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HomeBonsaiCollaborative Bonsai Work | Michael Hagedorn

Collaborative Bonsai Work | Michael Hagedorn

Bonsai is normally a solo endeavor. It’s that means right here, and it’s the best way we labored in Japan, too: one tree per work station per individual.

I’d been educated as a lone wolf artist in portray, in sculpture, and later in pottery, so this solo assumption felt pure. A rock band assumes a number of members, however bonsai bands are uncommon.

I by no means did any collaborative work till 2012. I needed to discover concepts that had been solely half-formed in my head. However I didn’t have the abilities to make them myself.

Within the early Seasonal lessons I discovered a variety of talent units. We had surgeons, architects, woodworkers, and engineers enroll. They possible didn’t know what they had been getting themselves into (sorry people!), however I spotted what a bounty I had there.


The primary experimental slab, 2012: twin trunk Mountain Hemlock on a nylon reducing board. (Tree pictures hyperlink to posts about how they had been made.)


One other of the early experiments: a Mountain Hemlock forest on a Corian slab, a brand new slab materials for us.

Initially, this collaborative factor didn’t go nicely. It was exhausting to get the lone wolf to run with the pack. Over time I got here to understand this fashion of constructing a novel bonsai.

I discovered it does assist to have a inventive captain. Pure egalitarianism isn’t greatest. I did discover, although, that helpers usually (normally) had higher strategies than I did. And so they positive might construct it higher than I might. I might present up within the morning with an concept, after which by the tip of the day they’d have made it a actuality.

Subsequent we tried one with an inside nylon body: a cascade Vine Maple.


Assembling the Vine Maple cascade inside help.


Attempting it out… We ended up remodeling this primary help try.

Affectionately referred to as ‘The Boot’, this Vine Maple was my first cantilevered tree.

Bushes that hung, quite than rested on a floor, then piqued my curiosity. It is a Shore Pine. I’d discovered that nylon might be simply bent with warmth, increasing the chances of the slab. Later we made a 3-D printed slab for this one.

One other hanging one, a Rocky Mountain Juniper trunk grafted with Itoigawa.

A return to the slab concept, with a Mountain Hemlock clump; this one barely levitated.

It’s unimaginable to think about any of those works ever arriving as absolutely fashioned as they had been with out the mixed efforts of my college students and apprentices.


A present mission with Erich. We’re bouncing concepts round for a metallic help so this pine could be displayed with no wall or put up.

One mission that I’m significantly keen on is my collaboration with Sergio Cuan for my e book Bonsai Heresy: 56 Myths Uncovered Utilizing Science and Custom. We’d determine on which chapters for example, after which Sergio got here up with hilarious ironic illustrations. The one one primarily based on my concept was the quilt, all of the others had been his. It was terrific enjoyable and I used to be delighted by Sergio’s willingness to be loopy with me. And—to underline the purpose of this put up—that e book could be solely half what it’s with out his wry presentation.

In the event you’re interested by collaboration and wish ultra-level inspiration, attempt the brand new Beatles documentary Get Again, directed by Peter Jackson. Many opinions canned this one, however I feel Rolling Stone bought it proper. This isn’t “Let’s have enjoyable with the Beatles for 2 hours”, politely packaged for the household viewers (on condition that it’s a Disney product that’s considerably wonderful). It’s a 6-hour odyssey—an enchanting, clear-eyed view into the messiness and joys of collaborative creativity. (Additionally, the paisley and different daring trend statements of 1969, oh my oh my, so price it!)



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