Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Gather round for the one, the only, the Big Instant Bonsai Demo Extravaganza!
Who among us hasn’t heard the term ‘instant bonsai’, or even been accused of it at one time or another? But what exactly is it, and why is it so bad? In this installment of the Bonsaipiece Theatre series, I enlist the aid of one of my lovely assistants – a juniper from the JBG, and try to find out. So without further ado, I give you – Instant Bonsai!
As written in this earlier post, every styling session with a tree is part of a much larger, ongoing process, and we need to find that fine (and often vague) line between achieving the best possible result in each session, and forcing ourselves on a tree.
Virtually all the great bonsai you see in pictures, exhibitions, videos, and what-not, are the result of a slow and determined process which leaves the tree plenty of room for its own expression. But we almost never see that. Because we can’t! How can you show a years-long process in one photo? Or in an exhibition? Or in a demo?
But it’s exactly that process that adds the unique and intangible beauty of a bonsai – it’s natural aging and structure. Without it, all we have is a contorted tree.
What I’ll do over the next year or two, is try to work with the tree in the video to create the same general shape, but with proper structure. Then, we’ll be able to compare the images side-by-side: one as instant bonsai, and the other the product of a longer styling process, made in partnership with the tree.