Four Seasons with the Kusamono of Carlos Hebeisen
Kusamono and photographs by Carlos Hebeisen
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When you ask Carlos Hebeisen from Switzerland what influences have shaped his life, he very quickly names four topics; bonsai, Japan, Kusamono, and ceramics. Considering this, we decided that In the place of the usual bio, we would instead explore the influences Carlos credits with shaping his life and his outlook on the world of bonsai.
In the very beginning, there was a pair of bonsai-scissors in a wooden box.
They were a present, a nice set, but he did not know how to make use of them. One day he decided to sign up for a beginner's bonsai workshop. The day was not overwhelming at all, but the fire for bonsai begun to burn within him.
Bonsai personalities who later influenced his bonsai life were Hotsumi Terakawa, Hideo Kato, and Shigeo Kurosu, one of the very artistic bonsai masters of Japan. In addition, there was Fumiko Kato, meeting her changed his bonsai life dramatically. Of course, there were also his masters, Nobuyuki Kajiwara and Natsuo Kobayashi, from whom he could learn so much about bonsai and all that it entailed.
Japan, the country, its culture, its people became a turning point in his life. On his first journey to Japan, he discovered the bonsai culture and traditions and he visited the nurseries of Saburu Kato, Kunio Kobayashi, and Kimura, as well as many other places. Highlights of this journey for Carlos were visits to the Kokufu Ten exhibition at the Metropolitar Art Museum in Tokyo and Takagi's Bonsai Museum.
Since his second journey, he has fallen forever in love with Japan. For Carlos, two cultures have mingled, a relationship and two girls were the result and he is proud of his children who can live in both countries and speak both languages fluently.
By the end of his first journey to Japan, he could visit the small garden of Fumiko Kato in Omiya. He was very impressed, as he had never before seen such beautiful things. This was actually his first encounter with Kusamono. Murata's Book “Four Seasons of Bonsai” later showed him the path to take, while Japanese books about Kusamono and a second visit to Fumiko's new garden gave him the ultimate kick in the right direction. He has also learned a lot about Kusamono and Display from Natsuo Kobayashi.
Since then Carlos has spent quite a lot of time with his Kusamono collection. It was well worth the time because, after a few years, some of his Kusamono have reached an excellent level of maturity.
Another passion for Carlos is ceramics. In the beginning, it was just a hobby, a change to his daily work. Then he started to import Bonsai pots from Japan and he wanted to learn more about bonsai pots and ceramics.
He did intensive training in a ceramic class, had a wonderful workshop with Takeshi Yasuda, and good discussions with Yang Seung-Ho, a Korean potter living in Switzerland. It was he who told Carlos to go his own way, and that is what he finally did.
For his Kusamono Carlos used pots from Japan, from Bryan Albright, and from Horst Heinzlreiter. Although his shelves are full of pots, it was still sometimes difficult to find the right one. Therefore, he started to produce pots that he could not buy anywhere else and they were surprisingly unique. As many Kusamono-pots sold are rough or with thick walls, they are not really suitable for elegant grasses or plants. Because of this, he wants to focus in the future on elegant forms and lines as well.
Recently He started to sell his own pots “TAKAHAMA” on his website. The label “TAKAHAMA” is in homage to his wife, Yachiyo, because she pushed him to sell his own pots.
For centuries, pots and sculptures have been formed out of a clump of clay and the fascination with this medium is not over yet.