrafted stoneware pots for bonsai (mostly ‘coiled’) with his wife, Cecilia. They market these pots under the business name of ‘Esoteric Pots’ with a guarantee that no two pots will be the same. His latest endeavours include painting in oils.

Over the past 40 years Dan has met a huge number of ‘bonsai’ people and made a great many friends — it is to these friends that he owes so much and to whom he is eternally grateful , for without their help and support over the years he doubts if he would ever have made it as far as he has in bonsai.  To all of you he says: a big thank you.  And none of you is forgotten.

You can find out a little more about Dan and his views on contemporary bonsai and bonsai pottery if you click on the URL below:

http://artofbonsai.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2200

Also, check out Dan’s latest project on:

http://www.ourbonsai.wordpress.com

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————

I am indebted to Robin Jehan and Wolgang Putz for allowing me to publish many of their accent plants (grown in our pots), and of course to all the bonsai artists that have sent me pictures of their trees in my pots.  Much appreciated…. keep them coming in!.



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17 responses

8 08 2009
Dinga Leuba

Mille congratulations (in French of course) for this site. I was astounded to read your biography and did not realize I had such a gifted cousin. You make me want to go into this activity. Unfortunately I do not have “la main verte” (don’t know the expression in English, green fingers?) like you. When you come back to Switzerland for an exhibition, do let me know way ahead, ok?
Dan, thanks for sharing this with us. Take care and regards to Cecilia
Dinga

8 08 2009
Steve "Harleyrider" Jackson

Hi Dan. Wow! A pretty impressive cv, I must say. As a relative newcomer to bonsai (beyond the confines of sticks in pots), I consider myself fortunate to have been taken under the wing of Mr Tickle. Whenever I’m in his garden, I hear him talking of your pots, and he is rightly proud of the ones he has (in particular, one of your very early ones, which he guards with his life!).
Having heard so much about you and your work, I’m looking forward to meeting you and, hopefully, finding something amongst your wares to compliment my tree/s, as and when I think they deserve it.

Excellent site, btw, even if it is still a hard hat area. Just in case you need to know, I was led here through the Bonsai Club website.

13 10 2009
Andy "Stone Monkey" Pearson

Hi Dan

I keep coming back and looking at your great website! Love your old pictures of Ci and your good self. Look forward to seeing you both again soon

Kindest regards

Andy

20 06 2010
Frankie

heya dan… made my website! 🙂
xx
Ellaa

3 07 2010
Julie Regenbogen

Like cousin Dinga in Switzerland, your “German” cousin is amazed at your talent and creativity in so many aspects of art.
I have had the luck of visiting you and Ci over the past 40 years, fascinated by your bonsais and pots, and you never fail to surprise me with your new ideas. Who ever thought that, back in our early Hong Kong days, this skinny cousin of mine who paddled with me in a rubber dinghy in his father’s goldfish pond, who wiped the bottom of his little black dog with a hibiscus leaf, who ate half raw rice and vegetables on top of the garage with his cook’s meticulously clean pots, blackening them with a charcoal fire, would turn out to be an international Bonsai Guru! I treasure your first book and look forward to your next. Keep up the great work and much love to you, Ci and the entire family.

Cousin Julie in Eppertshausen, Germany

3 07 2010
danbartonbonsaipots

Thanks Julie for your kind comments and for letting the whole world know what a ‘prat’ I was when we played together as kids. love you… Dan

11 07 2010
Antispam for outlook

Like cousin Dinga in Switzerland, your “German” cousin is amazed at your talent and creativity in so many aspects of art.I have had the luck of visiting you and Ci over the past 40 years, fascinated by your bonsais and pots, and you never fail to surprise me with your new ideas. Who ever thought that, back in our early Hong Kong days, this skinny cousin of mine who paddled with me in a rubber dinghy in his father’s goldfish pond, who wiped the bottom of his little black dog with a hibiscus leaf, who ate half raw rice and vegetables on top of the garage with his cook’s meticulously clean pots, blackening them with a charcoal fire, would turn out to be an international Bonsai Guru! I treasure your first book and look forward to your next. Keep up the great work and much love to you, Ci and the entire family.
+1

16 07 2010
Oscar

hi dan,
hope this message gets to you; can I place a link to your website from my bonsai page? Would love to exchange a link with you. Great photos!
Oscar
http://www.bonsaiempire.com

4 09 2010
Michelle

Those are really stunning, magnificent pots. I especially love the texture detailing on the first one! The abstract character that is added is sublime, and would be such a nice detail to compliment any tree. The irregularities of the second one are very thought provoking ‘human’ touches. The American bonsai enthusiast is a lucky person indeed. I can’t wait to see what glazes are selected for these two and how they come through the firing process. So inspiring! Please post a follow up picture to end the suspense.

Thank you Dan, for sharing these photos of the work in progress. Congratulations on both large accomplishments. Wonderful contemporary works of art!

Best,
Michelle

4 09 2010
danbartonbonsaipots

Hi Michelle,

Many thanks for your kind comments and words of encouragement. Much appreciated. I will certainly post the images of the pots after they’ve been fired if they survive the ‘inferno’. They are scheduled for a hu-mungus olive tree.

5 09 2010
Frank Cucchiara

Yes I am very lucky that Dan took on this project for me. I am sure my olive tree
will be very happy when it gets into the pot.
Thanks again Dan and I will keep my fingers crossed when they are in the inferno !!!

8 09 2010
Volker Lux

Dear Dan, my name is Volker i am from germany. My brother-in-law is a fan of your pots. My question is, where can i buy your pots? I would be pleased about a short answer. Best regards from germany Volker

15 09 2010
Andy Pearson

Loving these humongous pots Dan, they are fantastic!!

15 09 2010
danbartonbonsaipots

Thanks Andy….. they were a pig to make. Now I have an even bigger headache figuring out how to glaze them…. Scary stuff!!!

27 10 2010
Andy Pearson

Dan

The pots came out fantastic WOW!!!! YOu will have one happy customer

Regards

Andy

1 04 2012
Bonsai Potter Showcase #3 Dan Barton Video | Yamadori and Bonsai material from Tony Tickle

[…] Potter Showcase #3 Dan Barton Video I encountered Dan Barton in 1991 at the Bonsai World Convention in Birmingham UK and he was the first ‘true’ […]

1 04 2012
Chase

Dan as you and all know I am not much of a computer person, would rather play with trees. Your containers are the best, never stop making them. 1991 world Convention was the best. Lets have another drink soon. Soli sends her best to the family.
Chase

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