The art of Bonsai

Ranging between 50 and 60 years old, these miniature trees have endured a lifetime of manipulation in order to become fascinating and unique pieces of living and evolving art.   They reflect the patience, dedication and meticulous planning of their creators through the angle of every branch and even the placement of each leaf.    Bonsai.  My friend Matthew invited me to join him on a trip to see the Pacific Rim Bonsai collection at the Weyerhaeuser Company in Federal Way.   It was open for a limited time and I am quite happy we were able to view the exhibit.  The collection is a set of 60 Bonsai ranging in species, age, country of origin and creative process. 

The plants are cultivated, many from the wild, and are transferred to growing pots where the roots are trimmed and planted.   Rocks, thin soil and regulated water allow the attendants to control the growth rates.   The trees are developed to resemble the full size adult version of the species.   The trunk to branch ratio and density of the leaves or needles are carefully calculated and controlled through clipping, wrapping and angling wires.  This process also allows the artist to create a lean in the trunk, wind swept branches or perfectly symmetrical pieces.  It is quite a feat but the result is nothing short of wonderful.   I was deeply impressed by the workmanship each tree possessed and how well they represented a large tree.   You can easily imagine yourself the size of a Lego man sitting in the shade, listening to the breeze flow through the leaves on a cool summer's eve.