Bonsai Study Groups - How to do that thing you do.

Ironbeaver

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I've been attending Bonsai Club meetings on a monthly basis, and am enjoying them. Sometimes I feel like doing more tree work with others, possibly closer to home (club meetings are held about an hour and a half travel time each way.) I've been thinking about getting a study group together and thought I could get some tips and advice here.

So, for those who are in groups, here are some questions:
  • Where do you meet?
  • How often?
  • What sort of things do you do?
  • Do you focus on a specific species? Technique?
  • Do you NEED an advanced bonsaist or can some intermediates and beginners get by on their own?
  • Any advice on starting up?
 

leatherback

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I am in 2 groups.

One is a more social group with a lot of chatting. This is not the best group for learning. I stay a member more to support the local societies.
The other is one where there is hardly chatting. Everyone works on trees and all look at what others are doing.

No focus at all. We invite a professional bonsai styler every once in a while with both groups. Both groups have some experienced members who can help.

Start and get going.
 

JudyB

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I have just started a study group for next season. We have 4 members and will have 3 sessions (spring summer and fall) with a professional. (Owen Reich) I've done single instruction with him for a couple years, and last year had another person come to two sessions. I figure this way I get extra sessions for less cost, and others can also get involved. Will see how it works out, we may add an extra session and maybe one more person if we all decide to go that direction.

We do things based on the season and the trees, mostly we just work on our trees.

If you start one, make sure that all the parameters are laid out to members and have one person collect the $$ up front, so if someone decides to opt out of a session the rest of you aren't going to have to come up with the extra. They can always "sell" their spot to another participant if they can't make it. Make sure you know exactly what your guest artist or teacher needs and be prepared to provide lodging and meals, and travel expenses as well as a fee, just make sure you get all those details up front.

Make sure you have plenty of table work space and a sheltered place to work if the weather is bad. Lots of good lighting, and be prepared also to be a host to the group as well as working on your trees. (keeping the food and drinks available...etc.)
 

Bonsai Nut

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Our group has not met in a year... though I get together with members for all the major shows and exhibitions. We did a road trip to Fresno last December, went to the Bonsai-a-thon in February, went to Viet Bonsai Today show this summer and the GSBF show last month. We also talk via email about trees or whatever.

It is easy to get distracted with other things. I think it is important to set a schedule and get people to commit to hosting. You should try to meet at least once per quarter. Less frequently and it is hard to get to know people.
 

River's Edge

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I started a group about two years ago. The purpose was to share and progress. Club meetings can be a difficult time to focus on serious Bonsai. So I invited a few of the more serious Bonsai people locally to work together. I am fortunate enough to have a larger workshop space that is set up for Bonsai, so we meet at my place. It is very informal and we try to gather once or twice each month. Dates and times are picked that do not conflict with club meetings, conventions, intensives and or travel plans. It is a very experienced group with a fair amount of knowledge and training. We support each other and learn from each other. Typically we work together for 3-4 hours but have been known to go all day at times. My advice would be to let it evolve to meet the needs of the group and have fun.
 

markyscott

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Do something collaborative. The most fun I had with my group was when we put a shohin display together for the state convention. We pitched in on the stand and we all contributed trees for the display.

Scott
 

JudyB

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Do something collaborative. The most fun I had with my group was when we put a shohin display together for the state convention. We pitched in on the stand and we all contributed trees for the display.

Scott
I like this idea. Maybe our group can do something like this, it'll see how we work as a group.
 

sorce

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Go under the AAC!

Pretty sure you meet all the requirements!

World Wide Blog with some neat stuff in place.

MKE Kev puts in mad legwork for the group.

They meet every month up there, round the world, each Chapter has a different MO.

It's weird Cuz I feel similair to everyone here....
But if you rip that ONE ME out of me....that ME ME...
It's like everyone is like that.

Where else can you find pictures of dudes in birthday suits with only trees to hide their junk?

Do something collaborative

Hell yeah!

Yesterday I was thinking about having a group over to wire trees, make pots for them, write and record a song in the same day.

I think that would be fun as hell!

Sorce
 

sorce

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I'm guessing I'd need either a broom style or a green helmet for this to work for me..

No no...

Intelligent conversation of the.....

You know... for Smoke!

Dirty Old Coon Hat Wearing ........

Lol!

Sorce
 

chicago1980

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Every Saturday at Hidden garden 9-5 I am there with sometimes 1 bonsai person or 15. Either way it is always fun!
 

coh

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Do something collaborative. The most fun I had with my group was when we put a shohin display together for the state convention. We pitched in on the stand and we all contributed trees for the display.

Scott
Good idea, but how did you divide up the stand after the show?
 

Eric Group

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I've been attending Bonsai Club meetings on a monthly basis, and am enjoying them. Sometimes I feel like doing more tree work with others, possibly closer to home (club meetings are held about an hour and a half travel time each way.) I've been thinking about getting a study group together and thought I could get some tips and advice here.

So, for those who are in groups, here are some questions:
  • Where do you meet?
  • How often?
  • What sort of things do you do?
  • Do you focus on a specific species? Technique?
  • Do you NEED an advanced bonsaist or can some intermediates and beginners get by on their own?
  • Any advice on starting up?
We meet at a friend's house right around the corner- he has a big garage/workshop in the back...
monthly
We work on trees, stage/ plan displays for up coming shows and shoot the shit
No
You NEED some people who know what they are doing or it is the blind leading the blind... maybe a good idea for beginners would be to all get a subscription to Mirai live or whatever and watch those together, talk about it and practice?
No advice for starting up except find some people who are good at Bonsai and beg them to let you hang out/ just keep showing up until they accept you.
 
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My two cents:
You should do it. I have a busy work schedule and two little children, driving 1.5 hrs (one way) to the local club meetings does not work. If there was a smaller more local group I would try to go more often.
Getting folks to join. We all go to the nurseries to drool over trees, yep you all know who you are! Most nurseries would be happy to post a flyer or two and even perhaps host.
 

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