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kottke.org posts about bonsai

Transformation of a Bonsai Tree Over 12 Months

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 10, 2021

Ever since I learned about bonsai trees as a kid, I’ve been fascinated with them. In my 20s, my girlfriend bought me a juniper bonsai for my birthday. I was really excited to see what I could do with it, but it was dead in a month and a half, forever dimming my enthusiasm for ever practicing bonsai myself. But I still love observing the process and seeing the results, so I’ve enjoyed watching Bucky Barnes’1Bonsai Releaf videos. His latest video (above) documents the year-long transformation of a Japanese larch tree he purchased for £30 into something that looks like it’s been majestically clinging to a windswept cliff for hundreds of years.

Observation, healing, experimentation, growth, making irreversible choices — so many lovely little themes, lessons, and moments in this video. At one point, well into the process, he clips off most of a long branch and I exclaimed “Oh my God!” out loud. I guess I still need to work on letting go of attachments.

  1. No, not that one.

Gorgeous trees on display at the 2017 World Bonsai Convention

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 27, 2017

Bonsai 2017

Bonsai 2017

The 8th World Bonsai Convention was recently held in Saitama, Japan. Billed as “the Olympics of the bonsai world”, over 300 trees were on display and one of them sold for ¥100,000,000 ($900,000). Japanistry and Bonsai Tree have some photos of the outstanding trees shown at the event. Bonsai Tonight also has some photos and descriptions of the trees from the convention, but I wish the photos were bigger. (via @sluicing)

Update: Bonsai Tonight made some larger photos available, so I couldn’t help including this one, from a post on the satsuki azalea bonsai, many of which were in full bloom.

Bonsai 2017

Beautiful. (thx, Bonsai Tonight

American Shokunin

posted by Jason Kottke   May 15, 2017

Ryan Neil has been practicing the art of bonsai for almost 20 years. As he describes it, he’s still got a lot to learn.

Shokunin (Sho-koo-neen) is a Japanese word used to describe an individual that aspires to become a master in their particular craft or art form. Ryan Neil falls firmly into this description, as he has been practicing the art of Bonsai for nearly two decades. In this short film, we get a glimpse at the broader thinking behind a professional American Bonsai practitioner, as well as some of the inherent challenges and aspirations that come along with the pursuit for bonsai mastery in America.

It’s interesting to hear Neil talking about respecting and cultivating healthy trees while he’s ripping a branch in half with a cutting tool to create a certain aesthetic. (via @noahkalina)

Air Bonsai, a magnetically floating bonsai tree kit

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 25, 2016

Air Bonsai

A group from Tokyo is selling floating bonsai tree kits on Kickstarter. The starter kit is $200, which includes an electric base and magnetically floating pot…plant not included. (via colossal)

The World’s Smallest Bonsai

posted by Jason Kottke   May 20, 2014

Tiny bonsai

These incredibly tiny bonsai are amazing. They are called cho-mini bonsai, or ultra-small bonsai. Look at these tiny pots:

Tiny Bonsai Pots

(via colossal)