Author Topic: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai  (Read 25073 times)

John Kirby

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #30 on: November 04, 2013, 01:40 AM »
What do professionals do? They style trees to sell. They make a tree look pretty, they sell it.

Put myself where the learning happens? I do. Patience? Sometimes it takes years to get things right, is it fun? Not always, but it is often a long and tedious road. But, get a teacher invest the time and effort and enjoy the ride. Plus, it doesn't come free.
 

Joshua Hanzman

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Re: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #31 on: November 04, 2013, 12:27 PM »
I see what your saying, just seems insidious that professional are using techniques that are unsound when, from what your saying, all they would need to do is have patience and graft. On a pipeline business model, collectors wouldn't even be waiting that long, they would really only have to wait that initial time, then they would have a steady pipeline of sound designs.

 I'm definitely enjoying the ride, bonsai has been a great journey for me, and I hope relatively I'm just taking it for a spin around the block, getting ready for a cross country trip. I'm just trying to say I'm not the type that likes to pay tolls AND wait in traffic ;)

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Joshua Hanzman

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Re: Re: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #32 on: November 04, 2013, 12:32 PM »
What do professionals do? They style trees to sell. They make a tree look pretty, they sell it.

Put myself where the learning happens? I do.

I realize you do, I meant that as a rhetorical response to you telling me to put myself where the learning happens, I guess I miscommunicated that, my bad.

Patience? Sometimes it takes years to get things right, is it fun? Not always, but it is often a long and tedious road. But, get a teacher invest the time and effort and enjoy the ride. Plus, it doesn't come free.

I'm not looking for free, I have paid for a few workshops, in fact, as many as I've had exposure to I've pretty much joined. Paying is not out of the question, but money isn't always the best bartering option, especially now :) the reason I'm looking for barter is because
1.) It increases my exposure to bonsai and gives me more time to spend immersed
2.) It just feels more real to me, like a legitimate apprentice
3.) I want to learn to care for a nursery as well so why not trade work for lessons
4.) I have skills (work stone, glass, metal, chemical engineering), and it's economically more sound to trade skills than to lay out cash.
5.) Seems a good way to learn about things I didn't know I should learn about
6.) It's what I've done with other teachers

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John Kirby

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #33 on: November 04, 2013, 02:29 PM »
By saying it isn't free, I am inferring $, time, effort, etc. Good luck.
 

Joshua Hanzman

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Re: Re: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #34 on: November 04, 2013, 07:24 PM »
By saying it isn't free, I am inferring $, time, effort, etc. Good luck.

Thanks John, I really feel like I'm ready to make a committment like one you speak of. I can say that confidently only because I sincerely love bonsai. I really can't think of anything I rather do than put Pandora on and style a tree, except maybe climbing a mountain and collecting. This might sound weird but what about apprenticing with a collector? That might be a cool angle to play in terms of a bonsai education. Do you think Randy Knight takes on an eager wanna be mountain climbers?
 

Anthony

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #35 on: November 06, 2013, 04:21 AM »
Joshua,

if you can, keep up your reading. Bonsai was never meant to be a singular practice. Check the Chinese,originally Scholars were the men who grew Tree Penjing. If you read on the Hawaiian Site [http://www.fukubonsai.com/Default.htm ], there is a historical note, showing the Japanese work only recently changing after the war to what you see today.
It is an important change to note.

If you spend your life attempting to do just Bonsai with no reading, the craft will become superficial.

I know you did some work on Architecture, and speaking to some folk, it was worked out that it takes 3 to 5 years for the Horticultural, and 5 to 10 for the Design aspect. The design part requiring some study, if possible with teachers.
Today, the practice seems to be, to slurr the Design aspect.
Hence the reason, Bonsai is literally becoming old tree with a new dress-up.

So you have the youth and the time to take in more than the average person who goes into Bonsai at say 40 to 50 years of age, and spends more time trying to buy or collect their way into Bonsai.
Good Day
Anthony
 

Sorce

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #36 on: November 06, 2013, 08:47 AM »
Forgive me,
 
   I can not accept that it takes 3-5 years horticulturally. And up to ten years to figure out design. 

This can be true for some. However, if you begin with the eagerness Josh has, all it takes is dedication. 

You must dedicate at least 5 minutes a day per tree, to learn its language, look for pests, etc.  After said dedication......

It takes only seconds to know when you CAN water, and one spring to adjust your soil-watering system accordingly.  HORTICULTURE. 1 YEAR or less.

Design wise.    Taper is the trees only trick, "slight of eye". Knowing this takes only a few seconds. Reading the "rules" takes an hour, knowing the Ill effects of breaking the rules takes a little study. Knowing when the ill effects of breaking rules become evident in your design takes a little longer. Throw in understanding what is likely the hardest, DISPLAY, and we are still sub 3 years IMO.

Do everything from grafting, collecting, carving, pruning, pot selecting, displaying, overwintering, etc. Everything, wrong once, inside these 3 years. Learn from your mistakes, and there you have it.   

3 years or less.


This is of course, a post dedication schedule.

With all respect for the Veterans here, I invite a friendly debate.

Sorce


 

augustine

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #37 on: November 06, 2013, 09:47 AM »
Joshua,

Maybe you could barter your time to do some heavy lifting during busy seasons at a bonsai nursery in exchange for being exposed to knowledgable people. Someone like Randy Knight - I doubt it. He's not gonna reveal his collecting grounds.

Personally I read everything I can get my hands on which includes the forums (and this one is the best) and web. I view the various videos on you tube (but not all are accurate). Some of the best are the "Bonsai Art of Japan" series produced by Owen and Bjorn, really mandatory viewing and pacjed full of knowledge from high level people working on world class material. I belong to a very good club and take workshops.

Another good thing about a club is availability to good and reasonably priced material.

While folks in this thread may be telling you different things the underlying common theme is that it takes time. Regardless of how you feel or which words you use, it takes time. Even if you have design talent, it takes time.

The design aspect is tough for me but I'm learning bit by bit. Exposure to club members and workshop teachers are indispensable. I wouldn't even know about some workshops if I didn't belong to my club.

Listen to Owen and John, they know of which they speak. It's a skill like guitar playing, ballroom dancing or karate, takes practice and time to get good.

Good luck and keep plugging away.
 

Jay

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #38 on: November 06, 2013, 10:17 AM »
I can't help it if I can't get the saying "don't re-invent the wheel" out of my head.
Yes times change and information changes but basically many many people have been down this road and it takes time.
Yes some less than others and some, like me, probably more than others. But.... You just can't reduce the time to a matter of a couple of years without cutting too many corners.
Just my two cents
Jay

Enjoy the journey
 

Anthony

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #39 on: November 06, 2013, 11:08 AM »
Sorce,

all I would ask, is may I have visual proof, showing the mastery of these statements you made, in the form of three to five images of your finished trees?
[not 3 to 5 images of one tree mind you ]

I am always looking for a more efficient way to do anything. Happy to learn.
Good Day
Anthony
 

augustine

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #40 on: November 06, 2013, 12:11 PM »
One more thing in reference to your question about working/helping at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.
 I don't know how it works there but at the National Bonsai/Penjing Collection at the Arboretum one must get on a list to be a volunteer (and there are alot of people on that list).

The Arboretum also takes on apprentices on a limited basis. I think one has to possess a good skill set to be considered  for an apprenticeship. Keep in mind that apprentices are not paid (or not paid much). I know a guy that served as an apprentice and said it was a wonderful experience.

Maybe you could ask the BBG if they take volunteers?
 

Sorce

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #41 on: November 07, 2013, 08:46 AM »
Anthony and other Knowledge expanders,  the reason for this discussion is to expand Bonsai to these young Artists. With shortening attention spans, and instant electronics, 10 years? Plus 5-10 for any given tree? I feel that 20 years of patience they will Think they need to muster, will only scare them off.  For all of our benefit. Let's make it more reasonable.

     The Mastery is only in the statements. I made sure they are all true, give or take a few minutes. None of them imply I am a Master, or my trees are finished. We are talking about the time it takes to learn, not the time it takes to impart that knowledge into our trees. The seasons and I agree, this takes much more time.

  Example....I recently watched a critique on YouTube of a Shohin display. I don't even remember what the trees looked like because the stand was backwards. Stepping up to the middle of the display. Whoever built it, was so "oh the years it took to make these trees", so excited to display them because it took soooo long. Then their day came, and no one noticed because they were displayed without expanded knowledge.

   If that person took my advice, they would have known it takes longer to learn proper display. They may have succeeded.

Let's expand our knowledge, in a compacted time frame, let's not wait till its too late.

So the efficiency is purely in the thought of efficiency, always mind over matter.

Sorce
 

Sorce

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #42 on: November 07, 2013, 09:10 AM »
Jay,

 Even the wheel has been reinvented. We fly. And records, the only other thing that absolutely requires a wheel, are ipods.

Maybe some of us can't afford private jets or ipods. But this reinvented "wheel" is free. A state of mind.

Or as the case may be, 2 cents!

Sorce.

 

Jay

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #43 on: November 07, 2013, 01:02 PM »
Sorce basic horticulture has not changed drastically..... Although Bonsai styles have evolved they are still similar to the past. YouTube and Wikipedia are NOT ALWAYS good places to find info. Just because it is on the net does not make it true.... Or untrue also. There are post on YouTube that may not be from the best of sources.....
Shortening the learning curve is possible with those few individuals who have the ability. But for the rest of us, regardless of attention spans, time is required... And lots of it.
Jay
 

Joshua Hanzman

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Re: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #44 on: November 07, 2013, 01:23 PM »
First, thank you all so much, there is some great advice for anyone looking to learn here. But allow me to make this thread digress. I am far from an impatient person, I don't mind ten to twenty years of learning, i look forward to it and i have read almost every single back issue of bonsai today and am now starting on bonsai focus. But, i am trying to treat this like an economics equation, where all other things are considered equal. Like Sorce said, it's strictly a matter of efficiency. Lets take for example, 2 bonsai  students, 1 learning the most efficient way possible, being a student at a nursery with a master. 2 is learning by going to workshops and learning when/where they can. It's not even a question of who will learn more efficiently, right? And how long is that apprentice ship normally it's not ten to twenty years, it's five to six right? Of course they continue to learn after they are done, but even kimura has been quoted saying he is still learning about watering. So what I'm asking is what is the most efficient way i can spend my learning time, by hierarchy, i feel like this list is a good general plan-
 1) learn w/ a master @ a nursery
2) learn from a master@ workshop
3) learn on forum\style at home
4) @ a demonstration
5) @from club members
6) from videos
7) from print

Now  I'm not saying that i would sacrifice a workshop to read online, I'm talking about all things considered, traveling, usability, ease of access etc, this is why the forum is higher than a demonstration. However, at the top of my list is learning from/with a master at a nursery, which is what I'm trying to see if anyone can hook me up with...



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