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Keshiki Bonsai: The Easy, Modern Way to Create Miniature Landscapes
     

Keshiki Bonsai: The Easy, Modern Way to Create Miniature Landscapes

by Kenji Kobayashi
 

Traditional bonsai can be complicated, time consuming, and expensive. Keshiki bonsai is different. Gone are the confusing rules. There’s no need to wait for years until your bonsai is “ready,” or to worry that you might kill some ancient, precious plant. Keshiki bonsai is about taking inspiration from a natural scene and creating a living piece of

Overview

Traditional bonsai can be complicated, time consuming, and expensive. Keshiki bonsai is different. Gone are the confusing rules. There’s no need to wait for years until your bonsai is “ready,” or to worry that you might kill some ancient, precious plant. Keshiki bonsai is about taking inspiration from a natural scene and creating a living piece of art using easily available plants and small containers. Anyone can do it! Just follow the clear step-by-step instructions and you’ll have an exquisite bonsai that will enliven any style of room.

This dazzling book features 37 stylish projects with simple, step-by-step instructions that anyone can follow. The projects start simple, with five designs that feature moss combined with unique containers. Readers then move on to six designs combining moss, small trees, and containers. The next ten projects add perennials to the mix, and the final ten projects have it all: moss, trees, perennials, and stones. Each project is made with a wide variety of containers, from the most delicate, artisan clay to a repurposed ramekin and a simple box

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review
The charm of Kobayashi's work is its quick payoff: his plantings don't take generations to mature, and they're relatively easy to create. In a series of step-by-step projects, he provides readers with clear, straightforward instructions, nicely illustrated.
—Dominique Browning
Gardenista

“I must admit that after reading [Kobayashi’s] book I’m ready to try my hand at one of the garden arts I had considered beyond my ability…One gets a nice feel for his enchanting personal landscape, a sort of bonsai gestalt that may inspire many more trees to be grown in Brooklyn.”

Booklist
"These miniature gems…are tiny enough to fit anywhere yet bold enough to make a dynamic impact."

From the Publisher
“I must admit that after reading [Kobayashi’s] book I’m ready to try my hand at one of the garden arts I had considered beyond my ability. . . . One gets a nice feel for his enchanting personal landscape, a sort of bonsai gestalt that may inspire many more trees to be grown in Brooklyn.” —New York Times Book Review

“These miniature gems. . . are tiny enough to fit anywhere yet bold enough to make a dynamic impact.” —Booklist

“Contains easy-to-follow, step-by-instructions to create counter-intuitive (and simplified) bonsai landscapes.” —Gardenista

Library Journal
Kobayashi shares 37 projects in his style of keshiki bonsai (landscape bonsai), plantings in tiny vessels as small as two inches in diameter. While traditional bonsai is often viewed as a complicated hobby, keshiki bonsai is more appealing because it relaxes traditional rules and incorporates unexpected materials like glass. Kobayashi studied landscape architecture in his native Japan and traditional bonsai in Portland, OR. His keshiki bonsai projects are chic, quick, and sized perfectly for apartments. Illustrated, step-by-step instructions are included here for every project in the book, from the simplest ones that use only moss to the more complex projects using trees, perennials, and stones. Kobayashi discusses the basic bonsai tools, soils, and stones, and offers suggestions for appropriate plants and types of containers. Readers looking for classical bonsai styles and traditional techniques like wiring should read David Prescott's The Bonsai Handbook. VERDICT Recommended for bonsai enthusiasts and container gardeners willing to experiment.—Bonnie Poquette, Milwaukee, WI

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781604693591
Publisher:
Timber Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
10/02/2012
Pages:
176
Sales rank:
867,680
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 9.40(h) x 0.70(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Preface
Bonsai means literally a planting (sai) that is nurtured in a tray or planter (bon). In Japan, bonsai has a long history going back as far as the Heian period (794 –1185) when envoys from China are said to have introduced the art. Today, people all over the world have become captive to its charms. In fact, I traveled to America to learn the art of bonsai. While there, I began to realize that bonsai has taken on a stylish new image that appeals to people interested in design and the arts.
           
In Japan, there is a preconceived notion that bonsai is an expensive pastime for the senior citizen. Bonsai suffers from being considered a complicated hobby, a high-maintenance sibling of elaborate gardening. Indeed, I was one of those people who thought of bonsai as a stale, excessively intricate diversion for those with too much time on their hands. What first got me interested in the world of bonsai was a photograph I saw in a book by Toshio Kawamoto called Ki to ishi no dezain (Designing with Trees and Stones). It showed cedar trees planted in a flat container, but what was remarkable was that the scale tricked the eye into believing that the picture had been shot from nature. The illusion was so strong, I felt like I was about to walk into a real forest. I still cannot forget my amazement that trees, rocks, and moss could evoke such a vibrant world in a single container.

The pleasure of composing a form that conjures nature in all its grandeur and yet is contained in just a small vessel rests in recreating and building a remembered landscape—say, a mountain seen in one’s youth or a scene glimpsed on a trip—with plants and stones. As the plants develop, the four seasons reveal themselves through changes in foliage, and you find yourself immersed in the unfolding of nature. That’s why I call my bonsai keshiki (landscape) bonsai. Even one pine, placed on top of a little hill of moss, presents a year-round communion with the living essence of scenery.
           
A miniature bonsai can pack a dynamic punch far exceeding its tiny footprint when placed thoughtfully in an interior. Consider it like an evolving work of art and let it serve as an element of decor. Cultivating an appreciation of the natural landscape is an acquired skill, like choosing the right wine to go with hors d’oeuvres.
 
Bonsai need not be associated solely with Japanese style. Instead, I’d like to see bonsai incorporated into your home as part of your living environment. It is with that goal in mind that I offer this book to introduce you to all there is to know about making the miniature bonsai landscapes that I have come to love. I’ve included bonsai terminology throughout the book to help you understand some technical terms that you may encounter in the world of miniature plant cultivation. Look through the photographs and then start with a container that you particularly adore.

If this book serves to inspire just one more bonsai fan, whether old or young, male or female, I will have fulfilled my deepest wish.
Kenji Kobayashi
 

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Meet the Author

Kenji Kobayashi studied engineering and landscape design in his native Japan before learning about bonsai in Portland, Oregon, where the art of miniature landscapes captivated his imagination. After returning to Japan he immersed himself in the study of bonsai and in 2002 created the style he calls keshiki bonsai, or literally, landscape bonsai, and opened his shop, Sinajina, in Tokyo, where he creates and sells modern bonsai as well as other handcrafted home decor items. Active in solo shows and exhibitions across Japan, Kobayashi also teaches, writes, and appears on television and in workshops sharing his vision of “little landscapes for our lives.”

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