Austin Bonsai Society

January 2003

President's Message

by Glenda Konopka

Hello and Happy Holidays! I hope that you all have a wonderful time celebrating the joys of this season with friends, family, and (of course) bonsai! The revels were kicked off beautifully by the club's Christmas party, which was graciously hosted by Elaine White and her husband at their spectacular home. As far as I could see, everyone had a great time and it was a wonderful opportunity to get to know my fellow club members better.

To begin, I'd like to thank you all for being so very supportive of my selection as President for 2003. I've never served our club in any substantive capacity before, let alone one of such responsibility, but I promise to give the job everything I've got. I'll be helped immensely by being able to draw on the vast pool of knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm we have on the Board this year - David Gordon as VP, Del DeLos Santos as Secretary, Pat Ware as Treasurer, Candy Hansen as Past-President, and our three Members-at-Large: Carl Quisenberry, Connie King, and Larry Gfeller. I'm really looking forward to working with such a great Board - and all of you! 2003 is shaping up to be an exciting year for us in more ways than one. First, we're going to be looking at options to update the look of our show in May - new table covers and displays to get the public more excited about and interested in bonsai. The Board is actively soliciting input from everyone in the club about what they think could jazz things up and what they'd like to see - all ideas are welcome for consideration. The January Board meeting is going to be a comprehensive discussion of these changes, so we'd love to see any interested members join us and become a part of this process. We'll also be looking for volunteers to Chair the show, so please consider the valuable contribution you can make to your club in this arena ? volunteer your time, energy, and ideas!

Second, we have some really exciting programs and activities planned for the coming year thanks to David Gordon and his helper elves! On January 25th is our joint dig with San Antonio at Jim Walsh's place in Wimberley. Jim's dad is a member of the SA club, and Jim is interested in bonsai himself, so he's excited about learning collection techniques from us. He has a bar-b-que area with picnic benches he's been generous enough to offer us to use for lunch while we're at his place; this should be a lot of fun for everyone. Maps will be available at the January monthly meeting. The Saturday after Christmas is the dig at the Christmas tree farm in Elgin (thanks for setting this up, Mike!). Anyone interested in going is asked to meet at the Dairy Queen in Elgin at 9:00 a.m. and then we'll caravan to the farm; Mike will guide us there and show us where it's kosher to dig. I'm told the Virginia pines there are cool trees and bud back readily, so I'm really looking forward to this as I've never dug my own pine tree before. I'll be going out to my friend Jim Aaron's place in Round Mountain the week between Christmas and New Years to see what he's got - if it looks good, he'll let us schedule our third dig of the year there during February.

Jim Walsh has given us February 1st as a backup date in case we get weathered-out on January 25th. These should all be great opportunities to collect native materials.

Elaine White is kicking off our monthly members' study group in January with a discussion of caring for new trees - whether collected material or pre-bonsai. This will be followed-up by a repotting and root-oriented study group in February. One of the Board's goals this year will be to draw on our senior members' experience and knowledge for the benefit of the mid-tier and ‘newby' members - like me! As the year goes on, the study groups will cover timely topics for the seasonal issues we face in helping our trees to thrive. We would love to get input from you all for what you'd like to see covered this year - what interests, bores, or puzzles you in your practice. Please give your feedback to any Board member at your convenience.

Program-wise, we hope this will be a varied and interesting year, offering something for everyone in the club. Some visiting artists will include Mr. Hiroshi Yamagi (I hope I spelled that right) of Japan for our March meeting and Roy Nagatoshi in October. We've planned a workshop with Mary Miller, in addition to a lecture/demo presentation, for the joint meeting with San Antonio we're hosting this August. Add this our plans to tap our wealth of experienced members for programs and study groups (you'll all find out who you are soon enough!) with the annual events of our show, auction, and Christmas party, and we have the makings of a great year to look forward to.

As I feel that my role is to serve the best and common interests of all the club members, I've done a lot of thinking since being asked to hold office. What is being President all about? Is it to make sure that the Bylaws are followed? Sure, but I don't think that's the most important thing. Is it to tell people what I want them to do? Absolutely not. I feel that the President's job is to set an overall tone in keeping with the highest aspirations of bonsai and the human spirit that loves bonsai, to build relationships on many levels - person to person, person to tree, person to club "family," student to teacher (and vice-versa), and club to community. I believe bonsai always comes ahead of ego, politics, or personal gratification.

Philosophically, I'd like to see the club grow more varied in its membership, to attract - and keep - new and/or younger members, to reach out to the next generation. That's why I drag poor David to the meetings! We always need to stay focused on the centerpiece of why we're all here - the common love of bonsai we share. As I see it, we have three tiers of members: Tier 1 - the beginner bonsai enthusiast, someone who is taken in by the beauty of these trees and wants to learn more. These new folks must be carefully nurtured along by the more experienced club members because it's all too easy to get discouraged in the face of the complexity, cost, and patience required of this discipline; we've all gone through this if we didn't quit ourselves at this stage, and probably survived because someone came to our rescue and mentored us. Tier 2 - the mid-level practitioner, someone who's survived the initial period of adjustment and has kept at it for 5-6 years; someone who can keep their trees alive (most of the time), knows the basics, and is ready for more advanced training and techniques.

These people can share what they've learned so far with those on Tier 1, helping them move up the ladder of learning. Tier 3 ?our most experienced members, someone who has spent decades dedicated to perfecting their knowledge of bonsai and capable of passing on their experience to the Tier 2 folks. As each stage of development on this learning ladder is passed, those on the upper rungs can reach down and help those below; those people, in turn, will help those below, and so on. As each tier of bonsai lover passes up the ladder, they pull those below upward, to take their place someday as mentors to those who have begun their own journey. We all have a responsibility to enrich each others' love, wonder, and understanding of bonsai as we journey through this amazing practice. We can never lose our sense of wonder at the miracle we make happen when we do bonsai. Just as they say that the only "finished" bonsai is the one that's ready for the fireplace, so I believe that we humans are never "finished" either - there is always something new and exciting to learn, which keeps us growing, just like our trees.

This is your club - no better and no worse than the sum of its parts - each one of you, our membership. Because this is your club, I, and the rest of the Board, sincerely ask each and every one of you to take a moment to reflect, think, and tell us what you want from your club in the coming year which, in turn, will shape the years to come; just like bonsai, our club and our relationships with each other are a long-term project. Your Board members will do the best we can for you, but if you don't give us your input, then we may not be meeting your needs in your bonsai growth and practice. Give us your input and, if we don't capitalize on it, you can complain your head off and we'll do better next time!

I am proud as a peacock to tell people I'm President of the Austin Bonsai Society; that I know you, will try to fulfill my responsibilities to you, and have so much to learn from all of you. If you ever have any problem with anything I say or do, I want you to tell me right away ? this is not an ego job, but a service job! I've never done this before, so I ask for your patience and help and, with a little luck, a kick or two in the pants, and the rest of the Board to keep me in line, we'll all have a 2003 to remember. Thanks for your ear and see you all soon!

Calendar of Events

Dec. 28 Collecting Dig in Elgin Meet at 9 AM at the Dairy Queen and caravan to the spot - call Mike Hansen for details

Jan. 8 Monthly Meeting Thread Grafting, etc. with Mike Hansen & friends Refreshments by: Alisan Clarke Pat Ware

Jan. 15 Board Meeting Zilker Garden Center 7:00 PM

Jan. 22 Members Study Group (see pg.3) Zilker Garden Center 7:30 PM

Jan. 25 Collecting Dig in Wimberley (Rain date Feb. 1) Map and details at Jan. meeting

Feb. 12 What do you do with all those roots??????

Feb. 27-Mar 2 The Philippine Bonsai Society Manila, Philippines

July 11-13 LSBF Symposium Austin, Tx.

General Meeting Minutes

by David Gordon

No General Meeting - Just a GREAT Christmas party!

Sorry that some of you missed it! It was VERY nice!!!

Board Meeting Minutes

by David Gordon

No Board Meeting in December

Members Study Group

What do we do with new material?

Did you purchase something at the auction that you thought had good potential for bonsai and now can't find it? Have something that stumps you? Before you stump it, bring it or them, to the workshop and we'll discuss possible solutions and directions.


Thank You

Thank you for your time, effort, and donations in collecting items for the convention raffle and in making the raffle happen. It was an enormous effort on the part of many of you and your family members. We clearly have some budding sales people in our bonsai families. I experienced a lot of "No, thank you's" in asking for donations, so I especially appreciate the efforts of those who succeeded in obtaining donated items.

Gloria Norberg Raffle 2002 Chairperson

You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.

Abraham Lincoln

Dues are Due! Please bring your membership dues of $25.00 for individual or $30.00 for family (2 adults) $12.50 for Student to the meeting or mail to our treasurer: Pat Ware 12404 Ranch Rd. 12 Wimberley, Tx. 78676

If you do not pay your dues by March 15th, you will be removed from our mailing list.

Texas State Bonsai Covention 2002

[Image] Started with an empty room and developed into workshops and exhibit area and more!

The Presidents! - BCI, Allan Walker; Austin, Candy Hansen; LSBF, Chuck Ware; San Antonio, Donna Dobberfuhl; and ABS VP, Robert Case.

Scots Pine started this way

the idea of what is to come and the lucky winner was Sue Miller of Dallas

Dennis kept everyone enthralled

Marc drew everyone an idea Pat gave everyone great styling ideas

Something for everyone

Even "entertainment" of sorts

[Image] Tickets and more tickets!