A question of spectatorship?
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Author:  Ana Veler [ Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:20 am ]
Post subject:  A question of spectatorship?

'I wonder how many keep an interest in bonsai as an art alone without considering the practice?'

Would it be possible to put together a sensible approximation to this from the records of attendance kept by bonsai organizations in a short list of representative western countries?

Author:  Will Heath [ Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bonsai Interest without the Practice

This is a tough one.

In the west things are much different than in the east. In the east, take Japan for example, there is a huge number of people who buy great bonsai trees but do not style or care for them, they hire a master to keep the trees in prime condition. Many times the masters board these trees and the client shows them at home or in shows from time to time. Other times the clients keep the trees at home and the master visits to care for them and keep them in top shape. These people will also hire a master to style or restyle a tree.

These people care for the art and have little if any interest in the craft of creating or caring for such trees. Then again, maybe they are just smart enough not to try to on trees that can go as high as a million dollars. ;)

But here is a chicken and egg question....Japan has a service industry in place, top names masters who provide these services, making it very easy for anyone with the disposable income to purchase such art without having to spend years learning how to care for it and years more learning how to keep it a masterpiece. Without such a service industry, do so would be impossible and there would be far fewer masters earning a living with bonsai, it would then be more of a hobby, not a profession.

In America and other western countries, there is not a service industry in place, hence there are very few collectors who only are in it for the art, it is impossible, unless you like dead trees. So we need a service industry, but such an industry can not grow unless there are people willing to pay for such services and the services will not come into existence until masters can make a living doing it...and so on.....

I think I know five people in the states that buy great bonsai and hire a master to care for them, they pay a professional to keep their collection in shape and , as you can imagine, this can be expensive.

Of course the major collections (and some smaller ones) pay a "curator" to care for and manage bonsai, but this is not quite the same thing.

Author:  Ana Veler [ Sat Dec 05, 2009 6:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A question of spectatorship?

A quick note:
I came on this model of 'shared ownership' twice since the posts above: once in rumors of failed business experiments here, and in a tantalizing collection of bonsai records [highlight 'hospital' HERE ]. It would seem that at least history vindicates common sense!

Author:  Will Heath [ Sun Dec 06, 2009 12:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A question of spectatorship?

failed business experiments?

Author:  Ana Veler [ Sun Dec 06, 2009 4:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A question of spectatorship?

Two landscape businesses have tried to make bonsai part of their offerings without much luck. There may be more to the story, but not that I know of.

Author:  Will Heath [ Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A question of spectatorship?

Oh, I see, here as in your area as opposed to here as in here at AoB.


Author:  Carl Bergstrom [ Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A question of spectatorship?

Hi Ana,

I know of some high-end landscape people who do offer equally high-end bonsai services. They both locate great trees (material I can only dream of!) and then care for the trees for their clients. I can't speak for whether it is purely a labor of love or also a sustainable business model, but it isn't unheard of.

Best regards,

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