盆栽 Our first night at "Art of Bonsai" class with Master Walter Liew.
Tuesday evening was our first "Art of Bonsai" class with Master Walter Liew. The class is held at the Windward Community College Campus on Tuesday evenings and it's 8 sessions from 6pm-8pm. The cost of the course is $80 + $15 to Master Walter Liew for him to provide the proper tree. There were about 30 expected (about 10 more than he expected), but about 25 of us were actually there.
They provided name tags, a course itinerary, a brochure to Dragon Garden Hawaii Bonsai Culture Center/Museum of Living Art, and a 16 month calendar featuring 16 different "Artistic Bonsai with Style" styled by Master Walter Liew himself. I can't find any official website for Dragon Gardens in Waimanalo, Hawaii so I'll let you Google and search on your own.
The course started off with a lecture on the history and philosophy of bonsai. It was about an hour and a half of lecture and very interesting and entertaining. I am impressed by Master Walter Liew's speaking/lecturing skills. He does speak with a heavy Chinese accent, but makes him even more believable and intriguing. He also manages to plug a comedic one-liner about every minute or so. The lecture contains his personal experiences and why he's considered the master of bonsai as well as stories that he integrates to help the students understand the importance of knowing the history and philosophy of bonsai.
Here are some highlights of what I learned last night or just some important information about bonsai:
-Bonsai is popular because of Japan so it's commonly refered to as bonsai. -Originated in China about 3000 years ago. -Bonsai started in Japan about 700 years ago. -First documented in writing about 1100 years ago during the Tan Dynasty. -Bonsai (盆栽) is the Japanese pronounciation. -Penzai (盆栽) is the Chinese pronounciation, of course the characters are the same. -Penjing is an art form that umbrellas over the penzai or bonsai art. -Penjing covers forests, bonsai, flower arrangement and rocks. -Feng Shui started in China about 2700 years ago. -Feng Shui started in Japan about 800 years ago. -Zen/Buddhist Monks originally practiced bonsai because they would use hard to get leaves or branches from trees that were located all over China for medicines or herbs. It would sometimes take days for the monk to travel to the mountain that has a particular tree growing. This is what started the idea of bringing the tree back and growing it in a pot. -盆 (bon or pen) means pot. -栽 (sai or zai) means plant. -Bonsai became popular in 1829 when Japan brought bonsai to a world trade show in America. Then to another world trade show in Europe. This is how it became widely known as a Japanese culture or art form. -Most bonsai that is not artistically created with style by a true master of the art would be considered a "junk tree in a pot" to a true master of artistic bonsai. Even though it could seem to be a nice bonsai to some who claim to be bonsai masters with decades of practice. -Japan's style of bonsai is regular "bonsai". Japan's history and experience with bonsai doesn't go back far enough for them to create "artistic bonsai with style" and cannot fall under the umbrella classification of "peng-jing". -Properly styled bonsai will create happiness. -When monks began creating pensai/bonsai for China's royalty 2700 years ago, that's when they began to realize that the potted tree in the interiors would provide fresh air and health. This began the feng shui and zen practices.
Those are the things I have decided are important from the first lecture. Master Walter Liew has been practing the art and style for over 55 years and he says he's now 74 years old and in good health because of his 700+ "premium" bonsai at his Dragon Garden Center. He says that he is know internationally as a master of bonsai with style. My google search of his name seems to back up his claim. The pictures of his 16 bonsai in the calendar also prove his claim. Most collections in books with pictures will be a compilation of several "master's" bonsai work. It's unheard of to have so many bonsai of this quality, style and beauty come from one master.
I look forward to the next class which won't be until 10/2 because Master Walter Liew left for China this morning and won't be in town next week. He's going there for quality trees for bonsai and other supplies.
I'll keep you posted on the bonsai. I'm so excited and seems like a long wait until the next class!!!