Starting from scratch

grog

Shohin
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Problem/scenario: Nearest bonsai association meets about two and a half hours away. Nearest place offering any type of instruction is a little further. Taking time off work each month to attend meetings not really an option.

Possible solution: Start our own club! Living near Omaha NE I can't imagine it would be too difficult to find other people interested in bonsai. It's not exactly a booming metropolis but it should have some like minded individuals.

I've been leaving email addresses at all the local nurseries and any of the bigger box stores who have interested people working in the gardening sections. Starting to get a couple names. I imagine out of all the names I get maybe 1/10th would actually take it far enough to get involved with an organization. So yeah, this is all the easy stuff.

Now what the hell to do with these people? Pretty much all the advice I've read has said one of the first things you need to do is get yourself involved in a local organization. What do you do when the person getting the organization together knows nothing more than what he's read off the internet and figured out with a couple months chopping up some trees in a greenhouse? Seems obvious that outside demonstrators would have to be brought in but I imagine the cost of doing that every month would be prohibitive, especially for a new group to come up with. I'm curious to know if anyone has ever been in similar circumstances. Is it wise to get affiliated with an umbrella organization? Any advice on the financial side of starting something up? There are plenty of other issues I can envision but I don't want to create problems that might not arise.

Ugh logistics, I'm getting nauseous.
 

cbobgo

Mame
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the odds are that one of the people will be a bit more experienced than the rest. That person may need to take on the mantle of unoficial sensai and help the others along.

Bringing in a pro would cetainly help. You might be able to convince the owner of the nearest shop to come and set up a table to sell tools and stuff in addition to giving a little talk. Might even do the talk for free if he gets some good sales.

Set up specific topics to discuss at the meetings. Maybe assign folks to do some research in books or on the web and report on what they've found.

Plan a little show. Reserve some space at a public park or garden and have each member set up their trees. Spreads interest, draws more members etc.

Good luck!

- bob
 

grog

Shohin
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Thanks for the advice Dr. Bob. I really haven't heard of anyone local yet but may just need to get the word out more. Working on fliers to take to nurseries, we'll see if that yields any responses. There is one local place http://nebraskabonsai.com/ that I'm trying to contact, hopefully they'll be able to provide some direction.
 

Tachigi

Omono
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Grog, Usually (not always) if you pick a person who theoretically has the most experience its more often than not the blind leading the blind. Some local organizations around me that formed did the following.

They set up there club dues to support a local or out of town artist, nothing astronomical. Enough for a evening or afternoon workshop. They did two workshops during the year on in the spring and one in the fall. After each workshop they focused as a group on what was taught. Each supporting the other as to what was taught. The next workshop the instructor would come back and validate or correct what was learned. Then push further on.

It worked for these groups by not having bad information passed back and forth in side the group. One group has been doing this for about 4 years and now have some more experienced people involved. They have decided to cut back to one workshop with that instructor and branch out to another with the other workshop to broaden there horizons. This method could work in your scenario.
 

grog

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Thank you for the idea and warning of "blind leading the blind". Perpetuating mediocre, misleading, or downright bad information/technique is one of the worst problems I see coming up. The purpose of the meetings as I see it is to elevate the participants' skill level by showing them more that can be done with their trees. The catch to that is if the participants only posess average experience/training/mojo/whatever then that is all the higher the rest of the group will achieve. People being the lovely creatures we are I could then see the meetings devolving into debates over whose half assed ideas are superior.
 

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