Thursday, May 24, 2018

Advanced Bonsai Course Part 1 of Bonsai Empire is out

Part 1 of Advanced Bonsai Course
reflections of Walter Pall

Now the Bonsai Empire  video courses with Bjorn Bjorhom are definitely going into serious information. Books and almost all videos out there are only touching the obvious matters which are easy to describe. Even after decades of reading books and magazines the advanced bonsai practitioner still does not know or understand many things while he thinks he is. This is because in writing and with static pictures only so much information can be transported. I have personally studied thousands of pictures in magazines which tried hard to show how and why things are done. But they have mostly failed because of the sheer nature of the medium. A well done video can overcome these limitations. And these videos certainly do exactly that.

When looking at bonsai videos on the internet one soon gets tired of the usual amateurish ways they are done. We are all spoiled by professionally done movies on TV and other media and expect a certain standard - which usually is not met in the bonsai world. Bonsai Empire has again pleased me with very well done professional videos.

I tried to look at these with Linux Chrome and failed. After switching to Firefox they work smoothly.

The advanced to very advanced bonsaiist for whom these videos are made is usually eager to learn details about DOING things. I am personally very much interested in a philosophical and historical background as well as reflections about bonsai as an art form. The first part covers this very well. For those who are not so eager to start with this I suggest to skip the first parts "Philosophy" and "Aesthetics § Design" and go right into the practical parts. After this I strongly suggest, however, to to go back and thoroughly watch the first parts. The walks through nurseries and Japanese gardens alone is all worth it.

After forty years of studying bonsai one would think that everything was heard and said. This is not so. With keen interest I went through the whole six hours, trying to pick up information that was new to me. And I caught a lot of this. Even with matters where I have my own ideas it is very important to understand what other serious people think.

The practical part about conifers is of high value to the advanced and very advanced students in my eyes. Many details you will have heard or read about but after watching the videos you will finally understand them.

The broadleaved species part is interesting and revealing. One shortcoming in my opinion is that it is too much focused on the Japanese way of seeing these species, as if this was it and there is no other way. Since in Japan they do not collect broadleaved species from the wild there is no information about this aspect. Hopefully some more videos will go into this in the future.

Overall I can only recommend this advanced course to all serious bonsai practitioners. There is no better way in bonsai to invest a relatively small sum.

We are all looking forward to part two which is supposed to appear later on this year.