A thick letter from Japan

In May I received a thick letter from Japan. The content is Bonsai World
Edition 5/2017
In February during the Noelanders Trophy I was interviewed and photographed by Yukiko Kasai. she  for this article . She wanted to write a special article about European potters. Several European potters are presented and their special characteristics in production as well as the presentation are described. A Japanese woman read the text on the phone. My accents, four of them are now in Japan, the drain holes in the shape of a flower and my stand made of old wood were particularly noteworthy. And this is the article:

Roman Husmann – From banking to ceramics

Roman Husmann – From banking to ceramics

Banking apprenticeship, graft on a building site, technical diploma in mechanical engineering, industrial electrician, wind power plant engineering, shortly before starting to study industrial design,  manager of a ceramics workshop for special needs students… until there was hardly anything else left to learn.

At first glance, this seemingly chaotic vita appears to be at odds with Roman Husmann´s calm and quiet manner. A longish period of self-discovery enabled him to acquire a variety of skills and accomplishments. All qualities that today help him be laid-back and cope with new challenges and tasks.

About the ceramist

For over 30 years Husmann has made a living with ceramics.  He has acquired his knowledge of ceramics without formal training, learning by doing through books. He has fired raku dishes according to the Japanese technique and manufactured Salzbrand ceramics in a wood-fired kiln for many years.

“I´m always striving to find the perfect design day by day”.

Aesthetic and durability are the most important factors for Husmann in Bonsai ceramic. He manufactures dishes in any shape imaginable, formed by hand, thrown, put together, whether round, oval, square, shallow or tall. Each dish is unique, glazed with his own glazes and fired to be frost proof.

Husmann uses eight different clays, one sometimes mixed with another, to achieve an attractive appearance and at the same time frost resistance in dishes between 3 and 80 cm.

The sorrows of a young ceramist

As a schoolboy the young Roman was supposed to make a clay model of the Bremen Town Musicians in a competition. His artistic realisation won a prize.  However, the sculpture went on its travels and he was not allowed to keep it.  As an alternative, he received a board game that he already had.

Husmann´s currently favourite pots “Edition February 2017”


Exhibition of pots by Roman Husmann on 13th and 14th May 2017 at the Botanical Garden in Berlin during the Bonsai exhibition of the Bonsai Club Berlin.

Talking about favourite pots

“Nearly every day I create really special pots, but two years further on they somehow seem in need of improvement and should they still  be in my store, they get broken up and go in the dustbin… which doesn´t mean that my older pots aren´t so good, they are my rite of passage to the current favourites”.

About the tradition of Japanese ceramics

“ In Germany you get a certificate, hang it on the wall and you´ve got somewhere, arrived at your destination. In Japan, you are automatically a master craftsman when you have earned your own living from your job for 30 years. The Japanese potter stores his reserves of clay    outdoors, reworking it afresh each year for the coming generation”.

Intensive relationship with accent pots

Crafting accent pots is a creative challenge for Husmann, where he can “model clay with both his hands” and make a visual statement of his creativity.


By Courtesy of the Author Achim Strecker

Magazine of the Bonsai Club Germany (Bonsai-Club Deutschland e. V.)

Edition 153/2017  – I Quarter 2017

ISSN 0934-59922    P 1599        €10.-

It´s almost a year since…

I´ve had any time to write some lines here. Noelanders Trophy 2017 is on our doorstep and my kilns aren´t getting the chance to cool down. A little less stress would be good as I´m still not quite completely fit, some twinges at times, but it could be worse and I enjoy my work.

The whole problem began six months ago when I was riding my bike, according to  regulations, along a joint foot- and cycle path. A car driver was coming out of a driveway and  overlooked me. There was nothing for me to do but brake, which I did a little too sharply, so I flew over the handlebars and landed in front of the car.

Hearing crunching noises in my elbow, I went to the doctor, diagnosis: radius head fracture of the right elbow joint.(Six weeks and then I can return to work). In the MRI next day a bone splinter showed up, so off  I was sent to the Occupational Accident Clinic Boberg. An operation was planned, but a week hence, as there was a danger of infection through the grazes to my elbow. (Seven weeks and then I can get back to work). So I had the operation and got an awesome cast bandage:

The weather was lovely and I could easily get a short-sleeved shirt over my new arm. Now I was learning how to do buttons up with my left hand, cleaning my teeth wasn´t too bad, spreading butter on bread, hmmm, I still needed some practice. Using the mouse with my left hand was a tricky game of skill.

I couldn´t get to know my new kiln any better, I couldn´t try out pots larger than 50cm with my clay, but I could read, and in large amounts, as I normally only do on holiday. And orders???

At some stage physiotherapy started. My arm was freed from its bandage, which was slit open on one side. Nothing moved, stuck at 90°. My muscles had disappeared, I couldn´t even squeeze toothpaste from the tube with my right . Now it was time for the Bonsai in the North (Bonsai im Norden) exhibition in Munster. Super, this was when carpal tunnel syndrome had set in, causing me to wake up in the night every 20 minutes.

“This just can´t go on”, said my doctor in Boberg and sent me to a daily rehab as an outpatient. This turned out to be for four months (without being able to work).  At the start of January, I tried to knead clay, 4 kilos as I used to do, but with the difference that my left arm was still much stronger and my right elbow just sent messages to my brain to please cease this activity. So my rehab exercises were adapted to enable me to knead clay again and I got started. Pottery wheel: backache, no sufficient muscles. Putting pots together, always on my feet: backache and my feet!! Working with tools, everything dropped out of my hand! It was lucky I had managed a ceramics workshop for people with special needs for over twenty years and I could slowly but surely work on my weakness and at last I´m back on track again. At least 90 minutes of physio exercises each day and I´m ready for Noelanders Trophy 2017, I´ve got enough pots. Afterwards I´ll begin working on the piles of paperwork on my desk, quite unbelievable how much is waiting for me.

And I´d I like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who has helped me to get back the use of my right arm and right hand, and as far as the last little bit is concerned, we´ll get there too!

XVII. Noelanders Trophy 2016

I had weeks of hard work behind me as I began to pack the car, trying to take the right pots with me, although you hardly ever have the right ones with you, no matter how ever hard you try. Anyway, we left on Friday, early in the morning and we reached Genk without any problems in 5 hours. Putting the stand up was trouble-free and our hotel room was waiting for us only 900m away. We didn´t have to look very far for a restaurant in the evening as the hotel serves local Flemish cuisine, pork cheeks in beer sauce, followed by a Belgian beer to round off a strenuous day. Next morning we breakfasted well to be geared up for the most exciting part of the day: crowds of visitors flocking into the exhibition halls and to our own stand!

Putting faces to the names of Facebook friends and email contacts now standing physically in front of me and speaking different languages was a completely new perspective and fun. Between friendly stand neighbours, patient customers and selling a pot or two, the time flew by and there I was in the hotel again enjoying a meal of ox tongue in Madeira sauce, with hand cut Belgian chips and a cool beer, just right for keeping body and soul together.

My second day, again fortified with a delicious breakfast, went really quickly, just a short walk around the bonsais, many very friendly chats and it was already time to dismantle the stand, register for the next Noelanders Trophy and back on the motorway. We eventually got to bed at 2am and the new week can begin.

Now it´s Tuesday and we´re unpacked and back on track, looking forward to next year. Looking forward to pleasant contacts, smooth order of events and the Flemish cuisine.

Things (sometimes) seem to happen when you least expect them

A little while ago I had an internet shop ( with some additional pages) with 1&1 just as a trial to see whether the world was really interested in my accent pots and I even had a blog too. Everything got bigger, the internet shop was changed  to another provider because the photos were better, my own website was redesigned and the blog moved over to it. Everything was set up when I thought I would do away with the former shop as I didn´t need it and didn´t want to spend any more money on it. The period for giving notice was very lengthy and got forgotten, you can depend on these things  happening automatically these days.

Two weeks ago I needed a text, why think up a new one, I´ll just copy it from my website.  I called up the site and there it was: error in the database. That was a Friday evening. This error message was still showing instead of my website on Monday and somehow it dawned on me, this was around the time the contract for my old internet shop expired. After talking to the provider it turned out that not only the shop itself  had been deleted, but everything else too and there is no possibility  to retrieve anything because the last backup had also already been deleted. “And in any case, we  do not make a database backup”, came at the end of the conversation. There is still Strato, I thought, but what could happen if I change the provider again?

Now I can start afresh to feed this blog. I still have some old photos, but of course I didn´t save the corresponding texts.