Bonsai Books

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  fiona on Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:59 am

A postscript: In terms of the functional type of book, I would have to say that I have yet to come across a book that gives top notch information on how to wire correctly. Most content themselves with some pretty pictures of wire applied incorrectly and correctly - usually a few coils round a straight twig. For years I struggled with the angst of wiring that I'm sure many of us suffer from - even those who have been doing bonsai for some time. And nowhere in any book could I find the answer to the (you'd think) simple questions of how the heck do you start off your wire and how the heck do you finish it? Naka cames close to answering these, but in terms of finding the answers in the written word the best I ever found by a long way was an article in Bonsai Today. Can't remember which edition but I'm sure it backs up Jim Lewis's contention that the early BTs were as good, if not better, than a number of the books.

It also goes to prove, IMHO, what we've said all along that even the best books often are no substitute for learning from a real experience conducted by a real bonsai practitioner, be they professional or gifted amateur.


Last edited by fiona on Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:41 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  Ravi Kiran on Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:09 pm

Hi All,
Any comments on Dan Robinson's book "Gnarly branches Ancient trees"????


Hi Fiona,

Do a book review of Harry Harrington's "Bonsai Inspiration" for IBC once you are done giving it a decent first glance.... from what I have read of it (and no I don't have the book) it seems to be a fairly indepth book but deals mostly with native species.. something that I may not lay my hands on but something that folks like you have all around you...



Regards
Ravi

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  Phil Walsh on Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:22 am

will baddeley wrote:
JimLewis wrote:I hope it won't be long before we have our bonsai book review section back up here. That is broken down into beginner books, intermediate and advanced, and out-of-date and also rans -- with sections on indoor growing and shohin and mini-bonsai.

Why a review section Jim? There is a wealth of expertise right here. Books are often written by one person and are expensive. I would rather see a section where techniques can be exchanged. Just my two pennies.

From my personal point of view, both please! The IBC forum is fantastic, but sometimes you don't get the answer you are looking for. My Topic "Fertiliser - when and how" is a perfect case in point, IBC members came back with great tips, hints and ideas, all of which I'm very grateful for but they didn't answer my question exactly. But that was purely my fault, as there is no way that that question could be answered simply and accurately, the question was far too broad. My Topic "Olea Europae" for example, was much simpler and got an honest opinion from Iris (you've made a mistake, leave it for a while to recover and then revisit later in the year) and an article to read from Tim Stubbs.
IMHO, from reading through the majority of the topics and posts on here, the more specific the question, the better the responses tend to be. Having a book/article review section would provide me with a wealth of information that has been "rated " by someone as being good/bad/misleading/perfect and for more general questions like "Fertiliser - when and how" it would be perfect. Combine this with a techniques section, where IBC members give their ideas on specific technique (wiring, for example) provides something that a book can't offer, the ability for the reader to ask further more specific questions if needed.

Cheers, Phil

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  JimLewis on Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:38 pm

A postscript: In terms of the functional type of book, I would have to
say that I have yet to come across a book that gives top notch
information on how to wire correctly. Most content themselves with some
pretty pictures of wire applied incorrectly and correctly - usually a
few coils round a straight twig. For years I struggled with the angst
of wiring that I'm sure many of us suffer from - even those who have
been doing bonsai for some time. And nowhere in any book could I find
the answer to the (you'd think) simple questions of how the heck do you
start off your wire and how the heck do you finish it?

The best explanation of wiring I've seen (and the one from which I learned way back when) is in the 1976 edition of the Sunset book, Bonsai: Culture and care of miniature trees." It take you from anchoring the wire (in the soil for the trunk and around the trunk for branches, including linking opposite branches) to finishing off and how and where to bend. It is illustrated by drawings and photos.

Subsequent editions of the book get more and more cursory.

But let's face it -- the best way to learn wiring is by watching, then doing it with help, if needed.

I, by the way, HATE to wire. I know people for whom wiring is the reason they do bonsai. They're the ones who volunteer at all the guest demos to wire while the guest pontificates.

I need to find another copy of the book, BTW. Mine fell apart in my hands as I looked in it for this post. Bummer!

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  Bugeye on Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:47 pm

Jim,
I think I have a copy. If it is the one you have I will give it to you. I'll try and remember to check
tonight.

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  fiona on Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:09 pm

Widely available on Amazon.

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  JimLewis on Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:40 pm

Bugeye wrote:Jim,
I think I have a copy. If it is the one you have I will give it to you. I'll try and remember to check
tonight.

Thanks. But it would probably cost you more in postage than the book can be got from www.abebooks.com these days. Besides, it's to good a book to give away.

I do appreciate the offer, howver.

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  JimLewis on Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:42 pm

fiona wrote:Widely available on Amazon.

Most of those are the umpteenth printing. I'd kind like to replace my first edition, if i can.

Besides a bit of tape and glue and this one will be together again. For a while.

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  fiona on Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:18 pm

Actually, a fair number of the ones I saw (especially the ones located in USA) were first editions. Think they got up to about the 7th reprint. Decent prices too.

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  craigw on Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:53 pm

I am surprised no one has mentioned the "Kakuryuan bonsai collection" published by Kenichi Oguchi. This is an incredible photographic record of Mr Oguchi's outstanding collection.
Craig

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  JimLewis on Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:55 pm

craigw wrote:I am surprised no one has mentioned the "Kakuryuan bonsai collection" published by Kenichi Oguchi. This is an incredible photographic record of Mr Oguchi's outstanding collection.
Craig

In my case, that's because I've never herd of it. <g> Do you have more info? Date, publisher, etc.?

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  craigw on Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:04 pm

Hi Jim, it was published by Kenichi Oguchi and supervised by Masahiko Kimura, published in 1987 and printed by Nozaki printing company
There were 1500 copies printed.
It contains a full page image of each tree and then a section on the history of the trees
Craig

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:57 pm

Wiring if I used it --- Bonsai Today -- devoted a whole section on how to and how tidily it can be done.
This is what I look for when looking at wired work.

Didn't Graham Potter, just finish an episode on wiring on Youtube ?

Been sitting an just watching / studying a few pages every night of the new Man Lung potted trees book. Also just ordered another Chinese book, of course I will have to have it translated, but there are lots of pictures and drawings. I find the study of the Chinese techniques fascinating.

Also have a few other bonsai books coming in, must be patient.
Later.
Khaimraj

*Hee hee, ever wonder what a clip and grow demonstration would look like ...............................

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  Kev Bailey on Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:59 pm

"Kakuryuan bonsai collection" is listed in various places at around $1000! Not one I'll be hurrying to buy.

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:37 pm

BONSAI BOOKS ARE EVIL! Twisted Evil

Especially during the winter months. I tend to swing through the Barnes & Noble in Bloomington, Illinois or Springfield, Illinois and if there is a new Bonsai book on the shelves... IT CALLS TO ME!

Not sure where I stand in the count, but I have a bunch. Some are very practical, either informational or instructional. (As in species specific descriptions, taxonomic information and specific care information. Others are very hands on, topis include collecting preparing, repotting, pruning, wiring, watering... etcetera. Then some of them are just filled with collections of bonsai, either Genus and/or species specific or the collections of specific artists. Either way they all have a purpose and are all cherished!

The newest, older book that I found on Amazon.com was "The Art of the Chrysanthemum". I had been watching these for several years. It is out of print and copies usually sell for $35 plus. I got this one for $17.

However, NONE of my bosai books are used to create elevation changes in my bonsai displays...
that would be wrong!

Jay

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  craigw on Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:00 pm

I am surprised anyone would sell one given that Mr Oguchi gave away every copy that was printed.
Craig

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  bonsaistud on Fri Feb 18, 2011 7:31 am

G'day Ravi...

You asked "...Any comments on Dan Robinson's book "Gnarly Branches Ancient Trees"????...".

I have "Gnarly Branches...". It is a marvelous book, says he prejudicially. However, this is not a "how to do bonsai" book. Rather, it is a Dan Robinson (an American bonsai "maverick") biography, about his "journey". It was authored by Will Hiltz, who, along with Victrinia Ridgeway, provided most of the photography.

My copy of "Gnarly Branches..." was given to me by my good friend Victrinia, while we were at the Golden State Bonsai Federation Convention last fall...an early Christmas present.

It is signed by Dan, annotated "...Enjoy my journey...", by Will Hiltz, annotated "...enjoy!..." and by Victrinia Ridgeway, annotated by a very nice personal holograph that closes with "...may you be inspired...".

Inspired am I, howsomeever, I wish that this inspiration had hit me 30-40 years ago...

Later, my friends...

Pat Who's that stranger on the white horse?

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  Ravi Kiran on Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:53 am

Thanks Bonsaistud.. for sharing the outline of the book Gnarly ..... Puts things in better perspective... Thanks again

Regards
Ravi

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  Guest on Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:31 pm

I have 25 bonsai- and suisekibooks collected ower the years....The two, I tend to use again, and again, is "The complete book of Bonsai" by Harry Tomlinson..in this book, I can read all about, how the trees is to be treated in my area, soil, sun, propagation and so on.
The other book is " Bonsai Styles of the world" by Charles S Ceronio. This book is very usefull, when I want to create...
I dont really collect books any more, as I find use of articels interesting, and enogh for me.... I recive 3 magasines Smile. I am a collector of other stuff...3 years ago, I started collecting netsuke, this is a real killerhabit Embarassed .

Kind regards Yvonne

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  fiona on Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:48 pm

fiona wrote:Widely available on Amazon.
My copy arrived yesterday and was quickly devoured. An okay book, and as Jim suggested the wiring section did go further than the average quick skim through the subject. But still no match for "learning by nellie".

However, what really struck me was how far we have progressed in terms of the quality of tree we are all creating since the day when this book was published. Can only be a good thing, I woud say.

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  JimLewis on Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:52 pm

The later (and apparently, last) Sunset book (2003 -- also a decent beginner's book) does show the advance in the trees we grow. Mind, they're still not of the quality of a few we show here on the IBC.

I've noted much the same thing when I look at Peter Adams' "The Art of Bonsai" (1981) and then at the trees (sometimes the same ones) pictured in later books.

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  fiona on Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:32 pm

Hmmm. I would never diminish the role of books in the bonsai learning process. This might be simply because either because there are those of us who can't afford (in terms of finance and/or time) to get some sort of master/pupil relationship established, or it might simply be that most of us recognises that we have neither the desire nor the ability to become masters ourselves. But many of us do wish to get better at bonsai and books do have a valuable role in this process. I have already outlined in this thread how I see some books as inspirational and aspirational and it is precisely because some years ago I let myself be exposed to photos of stunning bonsai that I recognised that bonsai was not just the sticks in pots on display at my local bonsai "exhibition". I am sure for many many people (especially those who cannot travel to Japan or even to the top shows in the west) such books have opened our eyes to what lies beyond our hitherto closed little world of local bonsai. That has to be a major plus in raising the bar of quality within the worldwide bonsai community.

I am also sure that we all recognise "how to" books as only giving the first steps in a long learning journey - in the same way that the text books from which I "learnt" French in high school only gave me a basic grasp of that language but did not prepare me for anything other than very limited communication in France. But they are very valuable first steps and if you don't have access to a first class teacher then they become even more valuable. The rest one does according to a variety of factors - learning style, finance, availability.

The notion that historically great artists have not written "how to" books and the implication that this shows there is no need for them is flawed in many ways, not the least of which being that mass access to the written/printed word is a relatively recent phenomenon. Also, some great artists no doubt did not wish their "trade secrets" to be passed on; others may not have had the skill to write a book.

What is undeniable, I would argue, is that recent generations of artists and art historians have benefitted enormously from books about artists. I have had the priviledge of visiting several major art galleries in Europe, but for those who not so lucky, at least photos of paintings have opened their eyes to what is out there. How dimisihed would our culture be if all we had was rumours of great works of art like the Mona Lisa and no pictures to show a mass audience exactly what the fuss is about.

Even if she does look like Will Baddeley.

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  Guest on Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:49 pm

Books are very important to me. I have learnt many things by not only reading valuable informations, but also studying pictures over and over again. I wouldn't manage with books alone, but also not cope without.

Historically, all the men who are considered really great painters wrote no books. All the men who wrote great art books were not great painters.
I do not see the link to bonsai. Some of the very best Japanese and European bonsai artists wrote books. My wife is a painter and have several books from great modern painters. Maybe the painters you refer to was from a time were books with paintings was not produced?

Regards
Morten


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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:00 pm

Morten,

I have already left a list of the books that I think are important as Bonsai goes.
Khaimraj

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  JimLewis on Fri Feb 18, 2011 9:57 pm

Historically, all the men who are considered really great painters
wrote no books. All the men who wrote great art books were not great
painters.

There's an old saying something to the effect that: those who can do it, do it, and those who can't do it teach.

That was just as wrong back then as it is when you restate it.

And, "all," Khaimraj? ALL?

Dogmatism, Khaimraj, dogmatism. Never good.

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Re: Bonsai Books

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