Welcome to my Homepage and thanks for clicking on my link. I hope to present you with a vast overview of my designs and philosophies on Bonsai and, hopefully, not bore you to death. First though, a little bit about me and what you’ll be seeing here on my site.
Born in New York City in 1956 living in the area of Frankonia, Bavaria for the past 30 where I enjoy the lifestyle afforded to me by my profession as an airline pilot for a major airline here in Europe. That said, I do NOT make my living as a bonsai artist or trader since it then would become just another job and I intend to keep it interesting. I have raw material to sell or trade as well as finished trees for sale so if you see something just email or call.
Whereas my profession afforded me the time to invest in bonsai it does not provide me the freedom to be creative since flying is highly regimented due to vast regulations. This is where bonsai comes into the picture for me. Styling, as well as collecting, trees helps me to balance out my regimented lifestyle with nature and imagination. This is a place where I find peace, meditation and relaxation.
When I finally take time for my trees; whether it be creating, collecting or just plain watering, I relieve myself of all the stress in my professional and personal life. No pondering about the past…….no stress about the future. The only thing that really counts at that moment is me and the tree.
Every tree has a story and everyone starting in bonsai also has some sort of story and I as well am no exception to the rule. My first tree, a small maple (acer palmatum), I received as a present which was ordered it through a mail order catalogue. At the time, I couldn’t tell you the difference between a weed and a plant but this bonsai absolutely fascinated me. So, I decided to buy a few books and see if I could create one of those fantastic imports you see from Japan. After reading the book from cover to cover I ‘styled’ the tree and a year later it succumbed to fungus and I ended up giving it to the great compost in the sky.
So, what did I do wrong? I found out later that I styled the tree at the wrong time of the year and just plain tortured it. One basic fact I learned was that you can’t get everything out of a book. I needed a teacher.
But, not being one to give up easily, I decided to give it another try and I visited a plant store and bought one of the many imports from China. Shortly thereafter, I visited a bonsai show in a nearby town and I was overcome by the many fantastic trees on display. That is where I saw my first real bonsai and the disease set in! I had the chance, during the show, to speak with a few of the ‘professionals’ and that really woke the passion in me.
The tree I purchased in 1994 was a simple elm of which I still have today and experiment on it from time to time. Since the tree really lays in my heart it is not for sale since I can never part with it.
My beginning in Bonsai started with this elm in 1994. Since that time I have been active in local clubs and learned under the guidance of many great artist including Pius Notter, Serge Clemenc, Hartmund Münchenbach, Uli Ernst and Walter Pall just to name a few. I earned 1st place in the New Talent competition 2007 for Germany, placed in the European wide contest a year later in Vienna, Austria and have done exhibitions as far as Lithuania. I also work very closely with Kevin Wilson for many years as well as my teacher and mentor Jürgen Zaar of which I give personal thanks for having faith and patience in me.
The most important basis for my passion in Bonsai lies in its spiritual aspect. Next to my love of plants and nature comes the fascination of art which is hidden in raw material and comes alive during the styling process.
In our culture here in the west it is many times seen, as so many other art objects, as a timely investment.
We need to look further into what the Japanese refer to as ‘wabi-sabi’ to even begin to understand the meaning of Bonsai. It is said that the western mind cannot really comprehend wabi-sabi but it basically translates to the recognition of beauty in insignificant objects. And so therefore, my work with Bonsai is also based on this meditation philosophy.
If you attend most of the Bonsai shows and conventions today what is offered is not only a Bonsai display but also lots of action in the form of live demonstrations. During these ‘demonstrations’ raw material will be transformed into a finished work of art within a short period of time. Sometimes within a period of around 4 hours. The thinking behind this I believe is to spark the interest of the public even more in the art of Bonsai. While this may be true it has little to do with the real intent and philosophy of Bonsai and I can’t say that I agree with this method.
Another nuance is that many beginners attending first time workshops expect to leave at the end of the day with a ‘finished tree’. I have never really grasped either of these concepts as they have little to do with the philosophy of Bonsai. One also has to ask just how many of these trees are living today. While I do take part in Demo’s though, it’s only when I can style the tree in accordance with my philosophy and when I feel that the material is ready.
A Bonsai is never finished. In comparison to other art forms it is a life long process for the tree as well as the artist since both are constantly evolving.
Bonsai for me is a life long process, an awareness of life itself. It is an awareness of life within the tree in combination with the laws of nature to help form the tree.
And last, but not least, a summary of my philosophy to all that might study under me: Respect for nature and the laws thereof, patience with the tree and yourself and the will to progress further.