Tuesday, April 22, 2008

the week-end seminar 'finding the potential in bonsai material' #1

After many years of watching and doing workshops and demos I found some striking deficits in the bonsai education system. In demos and workshops and books by and large the development of a given piece of material is taught. But way too often the piece of material is just not good and has almost no or very little potential. I found that way too many demos, even with big name artists, were poor because the material offered was lousy. I found that way too many folks come to workshops with high hopes and then it is just a matter of not destroying their expectations because the material they bring is not really worth the while. In tree critiques I found that way to many folks have spent many years only to present a pathetic little tree in the pot after all these years. The reason why it is pathetic is not so much their lack of skill but rather the lack of potential right on the outset. I was always aware that the most important skill was simply not taught. This is the skill to spot the right material, material with potential, to see what can be done with a given piece and what cannot be done.
Why is it that there are some folks who can walk through a nursery and spot the 'right' trees within a few minutes And the rest of the crowd has a hard time to find anything. Why is it that the same crowd walks through the forest and invariably the same guy finds more good trees than the rest together. Why is it that some folks have put together enormous collections of outstanding bonsai with very little money and the rest of the crowd has not accomplished much in thee same time frame even with spending more money. Is this all just a matter of luck? Not at all. A certain skill is required: to be able to see what can be done and then do it.
So the week-end seminar 'finding potential in bonsai material' was born after a couple of discussions with Peter Schmidt and Wolfgang Kaeflein. Peter Schmidt is an upcoming bonsaiist who has a strong organization and marketing background. Wolfgang Kaeflein is the man who has collected the most trees in the world. He must have collected between 50,000 and 100,000 in the past thirty years. We decided to place the seminar right in the bonsai paradise of Wolfgang Kaeflein in Neidelsbach, in the middle of Germany.
The seminar started out with more than an hour of theory.