My Philosophy on Bonsai

My philosophy on bonsai is that bonsai is more than just roots, nabari, trunk, branches, and foliage. Obviously all those things make up a bonsai tree but there is more. Bonsai is a feeling, a feeling you get when you see a tree that moves you. The feeling you get from creating a piece of living art and seeing it thrive. It’s seeing the positive features in a tree and accentuating them. It’s not about evaluating every tree to death. It takes more than knowing what a tree shouldn’t be, to make one what it could be. Finding faults in trees as means of evaluating them or showing off you knowledge doesn’t mean you understand bonsai. Actually I think it’s quite the contrary. The rules are in place for a reason and give you a guideline for shape, proportion and scale. Though these things are all very important in producing quality trees, it’s not the end all be all. I am partial to natural trees and tree styles, though I can appreciate any quality material. I am drawn to things you would see out in the real world. Trees that remind me of places I’ve been, like the battered conifers of the Rocky Mountains, the Bald Cypress swamps of the south or the massive Coastal Redwoods in the North West. For me bonsai is about appreciating nature, having a connection with ancient old trees, and centuries old traditions of capturing a little slice of the natural world in a container. That’s what the Chinese had in mind when this whole thing started long ago, and the Japanese have perfected. That’s what I hope to continue in my own collection and to those I have the opportunity to teach.

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