I always feel privileged to be asked to review something on my blog, as long as the person asking expects to get an honest and fair review. When Oscar asked me to review Bonsai Empire’s latest course I was delighted to accept and as usual he stipulated, ” It goes without saying that we expect you to be completely honest in your review. ”
I was interested to see if the approach had changed, we all know that in the last year there is plenty on offer for bonsai learning via live streaming. I had talked to Oscar about this at Noelanders back in February and we both agreed that there is room for both live streamed and archived content paying per month via Mirai and a concise online course such as those offered by Bonsai Empire for a one off payment. It’s a bit like trying to compare conifers and deciduous bonsai, both are great to have in your collection.
As usual, The Bonsai Empire website layout for the course is easy to use and allows to to start at the top and work your way through the content as intended, or skip to the bits you want to see.
– Advanced techniques – including grafting, heavy bending, detail wiring, nebari development, applying moss for display
– Wide selection of tree-species, in different stages of development
– Background information on philosophy and aesthetics
I started at the top and watched most of the content on philosophy and aesthetics and design. It’s obvious that Bjorn has put a lot of time into this section and as a lifetime resource, it will be a nice option to dip back into, especially the history and aesthetics portions. I did find it a little heavy going at times but a course should cater for all.
I then moved on to the techniques sections looking at Junipers, Pines and broadleaf trees. I was interested to see at what level this had been pitched. To call a course advanced, is a big decision, after all, what is advanced in bonsai terms? We all know the ladder of bonsai learning has more rungs than we can count and what’s advanced for one practitioner is perhaps common knowledge for another. I think the best way to state how this course is pitched is that it’s a perfect follow up for the Intermediate course. I’d be surprised if those who purchased the intermediate course weren’t the first to pre-order the advanced knowing the quality of content. I know a few friends who certainly did.
The techniques sections were well laid out, had top quality video content and were easy to follow with all the main points recapped at the end, but then we’ve come to expect this from all the Bonsai Empire content. Highlights for me were the design elements and Bjorn taking you step by step through his thought process. All the actual techniques were concisely explained and would be a good reference to revisit if you were trying these out for the first time.
It’s now clear after watching 90% of the content that there will be a Part 2 coming later in the year and as much as it would have been nice to see an instant follow up to the techniques used on the subject trees, we will have to be patient.
Have you watched all the content already? Here’s a challenge for you, who’s the first to comment below that’s spotted the amazing appearing then disappearing Ladybird/ Ladybug 🙂 Yes, I need to get a life 🙄
I’d normally at this point take the time to point out what I didn’t like, but Oscar has stuck with the tried and tested Bonsai Empire standard of quality and content which we have come to expect. We know what Bjorn delivers and it was nice this time to see species outside of Japan get covered in the content.
Bonsai Empire brings us Exhibition and demo content from all over the world via Youtube and is fast becoming our Bonsai News Channel and keeps us all informed of what is happening across the world. I’d love to see this network of contacts getting the opportunity for further bonsai Artists to deliver course content. It was great to see Michael Hagedorn’s different slant on bonsai and I’d love to see other artists step up and take the challenge, however, that’s Oscar’s call and to be honest, they have a hard act to follow.
Thanks for the opportunity to review this Oscar and Bjorn. I look forward to the next instalment.