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Matt Reel styles a juniper in KINBON

The last time we talked about Matt Reel he’d just finished a staggering 7 year 9 month apprenticeship with Shinji Suzuki. When I opened my January 2015 issue of the Japanese bonsai magazine Kinbon, there was Matt, standing next to a very fine juniper that he’d worked on as an apprentice. If you figure Matt is about 6’million”, this is a very big juniper.

Recently Matt has become a Portland Bonsai Villager. He came to Portland willingly, which is better than the fight and tussle it would have been had he come unwillingly. We’re glad to have him, as he expands our professional network considerably.

Enjoy the photos of Matt’s work!

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Photo Shoot in Germany

Two years ago I fell out of the sky and landed in Germany. Actually that’s not quite accurate, I rolled in by train from Prague, after falling out of the sky in Vienna. Obviously I’ve forgotten some of the details. In any event, once there (in Germany) I did a photo shoot for the bonsai magazine, Bonsai Art. The shoot happened at Bonsai-Zentrum, a large, full-scale bonsai nursery run by Wolfgang and Ingo Klemend. The subject was a root-connected European Larch, collected by the Klemends in the Alps some years before.

The editor of Bonsai Art, Ivo Drüge, generously gave me the thumbs up to republish part of the article here. Those of you who speak German will be at an advantage with the captions. The words look just lovely visually, being the language of Goethe and Rilke and all, but I’ve spared you the body of the text. There were rather a lot of them. I hope you enjoy the photos.

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Gary Wood Seminar

 Gary has a deeply whimsical, treeish wisdom, as if Mark Twain and Demeter, the Greek goddess of agriculture, had had a love child. He does look a bit like Twain, doesn’t he?

Gary has a deeply whimsical, treeish wisdom, as if Mark Twain and Demeter, the Greek goddess of agriculture, had had a love child. He does look a bit like Twain, doesn’t he?

My apprentice Bobby Curttright and I were looking forward to this all month! Long time friend Gary Wood came west to share his tree wizardry with us in a seminar last weekend. I always thought his last name was a karmic promise…

Gary’s knowledge of trees, their inner workings, and how they respond to stimuli including sharp bonsai implements is nothing short of encyclopedic. And he’s an inventive, nearly prophetic thinker. For one, his own observations had him almost ten years ahead of the research on the role of auxins and sugars in determining plant growth.

A dozen lucky folks from the Northwest converged on my studio for Gary’s fact-filled, humorous day.

 Gary in the backyard on his seminar day. He enjoyed my mug collection. The cats enjoyed hiding his glasses. We all enjoyed his teaching.

Gary in the backyard on his seminar day. He enjoyed my mug collection. The cats enjoyed hiding his glasses. We all enjoyed his teaching.

 Maestro Wood often led 50 ft. ‘field trips’ out into the grounds when he wanted to point out something on a tree.

Maestro Wood often led 50 ft. ‘field trips’ out into the grounds when he wanted to point out something on a tree.

 It was a great fun day! We’re all still nibbling on your thought-provoking presentation. Thanks Gary-

It was a great fun day! We’re all still nibbling on your thought-provoking presentation. Thanks Gary-

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Portland Bonsai Village gets on the design board

 Although I’m not sure we can deliver on the dinosaurs, our planning team was quite taken with the idea of terraced bonsai growing fields, with a big fan to keep bugs and frost away. Very nice.

Although I’m not sure we can deliver on the dinosaurs, our planning team was quite taken with the idea of terraced bonsai growing fields, with a big fan to keep bugs and frost away. Very nice.

The Portland Bonsai Village is being built! Well…not of lumber, really, but with big ideas and cool programs. In the meantime, here’s a wonky prelude…

Take a look at this virtual tour of possible Villages. Vote for your favorite! Or suggest alternatives…

 Not sure if this was in a construction phase or a deconstruction phase. Will inquire. Likely to have a fair number of curious goats. Tall bonsai fences a must.

Not sure if this was in a construction phase or a deconstruction phase. Will inquire. Likely to have a fair number of curious goats. Tall bonsai fences a must.

 The perfect Village design for those deeply worried about attacking aficionados with greatly differing views on bonsai aesthetics.   

The perfect Village design for those deeply worried about attacking aficionados with greatly differing views on bonsai aesthetics.

 

 Deeply woo-woo, very Portland, definitely some farm-to-table restaurant possibilities. Roof-top bonsai gardens. For those who prefer the newest trends.

Deeply woo-woo, very Portland, definitely some farm-to-table restaurant possibilities. Roof-top bonsai gardens. For those who prefer the newest trends.

 This version is likely to be popular, since it’s assumed most visitors to the Portland Bonsai Village would be coming here primarily for romance.

This version is likely to be popular, since it’s assumed most visitors to the Portland Bonsai Village would be coming here primarily for romance.

 Our next option is a bit remote, reached only by donkey on a rather narrow path. Somewhat monastic. Bonsai yogis will appreciate.

Our next option is a bit remote, reached only by donkey on a rather narrow path. Somewhat monastic. Bonsai yogis will appreciate.

 Chagall thought a village should look like this. Complete with goats.

Chagall thought a village should look like this. Complete with goats.

Well, let us know what you think.

Stay tuned for a more substantive post in the near future offering a glimpse of what’s ACTUALLY being planned for the Portland Bonsai Village. Nothing with goats or tall fences, just for clarification…

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