Defining Concepts Courses/International Bonsai Mirai School
International Bonsai Mirai’s Defining Concepts courses provide a classroom based education combined with hands-on training. Ryan’s focus centers around technical training and its application to innovative design concepts. Students will gain the knowledge they need to advance their bonsai skills and appreciation of artistic bonsai design.
Courses are based on species-specific study where students learn a full scope of knowledge about one individual species. From fundamental horticulture, care, and maintenance to styling and development the Defining Concepts courses leave no stone unturned. Utilizing both native and foreign cultivars, Ryan’s objective is to teach students how to take a tree in any state; raw, developed, or somewhere in between, and utilize the correct methods to establish health and develop the tree into a show quality bonsai.
The pillar of Ryan’s approach centers on teaching students “Why”. Why are certain techniques more effective? Why are seasonal differences pivotal for success? Why is one design more pleasing than another? By learning to analyze why things happen, students develop the ability to answer their own questions as they take the full scope of knowledge Ryan provides and connect the Defining Concepts of each species together. In Ryan’s mind, building bonsai knowledge is like constructing a home. The quality and integrity depends on the strength of the foundation. Come build your bonsai future from the foundation up at Bonsai Mirai.
Course description: Juniper
No other species used in bonsai bears the scars of their existence like the juniper. Its often unique and contorted maze of deadwood and living tissue are natural expressions of contradicting life and death. However, realizing the potential of junipers as bonsai is difficult unless the conditions which create the drama in junipers are studied and the process of transformation from a rugged to a refined bonsai is understood.
At International Bonsai Mirai, the Defining Concepts Juniper Course is based around teaching students a horticultural understanding of junipers and how each diverse species grows. Followed by an education in the techniques and artistic principles involved in creating show quality bonsai. Students will learn why and how to clean junipers, define live veins, analyze and address aesthetic deadwood issues, manipulate and establish shape in mature branches, repot and manage junipers’ roots, refine design through fine wiring, and finally control growth through sound horticultural practice to achieve a showable bonsai.
From the high elevation junipers of the Sierra Nevadas to the California junipers growing in the Mojave desert, come learn the intracacies of one of bonsai’s most fundamental subjects. The Defining Concepts Juniper courses.
Note: Students will be allowed to bring their own material to work on IF the material is of a level which the rest of the group can benefit from learning and working with. Otherwise Ryan would encourage students to take the knowledge gained and apply it to their collection outside of class.
For those students wishing to gain higher levels of competency working with junipers multi-year courses are encouraged.
Course description: Pines
Pines have long been the heart and soul of bonsai, and throughout the world the species continues to be a cornerstone of the art. The subtly of their beauty and the aged rugged nature of their bark never cease to captivate true bonsai conoisseurs. In fact, bonsai scholars often consider appreciation of pines to be the pinnacle of bonsai under the notion it takes a greater depth of undestanding to appreciate the quiet nature of their character. For Ryan, the spirit of pines is more heartfelt, dating back to his days fishing in the Rocky Mountains. It was his love of pines which propelled him to begin bonsai and it was his desire to master their subdued character which enticed Ryan to pursue his apprenticeship with his master Mr. Kimura. Having worked on pines in Japan, Europe, and across the United States, Ryan is excited to offer and ecclectic scope of knowledge at International Bonsai Mirai’s Defining Concepts Pine course.
Ryan’s objective for his pine course is to educate students on the fundamental consistencies of all pines, followed by in depth study of the intricate aspects and details which make each species unique. From the horticultural and aesthetic considerations applied to Japanese Red, Black, and White pine to the artistic considerations necessary for utilizing western species such as the Ponderosa limber, and lodegpole pine, Ryan hopes to open his students’ minds to how pines are cultivated and artistically designed.
Note: Contrary to the Juniper course, students are encouraged to bring their personal trees to the courses to be analyzed as a group and worked on individually.
-Courses consist of a one year commitment which includes a spring, summer, and fall session each year. The class timing depends on which species is being studied.
-Work is focused on the tasks appropriate for each season and each tree’s stage of development.
-Courses are limited to 4 participants per weekend and are for dedicated individuals striving to grow, improve, and obtain clarity in their bonsai understanding.
-Classes begin on Friday mornings at 9 a.m. and carry on until 7 p.m. both Friday and Saturday. Sunday classes begin at 9 a.m. but will end at 5 p.m.
What to Bring
-Each student is required to bring their own set of basic bonsai tools. This should include shears, concave cutter, knob cutter, root cutter, plier, wire cutter, hand saw, and tweezers. Large tools, carving equipment, specialty items, and bending levers will be provided if needed.
-Students are also required to bring or purchase their own set of copper wire guages 6-18. If you would like to purchase a set of copper wire from Ryan the cost is $120, a discounted rate for students! Most students leave their wire at Bonsai Mirai to use during the entire year of courses.
-The most challenging seasons at Bonsai Mirai are the spring repotting session and the fall grafting session. Students should bring several layers of warm cloths they don’t mind getting dirty. You will get wet, you will get cold, you will get dirty so please come prepared. Rain gear is not necessary;)
-Warm work shoes with good support are a must.
- Knit or wool hats always help.
-The cost per weekend of study is $700.
-Lunch, and dinner will be provided as will transportation to and from hotel lodging.
-At the time of registration, students will be asked to commit to one full year of study (three weekends). Upon booking your spot a $700 non-refundable deposit is required. This deposit covers the cost of the LAST class of the year.
585 S Columbia River Highway
Saint Helens, Oregon 97051
Toll Free Reservations: 800-780-7234
International Bonsai Mirai recommends Best Western Oak Meadows Inn Hotel in St. Helens, Oregon to accomodate your lodging needs. The hotel is a short 10 minute drive from the garden and offers a clean, quiet, friendly place to stay.
Be sure to inquire about the group rate for International Bonsai Mirai!
-There are several rental car agencies in Portland International Airport (PDX) for students to utilize if you wish to have your own vehicle.
-For students choosing to carpool, Ryan will make one trip to the airport Thursday nights prior to class and shuttle students to their hotel. Ryan requests airline reservations be made with an arrival time between 6 and 9 p.m. so each student’s wait-time for the shuttle is minimized.
-On the mornings of class Ryan shuttles students from the hotel to Bonsai Mirai at 8:50 a.m. and returns you to the hotel each night around 9 p.m.
-Special accomodations can be arranged, but cannot be guaranteed. Please contact Ryan if you have questions or concerns. Thanks!
Defining Concepts Pine CourseGroup 1 Course 1- February 1st-February 3rdGroup 1 Course 2- May 31st- June 2ndGroup 1 Course 3-November 8th- November 10th Group 2 Course 1- February 22nd- February 24thGroup 2 Course 2- June 14th- June 16th Group 2 Course 3- December 6th- December 8th Defining Concepts Juniper CourseGroup 1 Course 1- March 1st- March 3rdGroup 1 Course 2- July 5th- July 7thGroup 1 Course 3- October 11th- October 13th Group 2 Course 1- March 15th- March 17thGroup 2 Course 2- July 12th- July 14thGroup 2 Course 3- October 18th- October 20th Defining Concepts Spruce, Larch, Hemlock, Fir, and Redwood Course(*This course is only two sessions due to the fact that most of these species don't respond well to work in the summer)Group 1 Course 1- February 8th- February 10thGroup 1 Course 2- September 27th- September 29th
(Stick around for the Artisans Cup the following weekend!) IN ORDER TO RESERVE YOUR SPOT I'll need an email confirmation stating which course you would like to enroll in for 2013 ONCE YOU RECEIVE EMAIL CONFIRMATION that there's a spot available for you and you would like to commit to the courses a non-refundable deposit of $700 should be sent to:Ryan NeilP.O. Box 1121 St. Helens, OR 97051THIS DEPOSIT PAYS FOR YOUR LAST CLASS OF THE 2013 DEFINING CONCEPTS COURSES DEPOSITS TO RESERVE SPOTS MUST BE RECEIVED BY NOVEMBER 15TH 2012 or the spot will be opened to the next student on the list or to visitors to the website.
What to Bring