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kottke.org posts about AbdarRahman Eatwell

Watch the Careful Creation of an Instant Bonsai Tree

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 02, 2022

Bonsai is an art that rewards patience. You make moves, often small, and then wait years for the results to show themselves. Trees can take decades to shape into their “finished” form and even then they aren’t ever done. Instead of all that waiting, AbdarRahman Eatwell of Bonsai Releaf took an off-the-shelf juniper and through clever pruning quickly turned it into a bonsai tree that mimics the look of a much older tree that has been struck by lightning.

An ‘instant’ bonsai seems to be somewhat of an oxymoron, but bonsai from untrained material can be created in a very short space of time. As rewarding as it is to invest years into a tree, there is still an undeniable satisfaction gleaned from an occasional faster transformation, but that is always just the beginning of the journey!

I am interested in practicing bonsai someday, but my discomfort at his bold clipping of those branches (you can’t put them back!) makes me think I am not ready yet.

Transformation of a Bonsai Tree Over 12 Months

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 10, 2021

Ever since I learned about bonsai trees as a kid, I’ve been fascinated with them. In my 20s, my girlfriend bought me a juniper bonsai for my birthday. I was really excited to see what I could do with it, but it was dead in a month and a half, forever dimming my enthusiasm for ever practicing bonsai myself. But I still love observing the process and seeing the results, so I’ve enjoyed watching Bucky Barnes’1Bonsai Releaf videos. His latest video (above) documents the year-long transformation of a Japanese larch tree he purchased for £30 into something that looks like it’s been majestically clinging to a windswept cliff for hundreds of years.

Observation, healing, experimentation, growth, making irreversible choices — so many lovely little themes, lessons, and moments in this video. At one point, well into the process, he clips off most of a long branch and I exclaimed “Oh my God!” out loud. I guess I still need to work on letting go of attachments.

  1. No, not that one.