D Ravindran of Nikki Bonsai conducted a one-day interactive bonsai workshop at the Nandha Arts and Science College, Erode on 22nd January 2013 on the invitation of the college’s Department of Biotechnology. The Principal of the college inaugurated the event. As the Chief Guest, Ravindran addressed the gathering of youngsters and spoke about the importance of developing a passion for bonsais at a young age if one were to practice this art.
A gist of his speech, on Bonsai as an Art and a Hobby:
The chief advantage of pursuing bonsai as a hobby is that it channels the attention of youngsters onto a creative art form, giving them no chance to be distracted into unpleasant or anti social activities. Instead, the art of bonsai grooms them into caring, nurturing and patient young men and women. Moreover, Bonsai is an art that develops slowly and it would take up to ten or fifteen years before one begins to see the fruits of his labour.
Which means that the earlier you start the better. As the bonsai enthusiast matures, so will his plants and he will be able to create beautiful works of art with the experience and aesthetic sense that life has given him. As exceptional stress busters, bonsais are sure to provide excellent companionship during the ups and downs of one’s life. Bonsai is a living art and one can constantly improve and refine it through out one’s life and in the end, it is a wonderful heirloom that can be passed on to the next generation.
The Bonsai Workshop and Demonstration
The workshop/demonstration that followed introduced the students to the Basics of Bonsai. The morning session was devoted to the theoretical aspects of bonsai culture including:
- Horticulture principles
- Selecting a species suitable for bonsai
- Deciding upon the size of bonsai
- Main features of bonsai
- Important styles followed by bonsai masters
The Afternoon Session on Bonsai
The afternoon session saw demonstrations on the formation of some of the styles. Plants used for the demonstration were Casuarina equisetifolia, Ficus jacquinifolia, Ficus virens and Portulacaria afra [jade]. With the help of aluminum wires 3 main styles – formal upright, informal upright and wind swept styles were shown. The students were also shown methods of pruning branches and roots. The demonstration ended with the repotting of the created bonsai into a bonsai pot.
This was followed by an interactive Question-Answer session that saw enthusiastic participation from the students.