Mike Viljak (Chaparral Ceramics)

Biographical Information: Mike Viljak caught on to the pattern of safe cookie-cutter designs shortly after starting with bonsai about 15 years ago. Seeking to deviate from that he enrolled in a local ceramics class. Mike has since started his own small studio in his home in Orange County, CA.

When making bonsai pots, Mike enjoys the challenge of balancing a design that plays a supporting role and compliments the tree, while giving it unique personality.

It’s a narrow line to walk; like trying to be simultaneously interesting, yet quiet. Mike believes there’s a tree out there for every pot and that hopefully the 2 find each other. He aims to design pots with movement while having an earthly stability, minimal but with an aberration or two. For practicality, the drain holes are designed to make plastic mesh unnecessary.

Mike’s production is low and occasional, as he has a full time job and lots to do around the house, yard and of course, attending to the trees. Mike is a native plant enthusiast and a permaculture practitioner always trying to find sustainable ways to do stuff.  Mike holds trees in very high regard.

Occasionally Mike will vend at local conventions when he can build up enough inventory and he was lucky enough to have the opportunity to vend at the Artisan’s Cup in Portland, OR in 2015; a humbled junior potter alongside masters such as Ron Lang and Sara Rayner.

Location: Orange County, CA

Website: N/A

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Mike Viljak (Chaparral Ceramics)

Examples of Work 

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