Over the past 20 years, technology has dramatically transformed how we live, how we work and how we connect. How we learn is no exception. So when I was asked to review The Advanced Bonsai Course 2 the long awaited sequel to the The Advanced Course from Bonsai Empire, I was in no doubt as to the quality of the content. Instructor Bjorn Bjorholm guides you through the long-term impact of techniques on a wide variety of tree species. Learn about pad creation for exhibition, branch splitting on conifers and establishing a great Nebari with air-layered deciduous material. Understand how to fertilise trees in different stages and the effects of macro and micronutrients on plants.
But this course is not exclusively about advanced techniques. It also discusses the aesthetics of traditional and contemporary Bonsai display, from the tokonoma to the exhibition hall.
This may be a surprise to many but on average, students in online learning conditions performed modestly better than those receiving instruction in a workshop environment. A workshop setting can stifle learning by allowing dominant personalities to take the bulk of the time from the professional artist. Quieter individuals become limited in their engagement and may even be embarrassed to ask questions. Learners can take a course from the workplace during lunch or from the comfort of their home and learn at their own pace with 24/7 access.
An important factor in the production of these courses is the sophisticated way Bonsai Empire use technology. Breaking down lessons into video segments and running interactive discussions, in which students can engage with other users. Nobody will sit through a 6 hour-long lecture online (yes it’s 6 hours of solid information and learning), so you have got to chunk things up.
The flexibility the course from Bonsai Empire is very attractive for a generation where time is constantly being squeezed and the demands of work heightened — you can fit the distance-learning around your life.
Bjorn Bjorholm teaching style is easy on the eye and because you can revisit as often as you wish easier to understand and review. I particularly like the detail in ‘Advanced fertilisation’ and ‘Myth busting’ I found myself making written notes (I rarely do this) you can get a preview and purchase here: https://www.bonsaiempire.com/courses/advanced-course-2
The section on Contemporary Japanese Bonsai display is really detailed and the explanation as to how to place and why the elements are displayed in a particular way. Bjorn gives you a guideline to follow on how to create a basic display and build from there.