The Future of Bonsai, The Third Dimension


I have been involved in numerous discussions over the course of the last few years as to what the future holds for the art of bonsai both in America and elsewhere. I have given this a great deal of thought, viewed a few bonsai collections, talked to some artists, and put in some long research hours, all to better understand the current state of art in bonsai. The general consensus seems to be that each country and districts thereof tend to want (consciously or unconsciously) to develop an individual style that is unique to them. Most lean toward the factor that the trees in their area and the way they grow there will influence them. This is of course a huge contributing factor and it no doubt has and will continue to shape bonsai styles. However, I feel that these regional influences, although important in defining an areas bonsai design, are relatively minor compared to the revolution I see in the direction that the future of bonsai holds for us. I think this revolution will make bonsai better, more advanced, and greater than it has ever been before. Continue reading

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‘Bonsai Kusamono Suiseki’ by Willi Benz

Bonsai Kusamono Suiseki
A Practical Guide for Organizing Displays with Plants and Stones by Willi Benz

Stone Lantern Publishing Co., Watertown, MA USA: 204pp.,
ISBN 3-00-009322-2
 This book is the bible of display.

I realize that that the above statement is a strong one but there is really no other way to describe what Willi Benz has given the bonsai community, actually what he has given to all who are interested in bonsai, kusamono, or suiseki display. The book is filled with information pertaining to display and it covers every aspect of the subject precisely with photographs and illustrations to support the descriptive text. Mr.I Chi Su sums up Willie’s accomplishment with this book in the forward with the words, “With his experience, knowledge and artistic talent in both Bonsai and Suiseki, applied with the Western analytical method to explain Eastern philosophy and culture, he has created a refreshing way of design.”  Continue reading

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‘The Growing Tree’ by Brayton F. Wilson

‘The Growing Tree’ Revised Edition

by Brayton F. Wilson
The University of Massachusetts Press: 138 pp., $30.00



Brayton Wilson Ph. D. is a Professor of Forestry at the University of California, Berkeley. His book, reviewed here, is often quoted in publications and is required reading for forestry students around the world. With this work the author shows he is a highly competent authority on plant physiology with his precise, technical coverage. The information delivered is highly accurate and comprehensive, yet easy to read and understand. The book flows smoothly through such subjects as forking in woody roots, apical control of bud development, and movement of pine candles. Continue reading
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Bonsai: Living Sculpture, Not Living Painting

Co-written with Attila Soos


Curt Holzinger 02.21.06
Printed with permission of the artist.
© Curt Holzinger 02.21.06

Bonsai is closer in comparison to sculpture than any other art form in existence today. When styling, viewing, and displaying a bonsai – or debating the artistic merit of design, people may wrongly compare this art to painting. Some also seem fixated on concentrating their efforts toward a single view commonly called the “front” and assume that what they believe to be the best “front” will also be perceived as such by all other viewers. In other words, they treat bonsai as though it was indeed a painting. Continue reading

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The Art of Bonsai Design by Colin Lewis

The Art of Bonsai Design
by Colin Lewis

Sterling Publishing Company., Inc. New York: 160pp., $19.95
ISBN 0-4027-0070-9
First Paperback Edition 2001

When I first became involved in bonsai I started an unquenchable quest for knowledge and picked up any book I could find on the art of bonsai, regardless of the quality of content. Some of these first books have never been opened since; they collect dust on the library shelf, waiting for perhaps my young daughter to reach the age where she will embark on the same quest and maybe find some useful tidbit of information that I could not. Maybe she will just gain the enthusiasm, the drive, and the sense of wonder I did and like me, want to read every single word ever written on the subject, good or bad. Continue reading

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Photo Essay: Mushrooms


As bonsaist, we spend a great deal of time studying trees in their natural environment. We observe their beauty as we drive past them when we commute and we rejoice in their splendor as we walk through the woods and forests.

Many of us widen our vision even further and see not only the tree, but also the micro and macro environments that the trees grow in. We see the under-story plants, the natural accents, we see the symbiotic relationships that the trees in nature share with the ferns, the moss, the lichen, and other plants. This “sharing” of growing space is what we attempt to duplicate when we use accents in our bonsai displays. Continue reading

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‘Bonsai – The Art of Living Sculpture’ by Jack Douthitt

‘Bonsai – The Art of Living Sculpture’

by Jack Douthitt
Rizzoli International Publications, Inc. Hardcover 144 pp., 16.99 (Varies)
ISBN: 0-8478-2302-2

Having long been a proponent of bonsai being viewed as living three dimensional sculptures and having just met Jack Douthitt at the Michigan All State Show, I didn’t hesitate to purchase this book when I seen it the next day on a shelf at a local bonsai shop. My schedule, being as full as it is, assured that the book would rest in my library unopened until recently, when I was looking for something to read and rediscovered it. Continue reading

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