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- Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
A review of this book is somewhat difficult. Mainly, I enjoyed it, if anything, for the book's bonsai photo series. All photos are glossy, although most of the showcased bonsai are are not full or half page images. The quality of print, mostly, makes up for this, but there are many shots of trees that are difficult to examine in detail due to their small(picture)size.
The information Craig provides on inorganic/organic soil mixtures, and types of various fired clay used by the Japanese, such as Akadama, Kanuma, Kiryu, are helpful, and mainly accurate, e.g. Akadama is used for feeder root development, Kanuma is used for acid loving bonsai, and Kiryu is good for conifers. PH levels are included for each, as different varietals demand different PH levels from the acidic to the alkaline.
Craig also goes into repotting basics, watering, and, in great detail, nutrient requirements for bonsai. In this, he does a thorough job. He also touches on fertlizing, the influx and remedy for pests, and pruning briefly. He goes into more detail with technical wiring and branch ramification, although in this, it is obvious that he is not a proficient technician.
Craig touches on the various classical styles of bonsai, such as literati, han kengai, informal upright, etc. and offers personal insights on alternatives to raffia(which in his case is vet tape)and tools; from hand tools to power tools e.g. scorps and Arbortech power chisels, pro grinders, and mini grinders. He also describes the makings of shari, jin, uro, and provides step by step pictorials on how to achieve the aforementioned.
This book also goes into great detail about Penjing, which means landscape scenery in Chinese(which may or may not involve bonsai)in contrast to 'Penzai' which the Japanese term 'Bonsai' is derived from mispronounciation. He also goes into brief detail about Suiseki, which is stone appreciation, as well as manufacturing hand-made daizas or display stands molded to the set of the stone.
Again, briefly, he touches on tokonoma, which are alcoves that display a single bonsai with accompaniments(such as herb accents and scrolls)as well as various types of ancient alcoves, such as Tsukeshoin, and hondoko. Suffice it to say that Craig is prolific by way of scope if not always in detail.
The great thing about this book is that he travels from Africa to Utah, and seemingly every place in between, to show us bonsai that others have created. Some of these bonsai are beautiful and well crafted indeed.
However, what I didn't like about this book, is the fact that nearly everyone is a 'master' to Craig. This was hardly the case. Kunio Kobayashi is a master, yes. John Naka is a master, yes. Masahiko Kimura is a master, yes. But 99% of all those Craig considers to be 'masters' are intermediate technicians at best. That said, just by reading this book, you get the sense that Craig is a sincerely humble enthusiast. Because of this, it makes the book seem more...friendly and fun to read.
The bottom line is this: Craig's knowledge on the care, needs, and maintenance of bonsai is masterful. However, Craig is not a master technician. 99% of his finished projects are at their very best, the work of a novice-intermediate technician. You'll realize this when you see his work. This is not to put Craig down, because he seems like a very nice person, and since I have never met him, you can see that by the above statement, this book is truly friendly, fun, and full of knowledge...just not a master bonsai stylist/technician's knowledge.
Having read the book long ago in its entirety, I still refer back to it from time to time, honestly, for the photos. Craig will take you around the world, and you will have a great traveling companion in him. I recommend this book for beginners to intermediate level enthusiasts. The quality of the binding and photos alone is worth the purchase price. However, for master bonsai technicians, this book is not for you. But for the rest of us, it's a great find.