Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bonsai School

Bonsai School
by Craig Coussins
ISBN1402703686 HC pp.256
Published 2003
Sterling Publishing Co, Inc

Each part of Bonsai School examines the techniques required to create a bonsai in depth. Part one and thus, the two opening chapters explain the history of the art of miniaturizing trees. Craig has worked closely with Bonsai Historian Robert Baran to tell the true history of bonsai, thereby clearing up some of the myths and misinformation that are occasionally put forward.

Part two consists of four chapters that together form a structured course in how to create a bonsai, covering popular methods and techniques, as well as trees suitable for bonsai culture.

The third part of the book builds on an explanation of bonsai techniques and styles with a series of photo essays that systematically cover many bonsai-creating techniques. The fourth part of the book explores those areas of interest that are associated with bonsai, namely suiseki, Chinese viewing stones, pots and tools.

The book is well illustrated and contains a good section on tree selection for bonsai, other than that it is a bit disappointing. The section on pest and diseases is shallow in my opinion. The emphasis of the book seems to be placed on going “gaga” with the historical inspiration and pretty pictures. It does have a good section on styling techniques by Michael Persianno and Bill Valavanis, in the meantime it leaves the reader flat. I awaited this book with great anticipation after reading about it on Craig’s site. Totally Bonsai by the same author will provide more to the novice than Bonsai School in my opinion. A good read which belongs on the coffee table vice a reference library.

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