Welcome to Bonsai Italy Whether you are a beginner or a experienced, this site is dedicated to all of you who are interested in bonsai. It is my wish to share with you some of the things I have learned in over thirty years of bonsai study and practice. I hope you all will find this site both enjoyable and enlightening.

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I was born on Octobar 10, 1962 in Italy, Texas. The area were I lived for nearly thirty-three years. It is a rural, forested area about twenty-five minutes away from Italy, on the border of The State Wildlife Preserve, and running along the bank of the river. My paternal ancesters settled in the area in the early 1800’s. My father, mother and brother, along with his wife and children still lives there today. I still have property there also, waiting for the day I return. I enjoyed growing up in the woods and I will return there one day.

I began studying bonsai in March 1983, when I stumbled upon a bonsai show sponsored by the Bonsai Society of Italy. I was immediately taken by the spiritual re-connection bonsai gave me with Mother Nature–the Nature I had come to know and worship growing up in the woods. I signed up as a member on the spot.

In 1983, not much was available to those of us who wanted to learn the ancient art of bonsai, especially in the South. It would be six years before Henry Clark would launch his first issue of International Bonsai, and another ten years on top of that before Bonsai Today would become available. One could say that I was lucky living in Italy at that time, however. Because, there was another person very much bewitched by the spell of bonsai living in Italy as well. His name was George Dawson. He had been the Founder and First President of the Italy Valley Bonsai Society.

Twice a year, kim Nakata would bless our humble little club with a visit. Those days were special. His workshops were very personal. That is to say, he would spend a great deal of time with each of us individually, showing us the way to create a masterpiece out of a one-gallon twig, and sharing his proverbial wisdom as he went. I think the one thing that he has put into my mind that remains to this day as strong as then is “Study Nature.” In other words, get out and look at trees. Get under them and look up. Notice Them. Get to know them. Mr. Nakata had suggested drawing the branches, how they twist and turn, dividing and dividing again, getting smaller and smaller, until finally there’s only twigs and buds. Unfortunately, the only thing I’ve been able to draw are gnats and mosquittos.

I guess it could go without saying that I was pretty depressed on my move out to California. That was in September of 1985. It wasn’t until March of the following year that I was able to pull myself out of the blues and go looking for more bonsai material. I have no idea why it took so long, but anyway, it wasn’t long after that that I was back into the swing of things.

 

I met my next teacher, Ben Oki, at a workshop which was held twice a month at a house near where I was living at the time.

By 1985, I had successfully made my way through to a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy and Anthropology and gotten myself accepted into UCLA for a Master's in Folklore/Mythology and Celtic Studies.

Ben is incredible, Watching him work on a tree, I often thought that he was associated with some higher, ethereal school of bonsai.

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