Bonsai Study Group Forum

General Category => General Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: MatsuBonsai on December 19, 2012, 11:59 AM

Title: Your club experience
Post by: MatsuBonsai on December 19, 2012, 11:59 AM
While reading the results of Tony Tickles' latest poll (http://yamadoriforsale.com/2012/11/19/why-most-bonsai-clubs-struggling-for-members/), I wondered what the experience of others here has been.
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: Chrisl on December 19, 2012, 12:23 PM
I went with choice one Matsu.  Our meetings are dominated by older folks who are stingy and set in their ways.  Try to make even a modest change is met with opposition.  Not worth it in the end.
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: Jay on December 19, 2012, 03:04 PM
I voted for I'm a member. Thought it would have been nice to have another choice.... I belong, My club is good but could use improvement.
At present I belong to Green Mountain Bonsai Society (disclamer....I am co-chairperson). It is the only active club in Vermont. We have a mix a both old and young members. Our meetings are good, not great but they sure are helpful. Plus it is fun to get together with others with like interests.
In the past I was a member of Great Swamp Bonsai in NJ, enjoy my time there and learned alot from the group.

Jay
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: JRob on December 19, 2012, 06:10 PM
Please see my post right before this one.

JRob
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: Anthony on December 20, 2012, 08:14 AM
I guess what should be asked, is after you see how to wire, transplant, prune and explore some design of trees in nature / imagination, what more do you expect from the club?

If it were Art, the next stage would some sort of Art School or Master painter, and if the desire were strong enough so many years of study, before you had the confidence to go it alone.

You guys are lucky, you have Mr.Boon.

So perhaps it is not a case of tea / beer / biscuits and potato chips, but maybe the expectations from a club just went the wrong way.
If you are planning to get to be any good in Bonsai, an excellent teacher for so many years is very necessary.
Good Morning.
Anthony
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: augustine on December 20, 2012, 09:48 AM
John,

I'm a relative newbie to bonsai and have just joined a club several months ago. The club has its share of older people which is a phenonoma I think is understandable in our electronic, instant gratification society.

Any club is a cross section of all kinds of people, close minded, self centered, positive, negative, helpers, users, kind, unkind etc. A chain is only as strong as it's weakest link is a cliche that comes to mind.

However, one must participate in the club in an effective manner. I've been lucky enough to "fall in" with several members that are experienced, energetic and committed to pursuing the art. They also have great trees.

These folks have been kind, answered my questions and requests for design assistance and basically taken me in. These guys are also enthusiastic collectors and have included me. I also help in ways that I can, setting up, cleaning up and helping with any "heavy lifting."

I've met stingy people also and I say the heck with them. If I need to step out on my own to attend other events, no problem. I also reach out to experienced people outside the club.

In conclusion, I believe it's possible to get an education in the art if you look around, help when you can, spend money with various vendors and work at it. I also understand the disapointment of those that have run clubs for years with frustrating results.

Bottom line is that your education is your own responsibility. Step out of your paradigm if it doesn't work.

Thanks,

Augustine
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: Don Dunn on December 21, 2012, 03:25 AM
 I am pretty new to Bonsai a beginner at best, I have been to two meetings so far. I joined at the first meeting ,maybe that was a mistake, the jury is still out on that. There are some good people there but mostly I would never know because the only ones I have talked to are the ones I approached. It makes you feel pretty out of place when you are not recognized. I know I have to be more assertive but I as a new be  am just trying to fit in and get some guidance on my new found hobby. Their web site is really lacking, few pictures and no information on any up coming meetings or other events. It would be nice to be able to log on and see what if anything will be going on at the next meeting. And that brings up the worst part so far and that is there is no structure to the meetings at all that I have seen. Tonights meeting was just every one setting around working on their own trees. No start to the meeting no speaker of any find so I just wondered around a bit trying to get to know some of the folks there. I tried watching some of them work but did not know what they were actually doing to the tree, remember I'm a beginner. I finally over heard something about a library. So, I was taken out side to a cabinet and allowed to look at the books.  It was mostly Bonsai Today magazines so I grabbed a couple of them and a beginners guide to Bonsai. Grabbed my little pathetic tree and went home.  I have not given up on them yet and I'll go to the next meeting to see if any thing is different or better. If not then I will just go there to check out the magazines. The Bonsai Today magazines are great. If the club would put a small percentage of that kind of effort into the club, that is put into that magazine it would be a great experience. No sour grapes and no new knowledge about Bonsai. I enjoyed the other replies.
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: Anthony on December 21, 2012, 07:24 AM
iamdunn4,

often new to bonsai, burn very brightly for a short time [ say 6 months to a year ] and then just give up on the hobby. Perhaps the older heads are just using the above experience to protect themselves and waiting to see if you last?

If you need to read try - Deborah Koreshoff and Amy Liang - authors of helpful books, library or Amazon.
You may find the Bonsai Today 1 to 35 or so very useful, but after that the Japanese articles may become repetitive.

Allow for 3 to 5 years to master the Horticultural aspect, unless you have experience growing healthy houseplants or other. The learning curve will be shorter if you have experience.
Also see if you can locate, The Classic Bonsai of Japan - Kodansha and Penjing - Hu Yunhua - this will give you a choice.
Hang in there.
Good Morning.
Anthony
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: John Kirby on December 21, 2012, 07:53 AM
Hey Done4,

You live in the land of American Bonsai, no disrespect to Portland. John Thompson is in San Jose, Johnny Uchida is in Hayward, Boon is in Hayward.  And many, many, others. Try the  BIB club show in Oakland next month, I will be there, Yenling will be there, we can introduce you to folks. You need to find a club that does what you want. I am in two clubs, BIB which is all about bonsai and the development of trees for exhibition and the Hartford Connecticut club where there are many interesting presentations, but the dominant activity seems to be raffles and auctions. Different strategies that produce different results but meet the needs of the members.
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: Don Dunn on December 21, 2012, 02:53 PM
Hello Anthony
Thank you for the information. I do have a lot of plant experience as gardening has been my hobby and joy for most of my adult life. I  was into Orchids for several years and still have a couple of dozen.  I had about 500 hundred at one point but since I lost my green house I am limited to what I can grow out side.
 I guess one of the reasons I am disappointed with the Bonsai Club is that I served as the vise President for the orchid club for one year and saw how a well organized club can draw and keep it's new members.
I'll  check into those books and I  will look next time for books 1-35 of Bonsai Today. I wish I owned them so I could go back and reference them at any time I like. I looked on line and you pay at least cover price plus about $10.00 shipping. For a retiring old fart that is a little more than I am willing to pay. Maybe I will scan some of the articles into my computer.
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: Don Dunn on December 21, 2012, 03:13 PM
John
I figured there  must be a lot of Bonsai people in the Bay Area with such a history of Asian influence. I am a little surprised that there are so few if any places that sell pots or other Bonsai material. We used to have a Bonsai Nursery not far from my house but several years ago it went out of business and now is a Trader Joes. We have Yamagamis Nursery but they just don't have much. That show in Oakland sounds interesting, I'll try to look it up for times and location. I will check out these other Clubs web sites and see what they are like. Driving as you know in the evening is getting to be such a head ache so location comes into play. You guys have been very helpful I appreciate that a lot.
Oh yeah, my name is Don and my last name is Dunn so I used my standby unanimous site name. That does not work to good for this site. Maybe I can go back and change it to just Don.
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: Dan W. on December 21, 2012, 03:23 PM
I'm glad to say that my club experience has been much better than some others. Though, our club is very new and many of these problems seem to be related to clubs who have existed for a long time, possibly without many of the opportunities we have available these days.

Our members have traveled from WY out to Brussels for their big get together, to Denver for the ABS/BCI show, and sometimes to the RMBS for events where experienced members or outside teachers are brought in.

Our members are also excited about me bringing in some teachers from around the country!

We do plenty of the tea and biscuits, but I don't see anything wrong with that. :)
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: Adair M on December 21, 2012, 03:56 PM
Don Dunn,

I live in Georgia, and go to Hayward CA to attend Boon's intensives.  Don't tell me that a little traffic is going to prevent you from learning from one of the best teachers of bonsai!

I have just re-joined the Atlanta Bonsai Society.  Previously, I was a member back in the 1980's.  Vice-President in 1984.  They do bring in the big names for workshops, etc.  I'm joining up so I can attend them.
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: nathanbs on December 21, 2012, 05:13 PM
Hello Anthony
Thank you for the information. I do have a lot of plant experience as gardening has been my hobby and joy for most of my adult life. I  was into Orchids for several years and still have a couple of dozen.  I had about 500 hundred at one point but since I lost my green house I am limited to what I can grow out side.
 I guess one of the reasons I am disappointed with the Bonsai Club is that I served as the vise President for the orchid club for one year and saw how a well organized club can draw and keep it's new members.
I'll  check into those books and I  will look next time for books 1-35 of Bonsai Today. I wish I owned them so I could go back and reference them at any time I like. I looked on line and you pay at least cover price plus about $10.00 shipping. For a retiring old fart that is a little more than I am willing to pay. Maybe I will scan some of the articles into my computer.

Wait patiently on ebay for other opportunities to buy the issues of Bonsai today. They are all worth getting not just 1-35. Stone lantern has some back issues at 75% off currently. Any relation to Nipa Dunn or Arin Dunn in Eagle Rock, CA?
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: Don Dunn on December 21, 2012, 07:44 PM
Adair
 I get your point and am interested in Boon's programs. I am just retiring and am not to sure of my budget yet,  the other thing is I am very big on my family and they come first in my life. The amount of time I spend away is important to me, am I whopped ,Maybe. Am I very married and in love for 37 years most definitely. I am trying to be practical about what I am doing, two trips a month say 15 miles verses 45 miles is a lot of time I could be spending reading about or working on my Bonsai. more money for tools and plants. Our gas prices here are about the highest in the nation and I am not a computer multimillionaire like so many others here , just a blue collar worker. If I can justify my actions I would go where the best help would be. I do want to learn as fast and from as knowledgeable people as I can. I have a lot to do just to keep op with my garden at home, Koi pond,cactus, Orchids and Bromeliads. I also want to give this club more of a chance I don't know who these people are yet maybe there are some Boons or Ryan Niels here. If I'm not getting the help I need then I will go some where else. I do plan on getting to as many events as I can and what I can afford. Thank you Adair for your help and  encouragement. I am impressed with all the help I get from this site.   
 
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: Don Dunn on December 21, 2012, 08:01 PM
nathanbs
Thank you very much for the tip. I went over there and purchased 15 issues for $50.00  including shipping.
I wonder why some issues are so much more expensive than others. I guess they are more popular issues so the old supply and demand comes into play.
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: nathanbs on December 21, 2012, 10:02 PM
Some people are just overpriced but typically the oldest issues are more money due to supply vs demand. No relation to the Dunns I mentioned?
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: bigDave on December 21, 2012, 10:04 PM
Dunn4,
Dont forget the big club....
http://www.gsbf-bonsai.org/ (http://www.gsbf-bonsai.org/)

and this is freeeeeeeeeeeeee

 February 23 & 24, 2013: Oakland, California
Mammoth Fundraiser 2013: at Lakeside Garden Center, 666 Bellevue Ave, Lake Merritt. This is the annual fundraiser for the GSBF Collection Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt (BGLM). Auction of fabulous bonsai on Saturday. Preview items at 12 Noon; auction starts at 1 PM. RSVP Club Connection Event at BGLM 4 – 7 PM. Scheduled Sunday events: Vendor sales 9 AM – 4 PM. Bonsai and Pre-bonsai sales 10 AM – 4 PM. Demonstrations by Kathy Shaner and team 11:30 AM – 3 PM. Raffle drawings at 1 PM, 2 PM and 3 PM. BGLM Café open Saturday and Sunday. Contact Randi Keppeler 925-776-2342 or bonsailakemerritt@gmail.com.
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: Owen Reich on December 21, 2012, 11:14 PM
I have recently taken on the task of rebuilding the Nashville Bonsai Society as the president.  NBS used to be a lot more active in regards to traveling to other clubs' events in numbers and has slowly devolved into more of a study group with a nice Regional Show.  This will change.  About 4-5 of us always travel to other shows.  Hopefully this number will increase.  NBS has issues involving meeting times and a lapse in leadership which are being resolved now.  Any members of this forum involved in clubs reasonably close to Nashville with upcoming shows please PM me. 

 People get what they want out of volunteer organizations.  Some of us bitten by the bonsai bug feel inclined to keep this artform going and even spreading.  These groups are great for socializing with others with a common interest and may not need to serve a higher purpose.   Bonsai clubs are in a way ambassadors for bonsai to the public. Some (like me) can also have economic reasons along with philosophical ones for nurturing a local bonsai scene.
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: Don Dunn on December 21, 2012, 11:50 PM
Nathan
 Sorry I forgot that and you are correct I am no relation that I know of anyway. I do genealogy also and found you never know way back some where you may have had the same GGGGGGGG Grandparent.
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: Don Dunn on December 22, 2012, 12:12 AM
Thanks bigDave
I put that on my Calender I will try to be there.  This Forum has been great, things like this I would never know about  if you had not spoken up. Is there a category for up coming events on this Forum?
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: nathanbs on December 22, 2012, 02:25 AM
I have recently taken on the task of rebuilding the Nashville Bonsai Society as the president.  NBS used to be a lot more active in regards to traveling to other clubs' events in numbers and has slowly devolved into more of a study group with a nice Regional Show.  This will change.  About 4-5 of us always travel to other shows.  Hopefully this number will increase.  NBS has issues involving meeting times and a lapse in leadership which are being resolved now.  Any members of this forum involved in clubs reasonably close to Nashville with upcoming shows please PM me. 

 People get what they want out of volunteer organizations.  Some of us bitten by the bonsai bug feel inclined to keep this artform going and even spreading.  These groups are great for socializing with others with a common interest and may not need to serve a higher purpose.   Bonsai clubs are in a way ambassadors for bonsai to the public. Some (like me) can also have economic reasons along with philosophical ones for nurturing a local bonsai scene.
Owen you better take good care of that club as it has the same initials as my name therefore it's a really special club :)
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: John Kirby on December 22, 2012, 07:55 AM
Don,
The GSBF collection at Lake Marritt is very nice, the auction and sales are frequently discussed by firends in the area, I have not been to one. The BIB Club show will be held at the same place on Jan 19-20. So, there are two great opportunities to get a bonsai fix over a weekend.

Owen, I was asked to stand in o be President of the Hartford club, it is a good group of folks, the question I have asked is "What do you want from the club?", It will be interesting to see what the answer, with follow up, is. I think the teacher driven club/group can have some real strengths- if you have the right teacher. I will follow how you guys do with interest.
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: Anthony on December 22, 2012, 08:23 AM
Thinking Aloud,

on our side, we have been wondering if it makes more sense to do like you guys, leave clubs for beginners and find enough cash to hire a teacher for 2 or 3 months as a Study Group.
These folk will have to come from abroad, since we all have the same books and have watched each other at work,

Will be looking into most probably a large source of money [ 1US = 6.35 TT ] and have someone down for that period of time.
Especially since we one day hope to have a Bonsai museum, as everyone gets older and these trees need to be protected.
Might even devote a few rooms to Northern / Southern winter resting trees.

Perhaps providing permanent employment for about 10 or so folk, and probably housing around the Museum.
Good Morning.
Anthony
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: Owen Reich on December 22, 2012, 09:26 AM
I was concerned on the front end due to potential conflicts of interest especially when $$$ is involved.  But, I have already scheduled other bonsai professionals and vendors to judge / co-judge shows and give talks.  A well educated customer is a good customer  ;D.  The stories I've heard of local businesses creating a cult-like environment do not sit well with me.

Yes, "what do you want out of the club?" is the crucial question, and finding a way to give the correct answer to people with varied addiction levels can be a real challenge.  Multiple artist shows with workshops at varied price-points is one solution.
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: Anthony on December 22, 2012, 10:54 AM
Owen,

due to the amount of books, videos, word of mouth and so on, the world of mystery, Bonsai, is becoming firmly grounded in cement. Yes, you may meet a few new to the craft [ I think for this discussion I will leave the Art part to the professionals], but more and more folk will have a much greater awareness of the basics of Bonsai.

As an example, 2 or 3 years ago, some friends from India, went as club to a teaching event in a main city and they had to pay to attend. Sadly, the Japanese miscalculated on the amount of experience the Indians had with bonsai and the report back was, that they felt cheated and treated as ignoramuses.

The problem with the tropical situation, as far as I can see is, unlike the Japanese and Chinese who have had many years to study their trees and evolve the best ways to present their ideas. The tropics is an open field and it will probably take over q hundred years for designs to evolve into, other than Japanese or Chinese designs.

So the knowledge for wiring, pruning and repotting is very needed, and also the subtle points towards design.
BUT evolution has to take place in order for Tropical work to be best appreciated.As examples, both the buttonwood and the pemphis are good examples of Shimpaku envy.
Buttonwood actually matures into a beautifully multidoomed tree and has amazing bark, I cannot however speak for the pemphis as it does not naturally grow on my side.

Still you have to start somewhere, so for example, we use the training techniques [ not fully understood ] of the Japanese Black Pine on the timber pines on our side and the techniques of the Zelkova training on the Fustic.
So for a while our trees will look like northern trees and after a while hopefully, they will evolve.
[No insult is intended to anyone, just trying to a get a few points across as best as I can for Owen to understand.]
Good Afternoon.
Anthony
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: Yenling83 on December 22, 2012, 12:36 PM
I have recently taken on the task of rebuilding the Nashville Bonsai Society as the president. 

Glad to hear Owen, they will benefit greatly from your new role! 
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: John Kirby on December 22, 2012, 01:17 PM
Hey Anthony, check out some of the Chinese tropicals, Taiwan in particular. When you guysfigurd iut what you want your trees to look like, post some pictures.
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: Don Dunn on December 22, 2012, 01:54 PM
John Kirby
Here is what I found about the event and it sounds great.BIB’s Annual Exhibit  2013

January 19-20-2013

Bay Island Bonsai:  Annual Bonsai Exhibit.  Oakland Lakeside Garden Center, 666 Bellevue Ave. Auction on Saturday, with preview at Noon and auction at 1 PM.  Bonsai demonstration by Boon on Sunday at 1PM. Guided tours of the exhibit both Saturday and Sunday. Vendor sales, Club sales, Educational bonsai material for sale.  Hours: 10AM – 4PM Saturday and Sunday. Entry to exhibit is free, donations accepted. For more information: (510) 919-5042 or www.bayislandbonsai.com (http://www.bayislandbonsai.com)

Thank You
Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: Adair M on December 22, 2012, 02:51 PM
Don,

Although I have never had the pleasure to see the show, I have seen the photos of the trees in the past shows.  You will see exceptional bonsai at the BIB show.  It will be good for you to see such high quality bonsai early in your bonsai career, as you will see examples of the level refinement you should strive for.  It is a journey.  If, however, you see inferior examples of bonsai as a beginner, you don't know they are inferior.  But, they serve as your "model" of what you think bonsai should be.

So, seeing great bonsai as a beginner is absolutely the best thing you can do.  Inspiring.  And intimidating.  But, again, you have access to one of the great teachers of bonsai, Boon.  He likes to teach beginners.  No bad habits to break.  Us old guys have to be retrained!

Title: Re: Your club experience
Post by: John Kirby on December 22, 2012, 02:53 PM
Don, I look forward to meeting you. I travel out to Hayward during weekend workshops with the club, fly out friday evening and then return on Sunday night. Because I live out of the area and have completed the intensives, I don't go to the Tuesday evening club meetings in Alameda, however they spend a good deal of time discussing tree improvement and display possibilities. Trees in the show will run from collected trees to imports to seedling and cutting grown trees to nursery stock that has been worked into show shape by the members. Member experience ranges from less than a year to 30+ years. Good group, one of the many good clubs in the bay area.