Author Topic: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai  (Read 23993 times)

Sorce

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #45 on: November 07, 2013, 01:38 PM »
So then, the cycle, as it continues, evident in the replies.

If we remain in false belief, we will not grow.

If I can only clean the glass of the "Big Picture" window of the world.

Argh.

I thought Bonsai was more Spiritual than this.

Post Josh Post...

If you believe it will take long it will. Believe shorter, achieve more, learn FOREVER!

DIGRESSED

 

Jay

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #46 on: November 07, 2013, 02:05 PM »
OK Sorce......

You lost me.......

?
 

Anthony

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #47 on: November 07, 2013, 03:59 PM »
Sorce.

patience is for things one does not like to do. If that is what is needed [ patience ] for Bonsai, one is in the wrong hobby.

Remember, how long I have been at this, and my teacher started at 18 or so. I had no problems with the Horticultural aspect and though I am not an Artist, in any way, I had no problems picking up books, reading or just learning to see.

Any young person who wants to do Bonsai, can do the same. If you are trying to cater to folk into Bonsai you are wasting your time.

Now where are those examples of your practice and [ spiritual ] philosophy?
I have left examples of our work for your viewing pleasure.
Good Day
Anthony [ sent with smiles and goodly humour ]

One for you Sorce.

This ficus type was raised from a 3 leaf cutting done in Florence, Italy, back in 1983 or so and is not a Bonsai.

The second image - he is 16, and the tree is 30, which do you think took more patience to raise - chuckle.

 

Joshua Hanzman

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Re:
« Reply #48 on: November 07, 2013, 06:08 PM »
Anthony those are absolutely beautiful, and i do think your right as i think Sorce is also right. Tbh I'm not sure if you two disagree... i do not think patience is the question here, the question is being as efficient as possible. In other words, lets say we had the most patient zen person in the world who purchased a stick sized trunk of a tree and did bonsai by cutting one leaf every growing season, how long will it take their tree to develop? However, if they bought their stick sized trunk of a tree, placed it in the ground for five years, learned from a master for that time, and came back and worked as much as they could (taking into mind the health of the tree), they are being patient yet efficient. There is no reason to sacrifice efficiency for patience. That being said i do think it will take quite a few seasons to see how the horticulture works as each micro climate is different and you can really only learn so much per season per tree. I also think in ways you are correct and incorrect Anthony, in saying that if you need patience to be in bonsai your in the wrong hobby. Patience, like many virtues, can be learned, with love, all obstacles can be conquered. Everything bows before love. Love of bonsai can teach one patience.

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Anthony

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #49 on: November 07, 2013, 07:19 PM »
Joshua,

this is how we teach bonsai down here. We give you a small Ficus b. to take home and look after for 6 months. If after that time you still have an interest, we encourage you to buy 3 to 5 of the same type plants. So you don't love 1 plant to death.
This hopefully will discourage the situation of collecting, where 9 out of 10 times everything ends up dead, because of ignorance.

If the personality is heavily into showing off, we encourage you to buy up to 3 "finished" bonsai.

Generally, we try to get the learner up to 300 plants, and hopefully so many will survive the Horticultural adventures. The repotting, the wiring, the attempts at white wood [ on wood either not mature enough - 30 to 50 years of heartwood or never durable enough as a mature wood - and you fail at the various attempts to soak the wood in preservative - and so on ]
excessive pruning and over fertilisation.

When the mind settles, and enough experience allows for Horticultural success. We can focus on Designs.

There is no way to be efficient or other, as each person is an individual, and has to be handled as such.

As you may have read, we are about to test growing out of a colander [ the core of the tree ] into another colander filled with 100 % enriched compost.
This can be done after Jan.2nd when out Dry season takes over, if next year has a proper dry season, as in no rain. Nature does as Nature wishes.

With the hopefully dry weather low humidity, and the developed core, the compost should dry enough for roots to want to grow through it.
If we are correct, the test trees will have the most nutrious situation possible, that they have evolved for.
We shall see.

With young folk say 16 to 25, most have active education phases, accidental babies, party or as we say fete interests and really are not interested in something as disciplined as watering trees, etc.
So we expect more of folk who are in their late 30's to early 50's, either finished with the children, or wives or other, and then we have to deal with the - time - factor, and can they just buy into Bonsai, which for this small island is not always possible.
Importing from Miami, is an option.

Folk with a - time - problem can truly be problematic, as most are not content to just grow trees and enjoy the trees. Many don't make it.

We don't sell, simply because it can be very emotional to watch how casually some folk kill trees.

So I would still say, if you have little patience, please don't try Bonsai , take up drawing or painting bonsai, you can stop start that and nothing dies, or do wire trees.
Good Day
Anthony

One for you Joshua

Found as a seedling with three, by the maid [Uncle K's maid ], and left in her care to water for 3 years as Uncle K studied Fine Art in Florence, Italy, I was in school in England at that time as well.
About 28" tall and with a 5" trunk. Has orchid type flowers, yellow and a single pod for fruit, usually three pods are allowed. Being retrained for a bonsai pot.
Tamarind around 1981/2 or so.[ I am not home presently and only Uncle K knows the exact date.]

 

Joshua Hanzman

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Re: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #50 on: November 07, 2013, 07:53 PM »
Your idea of the growing in collanders sounds like something similar to rootmaker, which is used in a few nurseries I know. Coincidentally, I buy some raw stock from a friend's nursery that uses strictly rootmaker on his trees, as it tends to make good material for bonsai. One of the benefits rootmaker has over a collander is that it has sharp edges in between the mesh, so any large roots over a fibrous diameter are destroyed. Another benefit is that the rootmaker can be used over and over again as it does not rust or break down.

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Joshua Hanzman

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Re: Re: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #51 on: November 07, 2013, 07:58 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?

Thanx Augustine, this is good advise, I will reach out to them and see if I can work there! I don't mind not making money, and I've been going to the bbg quite literally since I was born, I grew up outside those koi ponds :)

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Sorce

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #52 on: November 08, 2013, 01:28 PM »
Nothing gets expressed well in text. I guess that's what these are for  :-*
I understand where Anthony is coming from now.

I have been accused of wanting a "perfect world". 

I am trying to cater.  I want our children to have more than video games!


Anthony, why do you call that tree "not a Bonsai'?

And a fine lad you have there!
 

William N. Valavanis

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #53 on: December 21, 2013, 09:39 AM »
In March 2014 I'm beginning a new educational bonsai opportunity in Rochester, New York, the Classical Bonsai MasterClass.

Details can be found in my blog:

www.valavanisbonsaiblog.com


Everyone is invited to join


 

Anthony

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #54 on: December 22, 2013, 05:33 AM »
Mr.Valavanis,

good idea, you could also do as the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts does, join your education system to the University of Pennsylvania, so folk could use their Bonsai knowledge towards a degree/masters or other.
Would move Bonsai out of the realm of hobby and into a true profession.
Good Day
Anthony
 

Owen Reich

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #55 on: December 22, 2013, 06:20 AM »
I feel bonsai is a true profession.  The problem is the people who teach bonsai for a living who have no valid experience to base their professional status on.  This doesn't mean you have to apprentice in Japan for 6 years.  My opinion on this matter has swayed progressively more towards those who have this year spent a number of years in Japan, but it is not the only way to become a bonsai professional.  At the exhibition I ran in Nashville, I had people submit whether or not they were in the Professional category or not.  It was interesting who said "yes".   At one point I felt that this matter was subjective.  But is it?  I know a number of bonsai professionals who have never been to Japan who are quite talented and add a great deal to the American scene.  Yes, this will bring some reactionary comments but I am not afraid. 

If I build a massive bonsai nursery and stock if full of plants and start teaching, does that make me a good bonsai professional?  What if I spent two months in Japan and got a piece of paper that said I completed an apprenticeship?  All the keywords are there.  The literal interpretation of a professional as someone who gets paid for a good or service is far too grey for me.  With something like bonsai that is a mixture of art and horticulture some of the grey areas are vast.  However, having a clearly defined role in the field of bonsai would certainly help matters.  There are a number of people well suited to teach beginner classes or lend a great deal of help to local organizations.  There is not a good emoticon for frustration.  I find this topic to be very volatile and coming from the other side of the fence from most of you I am interested in finding a way to answer this question.  Someone hangs a shingle and charges the same amount I do or more and many people do not understand the value proposition.   Getting back to the topic, there is a lot of talk about improving American bonsai and creating our own style but I think both are happening as people find out who to actually listen to (and by no mean do I mean just me). 

 Anthony, your suggestion is one of many good avenues for this type of progress.  You can major in Bonsai in South Korea actually.  Consumers generally use the system of telling one another who did good work and so on, but in a bubble like a remote region or perhaps one that was well indoctrinated for a decade or so often has no idea if someone is a good teacher, knowledgeable, and understands the application of techniques.  I met a new client in Florida this year through a friend who thought there was only one bonsai professional in America..... 
 

Sorce

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #56 on: December 22, 2013, 10:33 AM »
There are professional Doctors. Who have killed, and will kill again.

Certified technicians at Pep Boys, but I trust the guy down the alley.

Pro lawyers can be good or bad, ethical or not.

Every contractor is reliable. Lol. You gotta pay to ask Angie!

There are folks who can afford the Pro series tools, call themselves professional just for that reason.


My definition of professional.  Someone you can receive goods or services from with no buyers remorse.

In my "perfect world", with enough capitol for a dream. I collect, stock a small nursery with quality material, and sell trees at fair prices.
I resort to a calender to tell you "when" to do work, and can assist in showing you how, but refer you to an Owen for those services.

Please answer. Am I a professional?  I believe so because, (another important aspect) I know my limitations.

Chronologically.    Pro collectors - Pro Nurseries - Pro Artists - Pro Collections.   With some variance of course.

They all have necessary X-over skills. The gray area is when one does not know the limitations of those skills.

Owen a.k.a. King Kusamono  ;)  even with no apprenticeship, your character says professional. Any good consumer can see that.

Everyone.....please define your area of expertise and why.


 

Judy

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #57 on: December 22, 2013, 12:40 PM »
Owen, it must be not only frustrating for you but also distressful for your future prospects with no real guidelines or overseeing body to guide the profession. 
I also know that it's frustrating for those of us who look for competent teachers to move us up from our current level to a higher practice. 

Think of any profession for the most part, they are regulated in some form.  A union or regulating body.  There is nothing here to certify anyone, but maybe it's time to think about something like this. 
Most professions have ladders to move up before attaining this certification, or full membership.  Apprenticeship, internship, training programs.... what have you.  If there were a governing body, this would be a much easier conversation to have. 
 

Owen Reich

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #58 on: December 22, 2013, 06:01 PM »
I'm actually developing a website right now called BonsaiConnect to act as the foundation of a "Better Business Bureau", hub for gathering information about different bonsai professionals, and feedback loop for the bonsai community.  People can evaluate their experiences with vendors and professionals and share this with others easily.  A professional organization was pushed for I believe in the 70's or 80's but didn't take off.  Japan has a good model in some respects, but the sheer amount of landmass North America takes up is a big hinderance.  Thus, the Internet seems a good starting point. 

I am a firm believer in specialization for bonsai professionals.  I'm working towards that but will need a few years to do so.  The progression about is already happening but I feel there is too much x-over for many people including me.  This is a necessary evil at this time as the format of most workshops and diversity of a given collection requires a generalist.

Sorce, to answer your question, it would be best IMO to have vendor and bonsai professional separated.  Someone could be both.  Perhaps Professional Bonsai Instructor is a better term.

Many bonsai professionals are contacted by people interested in a more devoted path towards improving their skills in America and this is a good sign.  Having a place for them to go and do so is a challenge.  There are programs out there that have proven effective.  In my case, I can't see having someone work with me full time and travel constantly too.  Those bonsai professionals "well rooted" at home are better suited for this. 
 

pwk5017

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #59 on: December 22, 2013, 07:26 PM »
Owen, that was going to be the point I made, but I chose not to respond at first. I suppose I am now. I think structured specialization is something that would greatly improve the system as a whole. If I were a professional in the Bonsai industry, the only way I could survive would be to sell seedlings, sell stock, sell finished bonsai, sell pots, sell tools, sell wire, host workshops, have an intensive program, and possibly travel doing demos. Some people have done well, and have specialized to a certain extent, but I can only think of a handful of people in the entire country that are at that level. For the rest of the professional community, being everything and anything is what puts food on the table. Part of the issue is the demand for the art(however, I think this is ever increasing), and part of the issue is a lack of a cooperative system. If you are a practicing bonsai professional who chooses to specialize in styling and refinement, where do you get your material from? It seems like Ryan Neil has a bit of this system working in his favor. He has his specialty, and Randy Knight has his specialty. The synergy allows for a successful operation to grow. Part of your problem with some of the current professionals is what I outlined in the beginning. How can they do everything I listed, and do it at a high level? That would be a very talented and gifted individual to be able to handle the entire process at the "master" level. Chances are, they are great at one area of the art, and mediocre at all the rest, but the support system--or lack thereof--forces them to do things they would prefer not to do. Your proposition sounds like a step in the right direction. A collaborative network of professionals in this country would benefit each other as long as they were able to form their own specializations, or exist in their own territories. The logistics involved with our country vs Japan makes for a difficult comparison, but I think there are some key takeaways to glean from their successful professional structure. Collaboration and specialization are among the top.