The Village is like
Amazing connections are found between forest trees. Older trees inadvertently support their progeny using webs of fungus called mychorrhiza. Fused roots of clustered trees share sugars, enhancing the strength of them all. And a whole community of non-tree life is supported by this. In simple fact, a forest is much greater than the sum of its parts, and so is the Village. We could work like many trees, isolated, far from one another, but we wouldn’t be able to share nice funguses or sugars...or, in our case, ideas and inspiration. In the Village we join forces to learn from one another. We strengthen our work and dream better. We share our visitors. And we add to our local community in many ways. We connect with each other to be better grounded and grow stronger, like any smart tree.
The seed comes from Japan... The Portland Bonsai Village was inspired by Omiya Bonsai Village in Japan. Omiya’s history is the stuff of legend. Starting in the early 1920’s about 20 bonsai masters went to Omiya to build their gardens. With so many bonsai professionals in one place, Japan now had a ‘home’ for bonsai. Anyone interested in the art knew that they could find a tree or a professional service in Omiya Bonsai Village. Such a large flow of customers to Omiya brought in business for everyone, took their work up a notch, and they were able to develop specialties. Although many of the nurseries are now closed, some of the most famous ones are still there.
Portland Villagers like Matt Reel and Michael Hagedorn apprenticed under masters who themselves studied in Omiya Bonsai Village, and so Portland Villagers are essentially recreating the situation that nurtured their teachers in forming a new Village in the United States. We are the 3rd generation from Omiya’s founders, now far beyond the shores of Japan.
We grow from our roots... Like Mr. Shimizu, Mr. Kato, and Mr. Murata, the founders of Omiya Bonsai Village, our vision is to enable the prosperity of bonsai artists and enhance the experience of visitors. Villagers feel that this alternative way of sharing bonsai, by bringing visitors into the backyards of professionals like Omiya did, yields very broad and deep educational opportunities. Omiya's transcendent history speaks for itself.
Why does this benefit students, to take one example? When the teacher travels, much less is learned than when the student travels. Although not easy to communicate why, this is almost a truism, and not just for bonsai. If a surgeon were to teach about surgery in your kitchen, you really wouldn’t learn as much as if you studied in a surgery room. Absorptive study in the most conducive environment is key. And the Village is centered on this idea.
Our branches reach ever outward... The gust of wind from our spectacularly successful 2015 Indiegogo campaign, which has raised $20,650 to date, helped us to create this beautiful website and get our legs under us in lots of other ways. Thank you everyone for contributing! We hope you enjoyed the fun perks...
We are essentially a non-profit, and with very low administrative costs (annual website hosting and accounting) almost all of your donation will go to fund educational programs. If you’ve not seen the Indiegogo campaign yet, take a look and help us educate about bonsai: Donate to the Village!
And keep an eye on our blog, where we'll feature the evolution of our projects as well as the individual work of various Villagers.