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"And the LORD God made ... trees that were pleasing to the eye ..." Gen. 2:9, New International Version.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Nine Minutes Well Spent

Bougainvillea. Best of Show, Mid-America 2011.
Ryan Neil startled me at one point, during the Exhibit Critique at the 2011 Mid-America Show in Chicago. Pointing to the bougainvillea to which he had awarded the "Best of Show" award, he said, "This would not be considered ready to show, in Japan." Huh? 

He went on to explain. The bougie has a very good design, that design has been established, and the tree's structure has been set. But, he said, while the primary branches are fine, the tree lacks much secondary and tertiary branching; the foliage mass needs to fill out further, to balance the visual weight of the trunk; and the layers of the
canopy need to be defined. So, while it deserves the award he gave it, a Japanese artist would not consider it ready to show for a few more years.

Many of you know that Ryan Neil spent six years in Japan, serving a standard apprenticeship under Masahiko Kimura and then staying for an extra year as an assistant at Kimura's request. Since returning to the USA, he has established his own bonsai garden, International Bonsai Mirai, within view of Mt. Hood in Oregon.

Bonsai mirai means "bonsai future" in Japanese, and Neil wants to make a contribution to that future. I very much look forward to seeing that contribution in the years ahead.

So what's the "nine minutes well spent?" This video, in which Ryan Neil introduces himself and his dream. It's well worth your time. :-)   Bonsai Mirai video

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