A Good Read From Dan Robinson

The Excerpt below is from Dan Robinson’s “The Robinson Addendum.”  If you’re not familiar, I guess you can say he is a legend of sorts……of American Bonsai.  Dan’s also the founder of the American Bonsai School.

He’s been at it for over about 50 years now.  Collecting and working native, Good Ole American trees!

His trees are some of the most natural bonsai trees you will see out there.  He also has trees in the National Arboretum.  His work is stunning.

The trees are not perfect per se, do not look like anything else, and most importantly he embraces the flaws and does everything he can to avoid leaving scars and evidence of humans working on the tree.

I’m no where near his level, but this is what I strive for.

Don’t get me wrong I like the work these “new guys do (without mentioning names), but to be honest how many Rocky Mountain Junipers or evergreens can you look at before you forget there are other trees on this continent?

Dan’s approach is one I believe in.  His goal is to connect with the tree and see what it wants to become, take it there and leave no footprint.  Huge feat, but I think he does a great job.

He’s not in it for the money, he does it to make trees great and it shows.

Anyway enough of my mouth………here is the excerpt below, and definitely use the link at the end of this post to read the writing in it’s entirety.

“Here I must develop and articulate the four principles of Bonsai design and creation which permeate my productions. I call them principles rather than rules just as I prefer the term teacher to master; there is something sinister about “Rules and Masters.” My principles of Bonsai are as follows:

1. All trees deserve to have deadwood, and it’s best when sculpted and refined to be a value-added element to the tree.

2. All man-made pruning scars are inappropriate and ugly; no dreaded bulls eyes, please.

3. All trees deserve crooked, gnarly, undulating branches.

4. Wire training is essential to bonsai control and design. Try not to encumber a tree with needless wire, use guys and pulls when possible in lieu of heavy wire.

I have followed these principles for many years. As guidelines for bonsai creation I find them useful and stimulating. By employing these guides, my creations have a natural, almost an unman-made quality. To emulate nature and succeed is a thrill. To have trees that have been endlessly altered and sculpted and look so natural is a profound reward.”   – Dan Robinson


Read The Robinson Addendum Here


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