Message from the Editor

Message from the Editor

As the bonsai aesthetic­—so profoundly associated with Japanese culture in the West—blossoms all over the world, early adopters in many countries have, and are, evolving the art form by creating bonsai from the plants that thrive in their climate, in styles that reflect their geography and culture. What we have in common, is the passion and creativity so essential to bonsai creation, education and presentation. Another common thread is the effort, planning and hard work of the organizations and volunteers that bring people together in the joyful spirit of bonsai and stone appreciation. In this issue, we celebrate this passion with reports and articles from authors with a deep commitment to their art and enthusiasm for sharing their experiences with our readers. 

The International Bonsai Convention in Mysore, India, demonstrates how bonsai enthusiasts are developing beautiful bonsai from nursery-grown material. Yamadori are not an option in India because wild areas are protected and out-of-bounds to bonsai collectors.    

In the Philippines, a talented group of artists are championing the hard, yet malleable Tugas as exceptional bonsai material. The results are stunning.

Toby Kleynhans from South Africa directs the considerable resources of Kat Rivier Kai Bonsai Club to create a one-of-a-kind, jumbo-sized forest planting with their native Baobab tree. It is an amazing group effort.

On a trip to Puerto Rico, BCI Director, Budi Sulistyo, brought home a logwood plant that he knew would thrive in Indonesia. See how he turned a short stump into a beautiful bonsai in just seven short years.

The sinuous trunk of a Pinus sylvestris caught Mauro Stemberger’s eye during a visit to a colleague’s studio in Milan. Mauro acquired this striking Scots pine and recently re-imagined it by focusing on its best features. The outcome is a dynamic and outstanding composition with a great future.

The first time I saw stones from the American desert—stones that did not fit Japanese classifications of suiseki—it opened up possibilities for finding other stones with suiseki qualities beyond Japan. Paul Gilbert, avid stone collector, submits another stone for our appreciation, a stone that started as wood and then became petrified, a process that can make captivating stones. The best part is that petrified wood can be found in many parts of the world.

The presentation of bonsai on public exhibit is usually enhanced by other art objects and companion plants. The classic Japanese method of display includes the iconographic Japanese Scroll, an art form unto itself. Tom Elias reports on a recent book that provides a comprehensive look at scrolls. Whether you your bonsai exhibit is classic or contemporary, an understanding of the history of scrolls can inspire thoughtful presentations that respect tradition and enhance the trees.

We conclude the issue with a round up of interesting news that further confirms a great future for bonsai and stone appreciation; A new bonsai museum in Italy; a generous endowment to the arts in Germany and a bonsai race in Malaysia like no other. Have a read and let us know what you liked the most.

—Joe Grande, Canada