I am going to be doing a class this weekend and I’m kind of excited about it. This is the first class in a while that we have really pushed, or at least since we’ve moved out to the Deland property.
I’ve been teaching classes all this time but I’ve never really managed to properly get the word out about them. I started teaching these classes in 2004 at the urging of my mentor and friend, Tom Zane. Our local club would have similar classes once or twice a year but the teachers there were beginning to get a bit tired of doing it and since I had a budding bonsai nursery in Florida they were excited to get some new blood teaching. Tom even gave me copies of his syllabus to learn from and about thirty books worth of slides, diagrams, and notes to help me get started.
My friend Mike Rogers also was helpful in that he had said no one was doing classes on a regular basis in the area. To say the least, I was a little intimidated considering I was primarily self-taught and had in fact only take a few one-on-one’s that Tom had been gracious enough to tell me about. But it was a lot different to actually be teaching and Tom and Mike were both extraordinarily helpful. Since the beginning, my programs have been tweaked over the years and today we have an 18 page syllabus. In the not too distant future we plan on adding PowerPoint presentations to it and making it a multi-part class to combine the beginner and intermediate class levels. So many students are left wanting more once they have completed our beginner class and I’d like to have a more structured environment for learning.
The PowerPoint will hopefully be something that will be introduced by the beginning of next year but our regular beginner class will be the mainstay to get people started with bonsai for sure.
This Saturday we have seven or eight people signed up so far and I’ve always attempted to keep the number at ten or under so that everyone gets the time and attention they deserve, especially since there is so much to learn. Students pick out their own trees (whichever one speaks to them) and then we talk about why they chose it and the potential that they saw in it. After that we discuss wiring and why it is a necessary skill to learn and use. After that we all get to styling!
I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone not enjoy this class and a number of students have become repeat customers for years to come. Since I started in 2004, many other capable artists have come up from the ranks and are also teaching throughout the state of Florida but I think we need more classes with more teachers and more students more often. This killer hobby (lifestyle) has been too much of a niche for too long. I think it’s poised to become mainstream and in the 24 years I’ve had trees in trays (bonsai) it has increased the awareness but we are still too small of a following.
I think once people realize how detailed and rewarding this art is they will be addicted just like me. We do classes every third Saturday and they are all day long (10AM to 5PM). When you’re ready to get into the art or just want to brush up on the basics call me or visit our website and we will get you signed up!