The weird thing about "bonsai"...

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The weird thing about "bonsai"...

Post  Ferdie * on Fri Oct 07, 2011 9:27 am

Dear IBC,

Good day everyone, Im rookie here but im not saying, that im a beginner, im still in the process of "getting to know" what a bonsai is. Before i started on this and up to now, I really wondering the way how to start it, is there such a proper thing to do it.. Several references, i already scanned and worth comparing, but several has also has each meaning what bonsai is. So am i right to say, that there are no proper way in making bonsai?

..anyone?? or can anyone tell me, the proper way of making/designing a bonsai?

..if that is the case, no one can be a judge, considering that there is no proper way..

..No rules, there might be patterns exist, but it is one's choice to follow them or to try something different out of one's imagination, as for me, everyone can be a "CREATOR".

..we can only be a critique but not as judge, that can be based on our own perceptive, imaginary and creative mind, but not on what is proper for a bonsai to be, because as every author's may say that bonsai is an art form that imitate nature on a compact or nature's theather in miniature thing.

..nature is a nature that cannot be specified, no boundary, all is nothing but just how to take care of it..

..so the basic thing for a bonsai then, like nature, is just manner of how to take care of it..that's all, and the designing and everything in it, is just a self contained and idealized, thus, the only problem will be...is where to start or begin with..


Last edited by Ferdie * on Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:11 am; edited 4 times in total

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Re: The weird thing about "bonsai"...

Post  Mark> on Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:14 pm

I think in any art form "rules" are mere guidelines to creating aesthetically appealing piece. It's the reason why judging bonsai is always subjective despite the existence of established rules.

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Re: The weird thing about "bonsai"...

Post  JimLewis on Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:20 pm

You can, of course, STYLE a bonsai (please note: NO "Z.") however you want. You can make an elm look like a pine, or a pine, like and elm. You can contort the tree into whatever shape pleases you. However, other people may not like what you do, of course.

BUT, there are things you need to do correctly. You have to know how to keep it alive. you need to know when to prune or when NOT to prune. You have to know how to take care of the roots, and how much you can trim or how much you need to keep. You need to know how much water is enough, or NOT enough. You need to know what makes a good bonsai soil (dirt will not do it!) You need to know the needs of various species of tree or shrub. For those things there is a "proper way in making bonzai?"


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Re: The weird thing about "bonsai"...

Post  dick benbow on Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:53 pm

just as ferdie* gets his kicks on route 66 Very Happy many of us would have no attraction as opposed to ardent followers of an american by gone era.

A piece of art is always subjective. I run across this same discussion in my koi chatlines about pattern. Some people show fish, some don't, and what the two groups vary in, covers a broad field.

In both my hobbies ( Koi and Bonsai) I have always sought to rise to the japanese standards. It has given me both a challenge and ability to be in touch with cultural differences and yet, appreciate what the continents and races of people have made, towards contributing to both . I honestly prefer it that way.

like the japanese expression of the term, bonzai, i do hope that both these hobbies prosper for more than a thousand years!

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Re: The weird thing about "bonsai"...

Post  kcpoole on Sat Oct 08, 2011 1:21 am

First thing is learn how to spell Bonsai :-)

The trees will tell you what is the proper way to style it? There are Rules and Guidelines as to what is correct or not for each style of tree, But the stoch will usually have grown in such a way that it suggests the style of tree already, then it is just a matter of tuning shaping the tree using the Bonsai techniques we have learnt and using the "rules" as a guide to achieve the final result.

there is no "Magic Formula" to apply to create a masterpiece tree

Ken

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Re: The weird thing about "bonsai"...

Post  Guest on Sat Oct 08, 2011 3:27 am

"Bonzai"---in some peoples mind this was the common mistake, It is not about the word "Bonzai". but to which this word is so much associated to (Japanese ways of doing things in bonsai) since it is a Japanese word. It even sounds like "Banzai"! (charge!). thus, In some peoples mind the art is so much confined to the Japanese ways of doing the small tree in a pot. Why not try to study more about the source of the original word which is "pensai" or "Penzai" which is Chinese in origin. Probably by doing so, Chinese bonsai and other form of styles from the different regions can be appreciated as well.

"Magic formula", I believe there is. But magicians got to be creative and imaginative to advance further, otherwise no other people will appreciate the art of magic if it the tricks keeps being repeated in every performance and sooner or later it will become a boring stuff, and probably the Magic art will die out soon if no more people are getting interested in the magic show. Ain't you wondering why the population of people in Japan doing bonsai is getting older and older, and younger recruits are getting lesser and lesser decades after decades? Younger generation of today always wanted something new, You buy the latest iPod today but the damn thing will be obsolete the following month.


....Just follow your heart, that's the right thing of doing Bonsai. Rules? nah, there's no such thing. and the only limit,,,,your imagination will define the border of what you can do.

regards,
jun Smile





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Re: The weird thing about "bonsai"...

Post  Zach Smith on Sat Oct 08, 2011 3:07 pm

[quote="Ferdie *"]Dear IBC,

Good day everyone, Im rookie here but im not saying, that im a beginner, im still in the process of "getting to know" what a bonzai is. Before i started on this and up to now, I really wondering the way how to start it, is there such a proper thing to do it.. Several references, i already scanned and worth comparing, but several has also has each meaning what bonzai is. So am i right to say, that there are no proper way in making bonzai?

As you can see from the responses, bonsai artists at some point typically enter the "do whatever is aesthetically pleasing to you" mindset. This is absolutely true, in my opinion. But this doesn't mean take a piece of material, stick it in a pot and do whatever you want and you've got a bonsai (unless, of course, this really does it for you). Consider Picasso. Did he know how to draw a realistic looking human? Yes he did. He learned the "rules" and then moved beyond them to create his own signature art. This didn't diminish art from the school of realism, it was just another expression of art that was uniquely his.

I think the best way to learn bonsai is to learn the traditional rules, which the Japanese have done best, and then move on (if you so choose) to your own expressions. You might be able to skip those steps, but just as you learn scales in music before expressing yourself musically, learn your "scales" in bonsai and then move beyond and see what you can do that pleases you.

For what it's worth.

Zach

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Re: The weird thing about "bonsai"...

Post  Russell Coker on Sat Oct 08, 2011 4:05 pm

Zach Smith wrote:As you can see from the responses, bonsai artists at some point typically enter the "do whatever is aesthetically pleasing to you" mindset. This is absolutely true, in my opinion. But this doesn't mean take a piece of material, stick it in a pot and do whatever you want and you've got a bonsai (unless, of course, this really does it for you). Consider Picasso. Did he know how to draw a realistic looking human? Yes he did. He learned the "rules" and then moved beyond them to create his own signature art. This didn't diminish art from the school of realism, it was just another expression of art that was uniquely his.

I think the best way to learn bonsai is to learn the traditional rules, which the Japanese have done best, and then move on (if you so choose) to your own expressions. You might be able to skip those steps, but just as you learn scales in music before expressing yourself musically, learn your "scales" in bonsai and then move beyond and see what you can do that pleases you.


Well said Zach!

Ferdi*, before you go "expressing yourself" and "following your heart", I'd suggest you have a good understanding of what makes a good bonsai a good bonsai. Although we live in a "whatever makes me happy is ok" world, like Jim said don't be upset when others don't share your vision.

Of course now we'll hear from the "screw them if they don't like it" crowd...

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Re: The weird thing about "bonsai"...

Post  Zach Smith on Sat Oct 08, 2011 4:35 pm

Russell Coker wrote:
Zach Smith wrote:As you can see from the responses, bonsai artists at some point typically enter the "do whatever is aesthetically pleasing to you" mindset. This is absolutely true, in my opinion. But this doesn't mean take a piece of material, stick it in a pot and do whatever you want and you've got a bonsai (unless, of course, this really does it for you). Consider Picasso. Did he know how to draw a realistic looking human? Yes he did. He learned the "rules" and then moved beyond them to create his own signature art. This didn't diminish art from the school of realism, it was just another expression of art that was uniquely his.

I think the best way to learn bonsai is to learn the traditional rules, which the Japanese have done best, and then move on (if you so choose) to your own expressions. You might be able to skip those steps, but just as you learn scales in music before expressing yourself musically, learn your "scales" in bonsai and then move beyond and see what you can do that pleases you.



Of course now we'll hear from the "screw them if they don't like it" crowd...

LOL! Great one, Russell. This whole topic makes me think of bonsai "competitions." I always wonder what the trees are thinking. Does the oak think it's better than the maple? Maybe the maple thinks the oak is just a braggart. Does the winner get an ego boost? Or do they all just think the people are nuts?

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Re: The weird thing about "bonsai"...

Post  BrianG on Sat Oct 08, 2011 11:11 pm

LOL! Great one, Russell. This whole topic makes me think of bonsai "competitions." I always wonder what the trees are thinking. Does the oak think it's better than the maple? Maybe the maple thinks the oak is just a braggart. Does the winner get an ego boost? Or do they all just think the people are nuts?

Now that's just silly, Oaks are so misunderstood.... they're more of a confident tree than a braggart. Laughing

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Re: The weird thing about "bonsai"...

Post  fiona on Sat Oct 08, 2011 11:17 pm

I find that animation a little disturbing.

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Re: The weird thing about "bonsai"...

Post  BrianG on Sat Oct 08, 2011 11:30 pm

I find that animation a little disturbing.

I apologize if it offends ...do you think I should remove it? It is only meant to be funny ... it reminds me of how computers can drive you crazy sometimes.

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Re: The weird thing about "bonsai"...

Post  Guest on Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:45 am

Giving advice to a tropical guy to follow the rigid japanese ways in doing bonsai is the worst thing he could get. If you follow those rules from their soil medium which is one of the basics and then their way of doing branch works which is based on how their local species were formed your trees will end up dead. If it by in any miracle managed to survive your tropical trees will end up looking like a japanese bonsai in a tropical trunk. Natural? NO way. More like a frankeinstein bonsai. A phempis acidula with a pine tree or maple look would look funny if not ugly.
Refer to some of ferdies trees, some of his phempis were styled by people following the japanese dogma. Then compare it with the indonesian or taiwanese trees formed based on what a tropical tree should look like and the difference will be very obvious.
Just follow your heart in doing your bonsai ferdie. Let your trees communicate with you, do not let the rules confine you othrwise before you know it you are already a prisoner of this so called rules. And you will be afraid to break those rules once you are too accustumed to it, thinking that it will be a mortal sin to break it. You can learn the basics of bonsai while in the process of expressing your self.

Regards,
jun


Last edited by jun on Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:48 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The weird thing about "bonsai"...

Post  Mark> on Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:25 am

BrianG wrote:
I find that animation a little disturbing.

I apologize if it offends ...do you think I should remove it? It is only meant to be funny ... it reminds me of how computers can drive you crazy sometimes.

Don't remove it. I find it funny. I hope you don't mind I saved the GIF file. It reminds me of my college days. Very Happy

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Re: The weird thing about "bonsai"...

Post  Guest on Sun Oct 09, 2011 7:32 am

Ferdie * wrote:Dear IBC,

Good day everyone, Im rookie here but im not saying, that im a beginner, im still in the process of "getting to know" what a bonzai is. Before i started on this and up to now, I really wondering the way how to start it, is there such a proper thing to do it.. Several references, i already scanned and worth comparing, but several has also has each meaning what bonzai is. So am i right to say, that there are no proper way in making bonzai?

..anyone?? or can anyone tell me, the proper way of making/designing a bonzai?

..if that is the case, no one can be a judge, considering that there is no proper way..

..No rules, there might be patterns exist, but it is one's choice to follow them or to try something different out of one's imagination, as for me, everyone can be a "CREATOR".

..we can only be a critique but not as judge, that can be based on our own perceptive, imaginary and creative mind, but not on what is proper for a bonzai to be, because as every author's may say that bonzai is an art form that imitate nature on a compact or nature's theather in miniature thing.

..nature is a nature that cannot be specified, no boundary, all is nothing but just how to take care of it..

..so the basic thing for a bonzai then, like nature, is just manner of how to take care of it..that's all, and the designing and everything in it, is just a self contained and idealized, thus, the only problem will be...is where to start or begin with..

Ferdie, you are asking more than one big question in this issue. And as it is with bonsai (bonSai :-) ) there are several ways of styling and learning. Best I can recommend is to find a teacher, a person who you like and makes bonsai that appeal to you. Then grasp everything he or she knows, and follow that road for a period. This way will make it possible for you getting on. Listening to too many teachers will just confuse, because there are several ways and philosophies in the world of bonsai (as with other things).
Secondly, take it in relaxed without troubling yourself with all the other questions about judging e.g., because it just removes focus from learning the difficult art of bonsai in this your early period of practising.

Good luck with your journey.

(and I find that GIF a bit disturning too, sorry)...

Regards
Morten Albek

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Re: The weird thing about "bonsai"...

Post  Guest on Sun Oct 09, 2011 8:28 am

morten albek wrote:
Ferdie * wrote:Dear IBC,

Good day everyone, Im rookie here but im not saying, that im a beginner, im still in the process of "getting to know" what a bonzai is. Before i started on this and up to now, I really wondering the way how to start it, is there such a proper thing to do it.. Several references, i already scanned and worth comparing, but several has also has each meaning what bonzai is. So am i right to say, that there are no proper way in making bonzai?

..anyone?? or can anyone tell me, the proper way of making/designing a bonzai?

..if that is the case, no one can be a judge, considering that there is no proper way..

..No rules, there might be patterns exist, but it is one's choice to follow them or to try something different out of one's imagination, as for me, everyone can be a "CREATOR".

..we can only be a critique but not as judge, that can be based on our own perceptive, imaginary and creative mind, but not on what is proper for a bonzai to be, because as every author's may say that bonzai is an art form that imitate nature on a compact or nature's theather in miniature thing.

..nature is a nature that cannot be specified, no boundary, all is nothing but just how to take care of it..

..so the basic thing for a bonzai then, like nature, is just manner of how to take care of it..that's all, and the designing and everything in it, is just a self contained and idealized, thus, the only problem will be...is where to start or begin with..

Ferdie, you are asking more than one big question in this issue. And as it is with bonsai (bonSai :-) ) there are several ways of styling and learning. Best I can recommend is to find a teacher, a person who you like and makes bonsai that appeal to you. Then grasp everything he or she knows, and follow that road for a period. This way will make it possible for you getting on. Listening to too many teachers will just confuse, because there are several ways and philosophies in the world of bonsai (as with other things).
Secondly, take it in relaxed without troubling yourself with all the other questions about judging e.g., because it just removes focus from learning the difficult art of bonsai in this your early period of practising.

Good luck with your journey.

(and I find that GIF a bit disturning too, sorry)...

Regards
Morten Albek


I concur! very much!



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Re: The weird thing about "bonsai"...

Post  marcus watts on Sun Oct 09, 2011 9:45 am

i look back over the last 23 years i've had trees and I think you need to spend the early years perfecting basic techniques - initially horticultural ie keeping different species alive, healthy and growing. During this period practice bonsai specific techniques as well - wiring, repotting, pruning etc.

most importantly learn from your own mistakes so your future trees are better. I think it is a big mistake to go straight to a professional 'teacher' as you will feel out of your depth and not know how to properly maintain the trees you come home with. Once you understand a lttle more than just bonsai basics look at the potential teachers own trees - do you like them? if so work with this individual, if not keep looking.

dont worry about 'japanese' style, or 'tropical' style or any other style - a good tree has balance, movement and shows an image of maturity through texture, ramification and overall image. To start from scratch spend a lot of time looking at tree and bonsai images that appeal to you alone, then study your material until you can match material and style together. If a tree looks pleasing to you that's what counts, if it looks good to others as well that is just a bonus. Your trees must please you and make you proud afterall.

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Re: The weird thing about "bonsai"...

Post  my nellie on Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:13 am

Given that I am also a beginner and that every beginner has the same or almost the same wonderings, I must say that marcus watts' response is a realistic approach for me just like some others that are moving into the same spirit, too

jun wrote: ... .... Just follow your heart in doing your bonsai ferdie. Let your trees communicate with you, do not let the rules confine you othrwise before you know it you are already a prisoner of this so called rules. And you will be afraid to break those rules once you are too accustumed to it, thinking that it will be a mortal sin to break it. You can learn the basics of bonsai while in the process of expressing your self... ...
I completely disagree, dear Jun!
Knowledge is freedom first, then it is strength!
If you know then you are free and being free you feel no fear of doing.... a mortan sin. Neither any kind of rules can ever conquer on you.


morten albek wrote: ... ...(and I find that GIF a bit disturning too, sorry)...
Me, too, I have to say....

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Re: The weird thing about "bonsai"...

Post  JimLewis on Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:19 pm

(and I find that GIF a bit disturning too, sorry)...

Yes.

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Re: The weird thing about "bonsai"...

Post  Bonzy on Tue Oct 11, 2011 12:49 am

Hi Ferdz,

that's a good observation, that you made there, but come to think of it, the way your bonsai displayed, it seems your 60 to 80% compliance to the rules of bonsai making, and not bad, you really did your research on that, the designing, carving, and wiring. Your right too, ferdz, we are the creator of own style/design/image to be protrayed by our tree, and believe me every bonsai maker does not meet the 100% of proper way of doing it and yet they rewarded for that, and i agree to both of you and jun, imagination and creativeness are almost the key, patterns and rules are secondary but of course you must know the basic of all things, the proper way to take care/nurture the trees..more power and bonsai wisdom to come Very Happy Smile pirat

bon

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Re: The weird thing about "bonsai"...

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