by Kaori Yamada

by Cheryl Petty -- February 2, 2009

This small jewel of a book is unabashedly feminine, with hot pink front and back matter pages and is laid out Western style, left to right and front to back. Kaori Yamada presents five arrangements for Spring, five for Summer, six for Autumn and five for Winter, and every page is covered with gorgeous color photographs.

For spring, blooming branches of prunus mume and hydrangea are combined with small accent plants. Summer shows zelkova, hosta and succulents. A pine arrangement is paired with a Hokusai woodblock print of pines and another arrangement includes a whimsical Hawaiian hula figure and sea shells.

Fall color dominates with branches of elm and beech, ginkgo, berries and grasses, and equisetum (horsetail rush) is paired with curled pines. My favorite is callicarpa bodeneri (Beauty Berry) violet berries paired with a red berry companion with clip-on miniature birds—exquisite!

For winter we have little conifers of cryptomeria and chamaecyparis, with osmanthus, a variegated holly, bamboo, fruited citrus and cactus. Pictured on the cover is a windswept raft of contorted pines with dashes of fern and a red blooming twig in moss.  Continue to article...

by Cheryl Petty -- February 2, 2009

After years crafting bonsai ceramics, Michael Hagedorn, author of the new book Post-Dated, The Schooling of an Irreverent Bonsai Monk, studied Japanese and landed himself a two and a half year apprenticeship with bonsai master Mr Shinji Suzuki in the small town of Obuse in rural Nagano Prefecture, Japan.

Michael says in his preface “ we classify most experiences simply: good, bad, fun.” And he explores our vocabulary, juxtaposing ideas like apprentice with seismic. He compares the powerful and micro-managing European guild system of the Middle Ages with the more independent and creative, parent and child-like Japanese apprenticeships, ‘shugyou.’ Like a parent, Mr Suzuki urges his apprentices to “ eat their vegetables.”  Continue to article...

by Kenji Kobayashi

by Cheryl Petty -- February 2, 2009

The title says it all with this very stylish, contemporary magazine/catalogue for the designer trade. Twenty pages are devoted to gorgeous full color still life photographs showing display options in the tea house, art studio, windowsill and other rooms. You can easily imagine you are in the young artist and his wife’s home, alternating with cameos of featured Keshiki Bonsai arrangements.

These pieces utilize much younger material than used for shohin to create scenery for viewing in our living space and is a cross between kusamono and mini-bonsai. Is is not Saikei and not shohin bonsai. The kanji characters for Keshiki can also be read as ‘keishoku,’ and means scenery or view.  Continue to article...