Austin Bonsai Society

September 2000

President's Message

Alisan Clarke

Remember our auction. Bring trees, white elephants, baked goods, and even Christmas things. Come share in the fun!

This month we have an extra two days of bonsai events - a Monday workshop and a Tuesday demo. Check the newsletter for details and times. For new members, these are great opportunities to know the Austin bonsai community and to broaden your experience with our local and guest experts.

I want to make special mention of Jim Allan's efforts with our web site ( It has been a great addition to our bonsai news. Ron Westra's photos are displayed and are being distributed to requesting members of the club e-mail list. Be sure to join. Thank you Jim and Ron for this great work.

Remember to sign up for the Makishima & Gustafson workshops.

The silence!
The voice of the cicada
Penetrates the rocks.

Calendar of Events

Sept 13 Monthly Meeting
7:30 PM
Zilker Garden Center
Refreshments by:
Liz Cody
David Gordon

Sept 20 Board Meeting
7:00 pm
Zilker Gardens

Sept 25 Dennis Makishima Workshop
7:00 pm
Zilker Garden Center

Sept 26 Dennis Makishima Lecture/demo
7:00 pm
Zilker Garden Center
Refreshments by:
Sandra Vitone
Del DeLos Santos

Sept 27 No Members workshop

Sept. 7 - 10 IBC - Rochester, N.Y.

Sept. 15 - 17 Pacific Northwest Conv. XI
Victoria, BC

Nov. 3,4,5, & 6 Golden State Bonsai Fed.
Oakland, California


March 24-26 LSBF in Dallas

April 12-15 ABS in New Orleans

May 31-June 4 4th World Conv. in Germany

General Meeting Minutes

There were no minutes taken as we all had an enjoyable time in San Antonio. The food was great as always. The demonstration was unusual. A large cedar elm was to be styled. First Gary Martilla of San Antonio got up made the first cut and his suggestions as to how the tree should look in the end. Then Don Rehberg and Eileen Deeter of Austin lowered the top so it didn't hit the lights anymore. Ray Hernandez of San Antonio thinned it out and discussions ensued about whether a couple of branches should or should not be removed. This became a mute point when Bill Cody of Austin got up and sawed (with the help of un-named parties) the top and really shortened the tree. Ron Westra of Austin and a few others thinned some and decided it would be better for the tree to grow some more and not be potted. Gary Martilla won the tree in the raffle.

Dennis Makishima

Dennis was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area; growing up in the local Japanese American community. He had been exposed to bonsai his entire life, but did not take a lesson until 20 years ago; and was fortunate to have studied with many prominent bonsai instructors from the area. Currently, he is continuing his association with Mas Imazumi of Berkeley and Hiroshi Suzuki of San Francisco; but has served a one-and-a-half year apprenticeship with bonsai master Yasuo Mitsuya in Toyohashi, Japan. His was the second apprenticeship to be sponsored to Mitsuya-san's nursery.

He is a past Education Chairman of the GSBF, which he enjoyed most because of the exchange of bonsai knowledge with others, and has taught aesthetic pruning for 10 years in the Horticulture Department at Merritt College in Oakland. It was there he instituted a most successful program for promising bonsai artist and established the Merritt College Bonsai Club. These Merritt College students distinguish themselves by offering needed assistance at many of the Golden State's Northern events.

Having a bonsai background has helped him tremendously in his occupation as an ornamental tree pruner. He specializes in the aesthetics of pruning small, focal point trees and old, historically significant trees. He believes one should always respect nature, the trees on which we work, and creative process of fellow hobbyists.

For over the past 10 years, he has conducted numerous lectures, workshops and demonstrations throughout the United States. His favorite topics in bonsai are Japanese Black Pine, Maples, Shimpaku Juniper, Chamaecyparis, Flowering Trees, the Art of the Winter Silhouette and Finding the Line of a Tree.

Board Meeting Minutes

Charlotte Cranberg

The board meeting of the Austin Bonsai Society was called to order at 7:15 PM on Wednesday, August 16th by President Alisan Clarke. Present were Alisan, Chuck and Pat Ware, Gloria Norberg, and Charlotte Cranberg.

The September meeting and auction was discussed as well as programs for the rest of the year. Two digs were proposed for February 2001.

Gloria Norberg accepted the position of chairman of the nominating committee.

A sign up sheet will be passed around at the September meeting for the October 14th barbecue for the Herb Gustafson lecture and demo.

The meeting adjourned at 8:15 PM.


Excerpts taken from Miniature Living Bonsai Landscapes, The Art of Saikei by Herb Gustafson (with his permission)

Saikei literally translates as "planted landscape" or it is the art of the living landscape. A classic form of bonsai, it uses miniature trees, rocks, soil, water, and related vegetation such as ground cover to form replicas of gardens, deserts, landscapes, and other beauties of the natural world, evoking the visual pleasure one finds in nature. Whereas size limitations are not part of the definitions, they are a very real part of the practicality of each art form. A mountain setting, for example, would have very small trees as compared to the rocks. However, being able to move the finished work may preclude trees taller than four inches high!

Whether it's the cool serenity of a hard-to-find cave, the warm, spicy colors of the desert, or the lush, green delights of a forest paradise, anyone can use saikei to capture the beauty and essence of their favorite spot on earth on a small scale. Saikei encourages the use of small, young, and developing trees. Since the youngest plant material is used, saikei is the least expensive bonsai art, and is perfect for beginners, who can construct landscapes in a matter of hours, take them apart, and start over again.

The illusion and scale of the plant is more important than the species itself. Select individual plants for their dwarf characteristics and avoid using fast-growing varieties. Generally speaking, most saikei material needs to be smaller, younger, and more delicately shaped than bonsai material. Sometimes it is helpful to sketch out the rough outline of a design on paper. The drawing should not be a work of art, it should just represent the scale of the rocks, plants, and container fairly accurately; then shop for the appropriate-sized materials. Always consider the weight of your completed planting.

Good miniature landscapes take advantage of the visual phenomenon of perception of depth.. The use of close, middle, and distant focal points adds interest

and personal involvement for the viewer of the planting. Depth may be provided by the most subtle of elements. It might be provided by a curving path going "out of sight", a single distant tree, or a bubbling stream source just out of view. It does not have to be as obvious as a distant snow-capped peak. Just the idea that some of the back trees are hard to see is sometimes all that is needed. It draws viewers into the planting. Viewers will want to move towards the saikei, and adjust their eyes back and forth a bit to see the distant trees in the back of the planting.

Rocks, stones, and gravel can be found in many places. The easiest and most available source tends to be masonry and landscape supple yards. These establishments offer the best source for most miniature landscape enthusiasts - especially for those who do not get out into the country often.

One further element that needs to be considered is the role of color in the concept and perception of depth. Artists have for centuries noticed how objects in the distance appear to be more blue than the same objects nearby. The lush greens of the foreground give way to increasing blue tones.

There are five elements of landscape style: harmony (if one aspect of a work of art "sticks out like a sore thumb," the art is not likely to be in harmony), consistency (agreement of all the parts of a complex thing with itself: same kind of rocks, colors similar, one tree slants - they all slant, etc.), balance (the mental act of comparing or estimating two or more elements against each other), scale (comparative sizes of trees to rocks, trees to moss, rocks to gravel), interest (to gain the attention or excite the viewer).

Remember: An optical illusion is what we are seeking to create.

Dennis Makishima will be our guest artist in September brought in by the Lone Star Bonsai Federation. We will have a "bring your own tree" workshop on September 25 at a cost of $35.00 and limited to 8 people. Be sure to sign up and learn from this experienced teacher (Bio on page 3) Pine, juniper, deciduous or flowering trees would be fine to bring. He does not work with power tools or native Texas trees. He has been in bonsai for 20 years and was the past education chairman of Golden State Bonsai Fed.

TIME: 5:00 PM

The restaurant is located on the northbound access road next to Mopac. Get off at the Rollingwood, Zilker Park, exit and go north a few hundred feet. It is on the right hand side. Everyone pays for their own meal. They have a large menu, besides steaks.






Our October meeting will be on Saturday, October 14 because of commitments of the Garden Center. Our guest speaker will be Herb Gustafson from Eugene, Oregon. We will have a saikei workshop in the afternoon, barbecue dinner, and then a lecture/demo on saikei. The "bring your own trees for saikei" workshop will cost $60.00. You can use any pot you wish but no larger than 24 inches and you can use one to nine trees (no more than 9). Start looking around for rocks you can use in the arrangement. These limits are to be sure everyone can finish their saikei in the allotted time from noon to 4 pm. The limit is 10 people.

Anyone who would like to seek office for the 200l year, see Gloria Norberg, our nominating committee chairperson.

Shohin Bonsai Meeting

The Shohin Society's next meeting is Saturday, September 16th starting at 10:30 AM. Marty Klajnowski of San Antonio will give a program on pomegranates, which is one of the best flowering and fruiting trees for shohin bonsai. Also on the agenda is discussing our November dig and deciding on programs for 2001.

Following the program there will be a "do your own thing" workshop. Bring anything you would like, especially pomegranates, to work on from raw material to restyling. There will be lots of help available. You can just observe if you like.

Everyone is welcome to attend and take part in the meeting and workshop. The Shohin Society has no fees or dues. Bring a brown bag lunch or enjoy hot dogs provided by our Shohin Society "kitty".

Meetings are at Persimmon Hill Bonsai, 12001 Red Hawk Cove in Austin. Questions? Please call Terry or Sheila at 512-280-5575 or email to  We usually break up about 2:30 PM. Come to learn, share and enjoy shohin bonsai with enthusiasts from throughout the state.

November 15, 16, 17, 2002

Offer your help and support!!!!!!

Show Chairpersons: Chuck & Pat Ware
Registration Chairpersons: Greg & Shelia Setter
Treasurer: Arlene Hastings
Vendor Chairpersons: Mike & Candy Hansen
Goodie Bag Chairperson: Libby Huffman
Exhibit Chairperson: Marty Klajnowski
Transport/Hospitality Chairperson: Gary Martilla
Co-Chairperson: Rachel Cynwinski
Publicity Chairperson: Elaine White
Raffle Chairperson: Gloria Norberg
Co-chairperson: Alfred Lopez
Monitor Chairperson: Jeff Holmes
Co-chairpersons: Audrey Lanier
Charlotte Cranberg
Food Chairperson: Sandra Vitone
Co-chairperson: Mary Martini
Logo/theme Chairperson: Jim Bauman (Jimbo)
Co-chairpersons: Jordan Merson & Alisan Cla