Robert Stevens workshop advice

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Robert Stevens workshop advice

Postby Hailun » May 21st, 2018, 12:10 pm

Some time ago I saw an article written by Robert Stevens about the standard of material which should be presented for a workshop to visiting bonsai masters.
Does anyone know where I might find his advice.
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Re: Robert Stevens workshop advice

Postby kez » May 21st, 2018, 3:51 pm

Will You be attending a workshop soon? Post a pic of your options and we can help you decide what to take
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Re: Robert Stevens workshop advice

Postby Hailun » May 21st, 2018, 4:24 pm

Yes going to the Canberra convention still to decide on a tree
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Re: Robert Stevens workshop advice

Postby shibui » May 21st, 2018, 6:51 pm

I read that article in Geelong bonsai club March newsletter. Not sure where they got it from.
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Re: Robert Stevens workshop advice

Postby isimiyaki » June 4th, 2018, 7:48 am

Hi-
Bonsai Society of Australia May 2018 Newsletter has some information relating to Robert Stevens advice for workshops.
It helps to gain the maximum benefits when doing a workshop
Enjoy
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Re: Robert Stevens workshop advice

Postby Lynette » June 4th, 2018, 8:21 am

It was on one of the facebook sites he uses. Not sure which one, but if you look up his facebook you might find it. If you ask him I am sure he will reply quickly.
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Re: Robert Stevens workshop advice

Postby treeman » June 4th, 2018, 4:27 pm

Hailun wrote:Some time ago I saw an article written by Robert Stevens about the standard of material which should be presented for a workshop to visiting bonsai masters.
Does anyone know where I might find his advice.

Maybe bring along an estrablished tree with lots of branches instead of a stick with 3 branches, 2 of which are dead! :palm:
Last edited by treeman on June 4th, 2018, 4:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Robert Stevens workshop advice

Postby treeman » June 4th, 2018, 4:32 pm

treeman wrote:
Hailun wrote:Some time ago I saw an article written by Robert Stevens about the standard of material which should be presented for a workshop to visiting bonsai masters.
Does anyone know where I might find his advice.

Maybe bring along an estrablished tree with lots of branches instead of a stick with 3 branches, 2 of which are dead! :palm:


Estrablished?? You know firm in the pot :lol:
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Re: Robert Stevens workshop advice

Postby Leigh Taafe » June 21st, 2018, 10:27 am

Here it is.......

copied and pasted


Bonsai Workshop
Have you been to a bonsai workshop conducted by international guest?
Have you ever been disappointed with a bonsai workshop you attended and why ?
I have been doing hundreds of bonsai workshops all over the world and I believe I had been disappointing many participants. That’s the reason I think I need to share with you, not only for those who are going to attend a bonsai workshop but also to the clubs who are going to organize workshops so you can gain the best benefit from the teachers and avoid disappointment of learning nothing.
From my experience, most of the participants are either over expected from a workshop or do not have learning target to the workshop. Many people are coming to a workshop with any material they have and expecting a nice bonsai to bring home; some are expecting the teacher to do the work for them on the material while the material is not ideal for a workshop. Some are coming with a very pre-mature material while they don’t even have a basic skill on wiring; but some are coming with an almost finished bonsai and do not know what they are exactly expecting from the workshop. So these people are either disappointed or happy but learn nothing from the workshop.
So before going for a workshop, especially workshops conducted by international guest teachers, there are few things need to understand :
• Materials
Preparing material for a workshop is very crucial, one needs to know which material fit to his purpose and works for his learning target in the workshop. In bonsai, there are different condition stages of material e.g.:
- Programming Stage. Pre-mature
The materials at this stage are not ideal for workshop because they do not have sufficient anatomical features to work on, it might be a stump with few shoots or simply a very young tree. Such material should be on a growing stage for long term programming, at least to let it grow to have more sufficient feature for styling; but unfortunately many people are coming to a workshop with such material expecting the teacher do something to make it into bonsai.
However, some intermediate or advance students might be able to use such material to learn specific design concept providing it is a complicated yamadori, then it can be used to learn how to find the hidden design potential, different design option; it is more about learning why rather than how. In this case, the student does not expect the technical aspect but rather learning the aesthetic instead.
- Styling Stage, including wiring skill.
The materials at this stage are those already have sufficient branches for styling process, looks rather wild with various design option. With such materials, the students can learn the design concept, the aesthetic principles including the technical aspect such as wiring, pruning and potting; so such materials are the best for workshop. The more complicated the better for learning something in the workshop.
- Refining Stage, including wiring, pruning skill and repotting/ pot selection.
Some students are coming to workshop with a pre-bonsai or almost finished bonsai without having clear objective of what he want to learn from the workshop. It will be absolutely a waste of chance for one to come with such material to a workshop conducted by international guest teacher, because not much he can learn neither the aesthetic nor the technical; unless he is simply expecting certain advice on restyling the tree or refinement technique or on pot selection.
Wiring technique can be learned from local club because come to an international guest teachers’ workshop to learn wiring is a waste of time and money.
• Teacher
Before coming to a workshop, one need to know who the teacher is, what his expertise is and what kind of knowledge or technique he can expect from him.
Some teachers may like to teach technical things in details and some have better knowledge in teaching advanced design concept and aesthetic principles.
By knowing the teacher, one can choose the material that works the best to learn from.
• Participant Level
One needs to understand his own level. Before coming to an international guest teacher workshop, he needs to have had sufficient basic knowledge of bonsai design and basic technique such as wiring and pruning.
Assuming a club will not invite an international teacher to just teach wiring or basic technique but to learn something more advance; so it can be frustrated for the student as well as the teacher if one comes with pre-mature material while he does not even know how to wire.
• Tools
Last but not least, one should come to a workshop with at least basic tools e.g. pruning shears, concave cutter, branch cutter, wire cutter and wires in different sizes.
Do not need to bring fancy tools while the material used does not need it.
So one should have in mind of what he want to learn, what he can learn and what he should prepare to learn before going to a workshop.
Before coming for a workshop, prepare the material accordingly in advance, do not select material on the spot. Many students come to a workshop organized by a nursery and try to select the material from the nursery stock just when the workshop is about to start. This is not a good way as he may not find proper material for the workshop that fit to his benefit.
Broadleaf (deciduous/ tropical) tree are the most difficult materials for workshop because they are unlikely conifers which can be simply bended and wired into nice shape. Broadleaf bonsai is about ramification structure which can only be obtained by long time process. Unfortunately, many broadleaf materials (especially at nurseries) are programmed instantly; most of the branches are cut too early which cause those branches stop growing thick.
Good teacher may tell you honestly to chop back all the branches and teach you how to properly program to obtain proportional ramification structure although this may be very frustrating; but some teacher are so friendly and try to make everyone happy by styling such material instantly, wiring and pruning every tiny branches into shape; but this may misdirect the student into wrong way of making good bonsai. So be very careful when selecting broadleaf tree material for workshop; always try to find one with many branches, the wilder the better !
So workshop is about learning something technically and conceptually, not a class to make bonsai instantly in few hours. Workshop is a class to practice, to make mistake and to learn, not an opportunity to have the international teacher to work on your bonsai while you learn nothing !
Cheers,
Leigh.
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Re: Robert Stevens workshop advice

Postby melbrackstone » June 22nd, 2018, 10:34 am

Thanks Leigh.

That's very illuminating.

I guess what it comes down to is bring a big bushy juniper or pine, eh?
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Re: Robert Stevens workshop advice

Postby Hailun » July 4th, 2018, 10:57 am

Thank you Leigh that is the one I was looking for. I have two trees in mind for the workshop, and this has confirmed my choice, will bring them both so Robert can work on the best.
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