2011 Michigan All State Show

This Years Michigan All State Show promises to be the best ever, with Colin Lewis Headlining and some serious demos and workshops! Continue reading

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Shipping Issues

I figured that with the thousands of hits daily I’m getting here, this would be the best place to duplicate this announcement.

If you have ordered but did not receive a Robert Steven’s Replica Bonsai Pot or if you were a winner of the 2009 AoB Awards and did not receive the prize of a pot as announced, please email me once with your name and shipping address. Continue reading

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The Next Generation

The Next GenerationToday we are training and developing the next generation of bonsai artists. Through our actions and even through our inactions we are creating the state of bonsai in the future, we are developing the future artists, and we are cultivating the next generation. We have the chance to make it all we wish it were now. Continue reading

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Finding the Tree Within

Co-authored by Rudi Julianto


Celitc chinensis
Celitc chinensis

There comes a time in the design of every bonsai where the artist must decide on a path to follow, a path that will bring out the full artistic potential of the tree, while using only what it offers, coupled solely with the imagination and vision of the artist. This is where talent comes into play, this is also where the textbooks fail, because finding the tree within a piece of material is a very hard thing to explain and even harder yet to teach. Each piece of material is different and each offers many possibilities, but few that are artistically sound. The talented artist can sort out what is possible, what is feasible, and what will work artistically, while keeping within the boundaries set by the material itself.

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A Brief Exploration of the Literati Style

Five Needle Pine by Qingquan Zhao

Five Needle Pine by Qingquan Zhao

Like the style itself, the name used to describe it takes on many forms and the usage changes from region to region. The word Literati is used by many practitioners and is a Latin name originally attributed to the Japanese Bunjin due to the lack of an exact English equivalent. Bunjin is in turn a translation of the Chinese Wenjen, the word used in Chinese to denote those scholars who were practiced in the arts. Continue reading

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Babylon: The Origin of Bonsai?

“The Confusion of Tongues” by Gustave Doré (1865)
(This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.)

The Chinese Connection

It would seem that in almost every written history of bonsai, credit for its invention is attributed largely to China. In the following paragraphs are three quotes I found by searching the web for “bonsai history.” These histories are readily available for viewing on the web.

“Bonsai first appeared in China over a thousand years ago on a very basic scale, known as pun-sai, where it was the practice of growing single specimen trees in pots. These early specimens displayed sparse foliage and rugged, gnarled trunks, which often looked like animals, dragons and birds…. With Japan’s adoption of many cultural trademarks of China – bonsai was also taken up, introduced to Japan during the Kamakura period (1185 – 1333) by means of Zen Buddhism – which at this time was rapidly spreading around Asia.” -Bonsaisite.com ( http://bonsaisite.com/history1.html)

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The First National Bonsai Exhibition – A Cinderella Story?

Photograph by Paul Stokes

This last weekend, America experienced its first National Bonsai Exhibit in Rochester, New York. Few would disagree that this event was historic and that it certainly was the first step of many needed to raise the level of bonsai in this country to a level comparable to that of other countries. It was a needed step to raise the perception of American Bonsai, not only in the eyes of other countries, but also in the eyes of many Americans themselves. Fewer still would disagree that, like all roses, it had a few thorns that will serve to remind us that even the sweetest fragrance is not without flaw and that there is always room for improvement. Continue reading

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