Rebooted Collection and Rebooted Mind Set

RyanFrye

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It's been a while since I've posted here and it's been a while since I've had an interest in this art. But it's good to be back. About a year ago I started going through some hard ships that took all of my time and mental energy. I lost my desire to take care of my collection. I didn't want to try to sell my collection off piece by piece and I didn't want it to just wither away either because of my lack of interest. Eventually I called a local bonsai friend and let him name a price for the entire collection pots and all. It all belongs to him now save my giant crape myrtle that he kindly agreed to take care of for me should my situation change. And I hung on to one pine tree that may or may not survive....

My situation has changed along with my mind set concerning any collection I may or may not have in the future. Before I was willing to take on any plant material that had potential and hope that in 5 - 10 years I would have something worth displaying. I had this mind set for 10 plus years. I would spend so much time and money developing material with potential that I rarely reached my goal. While I found pleasure in this approach my time off from the art has allowed me to reflect on it in a more detached way. It helped me realize that that isn't what I really wanted out of this art at all. I want the kind of trees you see displayed at the best shows. The kind of trees that have been fussed over for years and years and hours and hours to get every detail just right. The kind of trees that spark your imagination and inspire.

Moving forward I will need to accept that I may only have one tree (or if I am lucky a few) for the rest of my life to avoid cluttering my new mindset in bonsai with material that ultimately just distracts me from refining the best of the best of what I've got.

Maybe I'm at the point where one goes from collecting as many trees with potential as possible in order to satisfy some egotistic desire, to actually focusing solely on the art for the sake of the art and for the art alone....

Anyone else ever felt this way?
 
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JudyB

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I am glad that you found the call to come back albeit on a different pathway. I too am in the process of shrinking my collection to fewer better trees. I've been giving the trees with no (or little) potential to friends, maybe they'll get hooked, and I'll have added to the ranks. My sister is coming to my house this year in a week, and I'll part with the rest of the dregs.

I don't think I could ever have just one tree, it would mean being extremely patient as you'd only be able to work on that tree when it was ready.

So kudos to you that you are ready for that kind of stillness in bonsai.
Hope you find the tree of your heart.
 

Gene Deci

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I just want to say that I am very sorry for your hardships. But it sounds like you have come through all right and are a very resilient guy. I think your post touches on feelings that most of us have had at one time or another. I started on my collection almost 20 years ago and although I have lost most of the early ones, I have some trees that are becoming presentable. I find that very satisfying but the fact is after all these years, I still do bonsai mostly because I like doing it. I enjoy the time I spend working on my trees as much as I enjoy the results (although they are in some ways inseperable) . But the bottom line is that you should do what makes you happy. There are no right or wrong reasons for doing bonsai. In fact, I think the diversity of approaches enriches the whole enterprise.
 
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Bonsai Nut

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This is very common. We were just talking about this in a separate thread where it seems that the more experienced people become, the fewer trees they have, but the trees they DO have look nicer.

I have too many trees right now. Some of them are for fun, or experimenting on, or growing out, or for grafting, or whatever. My collection of what I consider true "bonsai" is actually rather small - since they require a lot of care, expensive pots, etc. Over time I expect I will add one or two bonsai per year (maybe) while I will lose several pre-bonsai or grow-out trees. Good news is that I have limited my space to a certain square footage of my back yard - and refuse to grow beyond this space.

I should also add that assessment of quality has gone way up, so my collection "shrinks" just because I look at my trees much more critically.
 

Bill S

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This is very common. We were just talking about this in a separate thread where it seems that the more experienced people become, the fewer trees they have, but the trees they DO have look nicer.

I have too many trees right now. Some of them are for fun, or experimenting on, or growing out, or for grafting, or whatever. My collection of what I consider true "bonsai" is actually rather small - since they require a lot of care, expensive pots, etc. Over time I expect I will add one or two bonsai per year (maybe) while I will lose several pre-bonsai or grow-out trees. Good news is that I have limited my space to a certain square footage of my back yard - and refuse to grow beyond this space.

I should also add that assessment of quality has gone way up, so my collection "shrinks" just because I look at my trees much more critically.

Well said.
 

Ang3lfir3

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AWWW!!! we missed you Ryan!!! glad to have you back ...

I am also glad to hear you have changed your mindset as it seems to have energized you in some ways... that is good...

1 bonsai or 10,000 bonsai ... just as long as it's not 0 bonsai :)
 

pjkatich

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I'm glad to hear your back in the saddle again Ryan.

I look forward to seeing your new trees when they are ready.

Cheers,
Paul
 

John Ruger

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Maybe I'm at the point where one goes from collecting as many trees with potential as possible in order to satisfy some egotistic desire, to actually focusing solely on the art for the sake of the art and for the art alone....

About as profound a statement as they come.
 

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