◊ Crataegus Bonsai Seasonal ◊
Although mixed with a lot of hilarity, the Seasonals are geared toward students who are serious about bonsai. The program is based on learning by contrast. We contrast pot-grown and wild-collected, deciduous and conifer, young tree and old, from season to season. The Seasonals offer lesson-style teaching in addition to platforms for self-discovery. This is perhaps a more palatable and fun version of the holistic, hands-on, varied, long-term, and seriously stressed-out education I received as an apprentice from Shinji Suzuki.
Seasonal mornings start with sitting down around a table with a lot of tea, and covering the day’s material with words—handouts, quizzes, questions—which can last an hour or more. The rest of the day is spent outside or in the studio with hands-on work.
Seasonals run for three consecutive days, $675, with lunches and dinners included. Lodging is at a nearby hotel or bed and breakfast. You will be asked to bring a basic set of tools, but trees, wire, soil, etc. are all provided.
(Starting in 2014 Matt Reel, who’s been studying with Shinji Suzuki for 7 years now, will be dropping in for surprise visits to co-teach a day at the Seasonals. He’s a natural teacher, deeply knowledgeable, and we’re lucky to have him coming back to Portland, his hometown.)
Read the testimonials!
The 2012 dates are:
- Winter Seasonal: Repotting (February 27-29 or March 21-23) [full!]
- Spring Seasonal: New growth management (May 28-30) [full!]
- Summer Seasonal: Juniper, Deciduous (July 18-20) [full!]
- Fall Seasonal: Wiring/fall work (November 12-14) [full!]
The 2013 dates are:
- Winter Seasonal: Repotting (February 25-27 [full!] or March 20-22 [full!])
- Spring Seasonal: New growth management (May 29-31)
- Summer Seasonal: Juniper, Deciduous (July 17-19) [full!]
- Fall Seasonal: Wiring/fall work (October 30-November -1)
Now in its fourth year, the Seasonal program was created out of requests of students from around the country who were interested in coming to Portland to study. It’s been an awful lot of fun and I hope you join us!
In the Seasonals we won’t just be styling trees. We’ll also cover horticulture, refinement of old bonsai, display, and a lot in between.
In past Seasonals, we’ve covered the refinement of established bonsai such as Pine, Spruce, Juniper, Japanese Maple, Winter Hazel, Juniper and Chojubai Quince.
Designing new bonsai is featured in all Seasonals. These range from older collected yamadori conifers like Rocky Mountain Juniper, Limber Pine, Engelmann Spruce, Mountain Hemlock, and Ponderosa Pine, to growing and developing deciduous trees like Japanese Maple, Chojubai Quince, and Stewartia.
Winter Seasonals focus on repotting, while other Seasonals feature species appropriate visualization and styling, advanced wiring and bending, accent plants, and the study of display. A few past sessions have included experimental segments. Attention is paid to the interests of advanced students to help them create a personal bonsai yard that reflects their growing artistic sensibility.
There are four Seasonals a year to cover each of the main periods of bonsai activity. Sessions are limited to four students. Although it is recommended that new students start with a Winter Seasonal to acquire new repotting techniques, any initiation time is fine.
Days start before 9 am and usually end in the early evening, although it is sometimes later with the more involved work days.
‘It is like entering a cathedral when you first walk into your yard, and I am honored that you allow me such a learning environment…you make learning a joy.’ —Konnor
“I learned more in 3 days than I had in the last 12 years. He was a fantastic teacher, artist, and host while there. There were 4 others there and all had been students before me. I am returning in the fall for more training and looking forward to reuniting with the group and enjoying the many fine meals, reviewing the days events. Michael has had a large influence on where I want to go with bonsai design… I would not hesitate in recommending anyone to attend his small group sessions. Thank you Michael!!!” —Ray
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Please send an email or call if you have an interest in this program: