No matter your race, class, gender, religion, age or background, there is a living, earthly staple that transcends all boundaries and resonates with all beings; a Tree.
Nostalgic images of trees are carved deeply into our subconscious minds, whether we realise it or not.
Perhaps it was the broad and fluorescent neighbourhood giants we climbed as children, or the battered and twisted elders we walked amongst in the mountains. Whatever springs to mind when you think of a tree, hold onto it, as this is the inspiration we use in the art of making trees in miniature…
What is Tree Art? What is Bonsai?
Bonsai is the art of cultivating miniature trees in containers, to look like mature trees in nature.
We can create bonsai with any plant that demonstrates the appropriate proportionate characteristics and is able to have its roots disturbed for successfully growing in a container.
Bonsai are some of the most nurtured plants on earth, that will out live multiple generations of human beings, if cared for correctly.
The roots of bonsai can be found hundreds of years ago in China, where it was believed that Emperors wanted to replicate the beauty of their kingdoms in their own backyard. Bringing the mountain to them, so to speak. These miniature landscapes, known as Penjing would be carefully curated and regarded as a high status symbol amongst the ruling classes.
During the 11th and 12th century, cultural movement between China and Japan was on the rise. Traveling Zen monks who embraced a wide range of Chinese art and philosophy, brought with them to Japan the idea of cultivating miniatures trees in pots. This practice was quickly embraced and flourished within Japanese culture, by the 13th century, small trees were being cultivated by ordinary Japanese citizens.
Fast forward some hundreds of years, add the influence of Karate Kid on popular western culture (as well as other more credible influencers!) and bonsai is now a globally recognised, contemporary art form.
Bonsai is practiced by all ages, cultures and creeds, and this art form continues to engage and inspire its practitioners and viewers alike.
Today in Australia, the core principles remain; Hold a deep appreciation of the natural world. Implement design principles. Practice specific techniques, and with nature, curate mature trees, in a miniature form.