The Dark Paths of Apprentices

The Dark Paths of Apprentices

This is an update on the Dark Paths thread initiated in the last post. I overheard a conversation which was quite clearly a conspiracy, though it was in sotto voce and I was likely intended to hear it. My two apprentices, both disgustingly young, were plotting to take my scissors away at the first indication […]

New Apprentice: John Eads

New Apprentice: John Eads

Another has joined our growing list of indentured servants at Crataegus Bonsai, following the path well laid by Bobby Curttright and Andrew Robson. Bobby has since started his business in Portland, OR and Andrew is in his last month before freedom. John can feed you. He’s run a successful wood-fired pizza food cart in Portland […]

New Apprentice at Crataegus: Jarryd Bailey

New Apprentice at Crataegus: Jarryd Bailey

In the summer of 2016 a visitor from Tasmania dropped into our studio for a visit. He spent a few hours with us, and asked if by chance there were any openings in classes the next couple weeks. As it happened, there was an unexpected opening and we were able to spend three days in […]

Introducing Andrew Robson: New Apprentice

Introducing Andrew Robson: New Apprentice

Only a couple weeks out of graduate school, Andrew Robson began his apprenticeship at Crataegus Bonsai in Portland. He’s been here since June 2016. Andrew’s background is in music, with a Master’s degree from the Yale School of Music. While in school there he performed at the New York Philharmonic’s New Music Biennial, among other […]

Matt Reel finishes 7 years and 9 months…

…apprenticing with Shinji Suzuki! Are hats are off to you, Matt, this is a huge week for you! If any of you remember the ridiculous, stressful stories from my book Post-Dated about the life of the apprentice, well, how anyone could have done that for nearly 8 years is simply ASTONISHING to me, and it […]

Big Juniper Project: ‘The Fish’: Part III: Finis!

Big Juniper Project: ‘The Fish’: Part III: Finis!

This post is the third (and last!) of our three-day adventure with a Rocky Mountain Juniper. I’ve never done a day-to-day string of posts like this. Did you like it? If so I’ll try it again around the bend. Well. Bobby and I don’t smell like rotten eggs today, thankfully. After today’s styling the juniper […]

Big Juniper Project: ‘The Fish’: Part II

This post is the second about our work this week on a Rocky Mountain Juniper. Today both Bobby and I smell like lime sulfur, which, to the uninitiated, smells strongly of rotten eggs. We had splatters of this solution all over us. Thankfully I have no plans tonight. I was worried about getting a good […]

Bobby’s Summer Work

Summer is an interesting time in the bonsai calendar. Whether you have much to do or not depends on what you have in your yard. If you only have black pine that you’ve decandled, you can almost hire someone to water and take a two month break. If you’ve only got spruce, it’s almost the […]

New Long-Term Apprentice at Crataegus Bonsai

Bobby entered the ranks of indentured servitude this week. After certifying he could eat Mexican food indefinitely and showing an aptitude for weeding with tweezers, we made it official. The tradeoff being he teaches me about Pandora and other things useful to know in the 21st Century. Yay! But seriously, I hope to share more […]

Documentary Film of Bonsai Apprenticeship—

In early 2004, when my apprenticeship with Shinji Suzuki was only four months gone, a TV crew came to make a documentary on apprenticing in bonsai. They focused on the gaijin, me, and after a couple days of filming came up with this eight minute piece that ran on a local channel. Afterwards, quite a […]