We have a heaping handful of the nation’s premier bonsai artists, pot makers, stand makers, pre-bonsai nurseries, and yamadori tree collectors in the Village, covering the gamut of talents related to the creation and display of bonsai.
An educator and utilitarian potter for 25 years, Chris specializes in atmospheric firings using wood and sodium vapor kilns, which emphasize the marvelous sinuous, flowing forms of his clay work. Chris is currently employed at Mudshark Design and Production Studios in Portland, where he has been exploring the possibilities of bonsai containers with a variety of clays, forming methodologies, and firing processes.
Greg’s humor, encyclopedic knowledge of Pacific Northwest plants, and embarrassing stories about other Villagers is why we are lucky to have him as our Tour guide. In his bonsai work, Greg is becoming well known for his whimsical accent plants and inventive container choice, and as about the only chronically successful collector of manzanita and other challenging natives. His light spirit is great company for a day puttering about Portland.
Currently apprenticing with Michael Hagedorn, Bobby comes from the deep waters of the Omaha Aquarium, where he swam with sharks and seahorses, and is now on the solid, somewhat drier soils of bonsai. Showing a refined attention to wiring and a nearly obsessive love of antique bonsai ceramics, Bobby plans to remain in Portland and set up shop as a Villager. An enthusiastic supporter of the Village idea from the beginning, he played a central role in making it a reality. Following his 3+ years apprenticing at Crataegus Bonsai, Bobby plans to go to Japan to work periodically with Shinji Suzuki to polish off his studies.
Village founder Michael Hagedorn’s bonsai work bridges tradition and innovative design. Michael apprenticed with Shinji Suzuki, and is the author of the memoir ‘Post-Dated: The Schooling of an Irreverent Bonsai Monk’. Visitors to Crataegus Bonsai should expect to see unique slab compositions, with an emphasis on ‘Chojubai’ Dwarf Flowering Quince and Northwest natives such as Mountain Hemlock and Vine Maple. A quirky five-sided studio and a moss garden set the tone for a peaceful bonsai destination where visitors should expect to walk around with a cup of tea in their hands.
Austin is an award-winning furniture maker who also makes sublime bonsai stands. In his first year making stands they were featured in Bonsai Focus, and since then his work has caught the attention of the most serious bonsai practitioners for showing their bonsai. He brings his artist’s eye and craftsman skills to chart new territory in the world of bonsai stands, by honors the basic structure of traditional stands while expanding its expressive range with live-edge wood choices, stone inserts, and unusual woods. A busy and in-demand stand maker, Austin has rocketed to quick acclaim for his bold work.
Chris and Lisa Kirk
Quickly becoming one of the best-regarded nurseries for early bonsai development with their innovative ground-grown techniques, Telperion Farms is the labor of love of Chris and Lisa Kirk. Telperion is a sprawling nursery on a hill overlooking the Willamette Valley, and is one of the very best sources of ground-grown Black pine, Scots pine, and Shore pine. Telperion is also known for their Trident and Japanese maples, and also a large number of azaleas originally imported from Japan.
Long-time collector of western conifers, Randy is an icon of United States bonsai. He has amassed a huge number of collected Ponderosa and Rocky Mountain juniper for sale, as well as Limber pine, Engelmann and Colorado spruce, and Subalpine fir. Also offering ground-grown conifers and deciduous, Randy covers a wide range of raw stock for top-notch bonsai creation. His astonishing energy and productivity produces a constant flow of truly amazing yamadori trees into the bonsai community, which we now see in bonsai shows.
Matt returned from Japan in 2014 after a staggering 8 years apprenticeship with Shinji Suzuki. He joins us in Portland at the start of his professional career, filling out the Japanese-trained Village contingent to three. Matt is known for his broad expertise in working with a wide range of conifer and deciduous, as well as his knowledge of bonsai pots and bonsai display aesthetics. Matt’s highly refined styling of trees is making him in demand as a presenter and as a caretaker of bonsai for serious aficionados, which makes his light and playful manner all the more appealing.
Only a couple weeks out of graduate school, Andrew drove to Portland from St. Louis to start his apprenticeship in June 2016. His background is in music, with a degree in performance from the Yale School of Music. In addition to all his apprenticeship duties, Andrew has been the Director of the Portland Bonsai Village since his arrival here in Portland. Andrew’s energy, ideas, and enthusiasm make him a welcome addition to bonsai in Portland. Andrew has a deep passion for deciduous bonsai and our Northwest Native conifers.
A whimsical ceramic studio on the North Tours, Jan is a consummate artist with a wide range of ceramic offerings from sculpture to vessels and, yes, even some wonderfully inventive bonsai containers. Jan makes engaging wood-fired bonsai containers with unique shapes and subtle, organic surfaces that marry well with many types of bonsai. Legendary Art is also the place to find some very interesting and useful accent pots.
Portland Japanese Garden
Considered by many to be the finest Japanese garden outside of Japan. A delight at any time of year, the Portland Japanese gardens has a spectacular vantage overlooking the city and Mt. Hood in the distance, with a five garden suite comprised of a tea garden, flat garden, sand and stone garden, and a mesmerizing strolling pond garden leading to a quiet and peaceful walk along a stream bordered by an old Douglas Fir forest. Not to be missed. Closed from Sept. 8, 2015 - March 2016. Tour offering: Inspiration
The largest and oldest bonsai nursery in the Seattle area, Bonsai Northwest was started as a family business by John’s mother Sharon many years ago. Now a large complex of greenhouses and outdoor growing areas, the nursery is known for bonsai in all levels of development, from ground grown trees to bonsai many years established in a pot. Known particularly for their broad selection of bonsai containers. Also a center for bonsai education, John teaches classes in the main greenhouse and also generously hosts study groups with other teachers such as Boon Manakitivipart and Michael Hagedorn.
Pacific Bonsai Museum
Widely considered the best public bonsai collection on the West Coast, the Pacific Bonsai Museum is famous for its exemplary bonsai from many of our best-known teachers in the United States as well as the Asian Pacific. The Museum is unique in American public collections. David DeGroot, the Museum’s first curator, helped design the backdrop cubicles, and hunt down the beautiful and old bonsai to populate it. Inventive new curator Aarin Packard’s background is in museum studies, and worked as Assistant Curator in the National Bonsai Museum in Washington, DC for 7 years. His innovative educational exhibitions have already made him a voice in American bonsai.
Known for his maverick style and love of carving, Dan Robinson is famous for his collected trees from the western United States, and his unique garden on the Puget Sound. The sprawling seashore bonsai garden, landscaped by Dan himself in a bulldozer, has been an attraction for bonsai visitors to the Bremerton area for decades. Dan brings his respect for naturalness to his bonsai and his garden, where one can expect to see a massive display of conifers from North America, collected by Dan himself. Dan also has a large new teaching facility where classes are offered on the garden grounds, where visitors can find ground-grown trees and collected trees for sale.
Board of Directors
Andrew Robson - Director