Wild Things Bonsai Studio

Dale Cochoy

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Some of the older bonsai enthusiasts in the group may have seen me around for quite a few years, but I am probably a new face to many on the talk groups.

A brief bit of my History:
I first started studying bonsai in 1978 when I had purchased a few bonsai for my wife who had seen pictures of some in a magazine article and had liked them. After the few we had began to suffer or die I decided I needed to learn how to take care of them. This was the beginning of a journey that has carried me through 30 years of my life.
In 1979 I began to work at General Electric Medical Systems and I found that a work buddy of mine had been doing bonsai for 3 years. He and I began working together and collecting North American trees together in the early 80's and collected retail material well into the late 90's. I studied bonsai with an accepted USA master during the mid-80's. Local bonsai club people at the Cleveland Bonsai Club kept asking us to sell our collected stock so we started a part-time business in 1989 and named it Wild Things Bonsai Nursery. My partner and I traveled to as many symposiums/conventions as we could while still working full time servicing medical x-ray equipment. We sold mainly rough stock we had collected and imported Japanese and Chinese trees. Our collected NE Ohio trees were used in MANY workshops and demos around the eastern USA.
We were also local distributors for an importer out of New York state who brought in Chinese trees and bonsai pots. We did this for a couple years .

In 1994 I bought out my partner and began to build a bonsai business full time. I renamed it Wild Things Bonsai Studio. I had a beautiful studio in a nearby town where I rented out half of an existing florist shop. I housed my retail trees in a wonderful old greenhouse that was moved to that site in the early 60's from the old TIMKEN estate near Canton, Ohio. My store carried a full line of trees, pots, tools, books, soil and everything else needed.

I had to leave the studio when the owner of the florist shop decided to drop his lease and the owner of the property sold it to an italian deli.

About this time I decided I needed to change my product line to be more competitive at conventions. I had always had an interest in enhancing the styling of my collected material with power wood carving tools. My old partner (and friend ) and I began to buy and extensively use every type of tool we thought would be good to use on bonsai.
We were great fans of the stylists that were the first we had seen using interesting power wood carving on bonsai. Now the use of such tools is commonplace and we see it at every convention and symposium around the world ,but in the beginning the names that stood out were John Naka, Masahiko Kimura, Pius Notter and Dan Robinson. They were pioneers in this facet of the art and the first that we saw using extensive carving on bonsai stock at conventions..
I decided this was an area I needed to concentrate on in my sales so I began to research and study every type of carving tool available that could be used for bonsai. As time went on I sifted through all the various tools available and began to sell the ones I thought were the best. This has now become a large part of my business and I believe I have the largest selection of quality tools for carving bonsai that is available in the USA.
My selection of power wood carving tools caught the eye of the visiting President of the Korean Bonsai Association while I was vending at the Bonsai International convention in Toronto, Canada in 1997. He personally invited me to vend my tools at the World Bonsai Convention in Seoul, Korea in 1997. I was the only non-Korean vendor at the convention.
I am also the importer and distributor of "Samurai" power carving tools from Europe. My "flagship" carvers are the "Samurai" and "Ninja" line from Europe. I have used everything that I sell. Quality and safety are foremost in my mind concerning the selection of what I sell.

As my interest in selling imported retail trees and commonplace bonsai began to lessen I found my interest was growing in pottery. I had done some pottery in college, and my bonsai teacher did bonsai pots in the winter months. Also, my bonsai buddy and I had made some bonsai pots from molds in the early part of our friendship and bonsai interest. This was always in the back of my mind and interested me so I decided to make some pots for small shohin bonsai. They were all slab built and very time consuming but there seemed to be quite a lot of interest in them so I made more styles and larger pots. It was at this time that I decided I wanted to make contemporay, one-of-a-kind pots. As time went on I began to make bigger pots either slab built or thrown and installed two kilns to fire my own pots. After a few years of making pottery it became so well received at conventions that it slowly became the major part of my business. I had my first honors in this art in 2001 when I won 2nd. place in the "modern" style at the First North American Bonsai Pot Competition that was sponsored by the National Bonsai Foundation and the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum at the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.
As the pottery portion of the business began to enlarge I decided that the "WildThings" name just didn't fit with pottery so I named the pottery portion of the business "YAKIMONO no KOKORO" which means "Heart ( or soul) of Fired Things" in Japanese. Over the last several years all bonsai pots have been signed with this kanji along with my stylized initials and the date. I now make bonsai pots year around and make many custom pots for bonsai artists every year.
Over the last several years I have slowly reduced bonsai retail stock and now it is actually the smallest part of my business. I found I was taking less and less retail trees to conventions because I was needing most of my vendor space for pottery and carving tools. I also found that the pottery was eating up all my available time which seriously cut into the time I needed to care for a large selection of retail trees, and that I enjoyed the pottery much more than I did retail tree care and maintenance. I still stock retail trees, demo and workshop trees but not in the numbers I did a decade ago. I have done both tree and pottery workshops and demonstrations at clubs and conventions throughout the eastern USA.
I still collect trees when I see something I just have to have but, at 58 years old I have become more.....selective!
I have been the president and vice president of the Cleveland Bonsai Club and I am the Founder of the Akron/Canton Bonsai Society (Ohio) where I have served as president and vice president. I have also served two terms on the board of directors of the American Bonsai Society.
I hope you've enjoyed the short story of the history of WILD THINGS BONSAI STUDIO and YAKIMONO no KOKORO BONSAI POTTERY and I'm looking forward to showing you some of my offerings and my work in the future.
Regards,
Dale Cochoy
Hartville, Ohio
 
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Dale Cochoy

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Friends,
I've been putting off making this announcement for a month now but the time has come. I have stopped vending at any bonsai functions. After doing the MidAtlantic Symposium and the Potomac Show this spring I decided to throw in the towel. MANY things led me to this decision, but, for now I'll just say that I can no longer handle the work involved. It is my intention to no longer load and unload a truck at a show or put up with vending.
At some point this fall I will have a large sale to eliminate all present stock at a terrific discount. Stay tuned for that.
I will still be making bonsai pots with some different marketing ideas. I won't be making all the tiny grass pots and shohin pots anymore . There are PLENTY of folks out there making grass pots. I am going to concentrate on making only pots as large as I possibly can anymore, so production numbers will be down due to kiln space. I'll only make enough small pots to fill around them on the shelves. Almost everything should be in the 14" to 20" sizes. Of course, as usual, I will be taking commissioned pot jobs.
I will be concentrating on selling online, POSSIBLY some on eBay. From now on when I post pots online they will ALL be for sale, no hold-backs for shows. All pots will be shown with dimensions and a price. For sites where I cannot show prices, I will show dimensions and I can be contacted.
Also, I am currently searching for a bonsai business vendor who does a lot of shows and would like to be the sole distributor for my pots. Since I won't have the expenses anymore I can work out a good commission deal! The vendor does need to be close enough that I can deliver them without the shipping costs.
I will still be selling power wood carving tools for bonsai via mail order. I still have the best selection of these tools available in the USA.
As a lot of you know I sold the vast majority of my bonsai collection last fall and I'm finding that I don't miss them! I hope this will work out in a similar way. I no longer enjoyed doing shows so I'm hoping I won't miss them.
 

jk_lewis

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Well, we will miss seeing you at the shows, Dale.

Good luck.
 

fore

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That must've been a big decision for you Dale! Good Luck in your new endeavor, sounds like a good biz plan.

Maybe you'll have time now to put together a website with all your carving tools, I think it would improve your sales.

Chris
 

Poink88

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I can only imagine how hard that would be (loading, hauling, setup, tear down, load, haul back, etc.)...plus the show fees & possible pot damage due to excessive handling. I think I will take the same route had it been me.

Well, in a way this is good for some of us (yes selfish reason)...now we have better chance of getting some of your awesome pots! :eek:

Hope you get a good & updated website. :) Good luck!!!
 

Bonsai Nut

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Times change. People change. Life is a journey, right?

One thing I have learned - when the fun stops it is time to move on. You will never do your best work if you aren't having fun doing it. Hopefully by getting rid of the work you don't enjoy, you can focus more time on the work you do :)

I do miss your work-in-progress photos, however :)
 

JudyB

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Well this is good news for me, as I'm never able to get to shows as I work most every weekend. So if you are selling online, then I'll be able to buy pots from you. I've been thinking of a couple pots for trees I need in the next year or so, so will be watching, and maybe I'll have to commission from you for one or two of them.
Glad to hear that you are happy with where you are, and will always kick myself that I didn't know you were selling all your trees till too late!
 

Dale Cochoy

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Dav4, nice tree/pot combo. Thanks.

Guys, I ALWAYS sold pots and tools online. You can visit me on Facebook at Dale Cochoy or Wild Things Bonsai Studio anytime.

I'm not quite sure anyone 'gets' it. I'm not quiting because I wanted to I'm quiting because I could no longer physically do it! Since my accident a year ago it's really been work.My BUSINESS PLAN is more of a survival plan. I'm NOT looking forward to the change, I just had to do it because the shows about killed me , hence 'Not Fun'.

I did shows all over the country for 24 years. I was fully available to anyone shopping for pots, or tools, at shows and online both. I doubt it wuill be EASIER to get a pot( or tool) from me than it was before?? All you had to do was look.

Chris, I sell carving tools off my 2 FB pages continually.

D.
 

Bill S

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Dale, with everything that happened with the accident, and the tree incident, nobody can blame you for needing to back away. Best of luck.
 

ghues

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Hey Dale, How about those of us that don't facebook?....(yeah....and I don't even have a cell phone ;))....how can we see your pots and tools....Cheers Graham
 

Dale Cochoy

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BillS,
Thank you, I think you understand.

Graham,
I understand, and here I thought I was THE ONLY person in the USA who used a cell phone TO MAKE PHONE CALLS ONLY, and turned it on when I wanted to do just that! ;)
It's getting harder to buy 'Just a phone' for making phone calls ;)
BTW Graham, you are missing out on Facebook because most active bonsai folks out there are on and there are MANY bonsai groups there also. it's a great place to make bonsai friends . The great thing about FB is that you don't have to put up with someone badmouthing you on your own page, or thread you started, forever on the WWW. Click, and it's gone. What a concept!

Anyway, Paul Stokes, from www.ofBonsai.org is going to be opening a blog or site for me soon. Hopefully I can start showing new pots and tools there.
I've done 4 ( I think) photo-essays on his site ( Look in 'Progressions') so I'll be glad to be part of his site.

D.
 
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JudyB

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Hey Dale, How about those of us that don't facebook?....(yeah....and I don't even have a cell phone ;))....how can we see your pots and tools....Cheers Graham
Same boat for me Graham... (except I have to have a cell...) Would be great to have another outlet, hope it works out.
 

ghues

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BillS,
Thank you, I think you understand.

Graham,
I understand, and here I thought I was THE ONLY person in the USA who used a cell phone TO MAKE PHONE CALLS ONLY, and turned it on when I wanted to do just that! ;)
It's getting harder to buy 'Just a phone' for making phone calls ;)
BTW Graham, you are missing out on Facebook because most active bonsai folks out there are on and there are MANY bonsai groups there also. it's a great place to make bonsai friends . The great thing about FB is that you don't have to put up with someone badmouthing you on your own page, or thread you started, forever on the WWW. Click, and it's gone. What a concept!

Anyway, Paul Stokes, from www.ofBonsai.org is going to be opening a blog or site for me soon. Hopefully I can start showing new pots and tools there.
I've done 4 ( I think) photo-essays on his site ( Look in 'Progressions') so I'll be glad to be part of his site.

D.
Hi Dale, I do see the benefits....maybe I'll have to use my wife's FB account if she'll let me :D.
I've been following Paul for some time now and frequent "ofBonsai" as I did AOB:(
I look forward to the fall ......
Cheers Graham
 

Bob O

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Dale,
I will miss seeing you at Bonsai events, often you and your pots were primary draws for me.

I am glad that I made it up to the Potomac show and snagged the pots that I did.

Bob O
 

Dale Cochoy

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I will be at the Asheville, NC bonsai symposium Oct. 11-13 to ELIMINATE many boxes of bonsai pots still in my stock, plus all my new pots done since early May..
If you are looking for a HUGE savings on a Dale pot, this is your chance. I will be having SERIOUS discounts on ALL pots in stock.
Availability depends on whether you get there Friday or Sunday afternoon!
 

Bill S

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If you are near this event go, Dales pots are Ichiban, #1, great, the best, everyone should own a dozen or so...... I could keep going but I think you get the gist, wish I were near.
 
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