Bonsai Study Group Forum

General Category => General Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: Jason E on July 03, 2014, 08:13 PM

Title: Hiring a bonsai professional
Post by: Jason E on July 03, 2014, 08:13 PM
Hi All,

Thought I'd see what others thoughts are on hiring professionals to work w/ our trees outside of a group environment, and what type of format professionals might prefer.

What would or wouldn't you hire a professional for?

Do you like to work along side the professional and assist, o.k'ing major design decisions ?

Do you give them free reign in design and only observe while they work?


Would you have these options outside of the States?

Happy 4th Everyone!

Title: Re: Hiring a bonsai professional
Post by: Sorce on July 03, 2014, 08:40 PM
I'm interested to know...

Title: Re: Hiring a bonsai professional
Post by: Lordy on July 03, 2014, 09:03 PM
There are people in my club, past and present, who do hire a pro for maintenance work.  Pruning, wiring, weeding, repotting.  Most recently a friend hired an apprentice (American, home on vacation from Japan working for a master) for a day and gave him free reign.  
The owners that I know of are not only well to do, but well/highly respected members of the local bonsai community.  They like having their collections (still, after decades) but choose not to, or no longer can, take care of their whole collections.  
Title: Re: Hiring a bonsai professional
Post by: Anthony on July 03, 2014, 09:05 PM

as I might have mentioned before, the guys on this side [ West Indies / Caribbean ] are very cheap, practically all mixed with some Southern Chinese grandparent. So our heads have been drilled with - how to not waste money.

Secondly, unless we are using tried and tested trees, elms, celtis, serissa and so on, it's an open field. We are having to test using techniques read from books, Chinese or Japanese or other, and word of mouth from China / Japan.

So even if we brought in a professional, it would have to be on a 5 to 10 year period, to allow the professional to acclimate.

We already have enough folk who can wire and clip/grow.

It would be great if some government programme would sponsor a professional, but dwarfing trees is just a hobby.

I end with an oddity - Sageretia t. is able to handle zone 7 easily outdoors. Reading Dorothy S. Young's book she speaks of seeing hedges outdoors in China.
Therefore using a garage or other structure, would probably extend this limitation to zone 6.
So [1] how come this plant isn't more popular in the Northern areas ? and [2] It also grows so well down here [ lowest temperature recorded 60 deg. F ]?

Is it the shortening of daylight that controls the dormant period ?

I would say contact Owen Reich.
Good Day

Title: Re: Hiring a bonsai professional
Post by: JRob on July 03, 2014, 09:09 PM
I have been working with a professional for 4 years now 3 weekends a year with a group that has ranged at any point from 6 -10 members. We fly him in and pay his expenses and fees. I have learned so much and would highly recommend it to anyone who can afford to do it. My teacher and I discuss a tree at length, front, projected size, design style, pot consideration, how to display it - the whole deal. He studied in Japan several years and goes back frequently. I pay him for his advice and help but I do the work under his guidance. I pay him to learn not to take care of my trees. Since he is much more knowledgable than i am I have followed the advice as given. I have noticed that now I concur with almost every suggestion offered.

I've asked him to be brutal and direct with me and my techniques so I can learn. I've told him if something is not up to par let me know and I'll redo it. The first pine I wired was done three times till I figured out how to not cross wire, use correct size etc. Though expensive with all the scrap i count it as one of my best sessions. I learned so much and it was worth every dollar. I've ask his advice on every tree I now purchase or owned once we began our journey together. I have gradually thinned my purchases to improve the quality of the collection I currently own. One reason I enjoy him so much is he has never turned his nose up at any tree I have placed before him. He always looks at the material and recommends ways to improve it. If I ask him is it worth keeping he'll give me an honest answer and if he says it is not I've gotten rid of the tree over time. and replaced it with something more worthy of my time and effort. Hope that helps. JRob
Title: Re: Hiring a bonsai professional
Post by: Jason E on July 03, 2014, 09:42 PM
thanks for the replies so far everyone. To be more clear, I have done intensives w/ Ryan and am in a study group w/ boon that meets 3 weekends a year. And would encourage others to find a teacher to work with, as I have found it invaluable.
I was thinking outside the study group, intensive program setting. Hiring an professional on an individual basis to do an initial styling of a tree, rework material, prepare for a show, etc.
Title: Re: Hiring a bonsai professional
Post by: Adair M on July 03, 2014, 09:46 PM
Since I've been taking the Intensives with Boon, I've been exposed to very high quality bonsai.

Walking around Boon's garden, Boon would point out this or that tree and say "Kondo wired that one", or something similar about other trees. Or that he's waiting for xyz to come from Japan to style a certain tree.

So, I would say that if you have worthy material, it would be the best way to get the most out of the material.

For myself, several pitch in together to pay for Boon to come East. Then we each get a day with Boon to work with our trees. Most definitely worth it.

Title: Re: Hiring a bonsai professional
Post by: bwaynef on July 03, 2014, 10:07 PM
I'd love to hear a couple of the Pros we have on this board tell us, if they had their druthers, what that scenario would look like!
Title: Re: Hiring a bonsai professional
Post by: Judy on July 04, 2014, 08:13 AM
It's certainly worth it in my view.  I only wish that there were more opportunity in my area to do this, as it can be costly for one person to bring a teacher in for just one session.  I do think that continuity is important, as the teacher who helps you start out with particular direction for the tree continues it forward. 
Title: Re: Hiring a bonsai professional
Post by: John Kirby on July 04, 2014, 09:48 AM
We have brought in professionals to our home on a regular basis for the past 9 years. Had Marco in a couple of times, Mike Hagedorn in a couple of times and now have Boon, who I started studying with 9 years ago, and his senior Akio in the spring and summer.

The better the material and the healthier your trees are, the more you will get from your interactions with the established pros. I have Boon in during our April repotting season. Together, we can do 3-4 times as many trees as I can do myself, and we can work our way down through the really complicated or really large collected trees. We may also graft trees as appropriate and occasionally wire a couple of trees. This is  what we do for a week. Pretty intense.

Marco would come in a style trees, we brought him in after repotting season. He is a great tree finisher and gave them a really beautiful look. He also is very good at working through trees early in development and pruning and wiring the core of the tree. I learned a lot working with him . You have already heard about working with Michael H., he is a classy guy with boundless energy and talent really fun to work with, recommend that if you get a chance to work with him. Or see him work that you take advantage of the opportunity you won't be disappointed.

Through Boon I have had the opportunity to interact with a number of professionals, Akio Kondo (see the vol 7 , 2014 Kinbon where he styles Frank Cucciara's Shimpaku and a challenging White Pine) and Daisaku Nomoto, Boon's Seniors from Kihachi-en, Matt Reel who just returned from Obuse where he worked with Shinji Suzuki (Michael Hagedorn's Teacher as well), Tyler Sherrod who is in Obuse now and Peter Tea with whom I did many of Boon's Intensives with. Just interacting with people line this and seeing how they apply their craft is an enlightening experience.

I wire a lot of trees, style a lot of trees, I really enjoy watching and working with a high end pro, some one who has spent months or years of their lives wiring and styling trees. You can learn a tremendous amount by doing so.
Title: Re: Hiring a bonsai professional
Post by: Jason E on July 05, 2014, 10:07 PM
Thanks John, and all for the replies.
I have booked this fall for the first time some private study to work on a particular tree. Very exited.
Good to hear others experiences.