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with Colin Lewis
Online Class

Bonsai Design Techniques

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Create exciting, original bonsai with advanced design techniques! Join renowned bonsai artist and author Colin Lewis, and explore bonsai as a true art form. Begin by developing an eye for design by sketching trunks and canopies. Then learn the best way to shape branches while leaving little evidence of human interaction. You'’ll work with junipers, “the queens of bonsai,’’ and find out how to develop shari and live veins. Moving on, expertly deal with deadwood and shape jins before learning how to use fire to bend your jin into new positions, or age jins to achieve a mature look. Plus, uncover Colin’'s secret method for heavy engineering with the wedge principle, and successfully compose and shape new branch structures. To round out your new skills, prepare your bonsai for final shaping and enjoy how the final touches transform your tree’'s image.


  • advanced
  • 7 episodes
  • 2h35m

Included in this Class

1. Introduction to Bonsai

1. Introduction to Bonsai

Join your instructor, world-renowned bonsai artist Colin Lewis, for an exhilarating exploration of bonsai design. Tap into the striking poetry of this age-old tradition as Colin shares the history of various designs from around the world, highlighting a variety of aesthetics, emotions and philosophies as he goes. You'll finish the lesson feeling inspired and ready to assess a variety of trees for their future potential.

2. Leave No Trace Behind

2. Leave No Trace Behind

Discover Colin's professional and ingenious secrets for hiding traces of human intervention on branches, trunks and roots. You'll also learn how to use guy wires and toggles to bend branches into the position that you want, applying consistent pressure and creating the fewest cuts in your branches as possible.

3. Junipers

3. Junipers

Colin turns your focus to juniper trees, which have special qualities that lend themselves beautifully to the art of bonsai. You'll learn masterful methods for creating a jin - a sculptural, exposed branch that's been stripped of bark- using a variety of time-tested tools. Colin also shows you how to safely and effectively develop shari, which are areas of deadwood on the trunk.

Recommended with this class

  • Wood carving chisels
  • Electric drill, Dremel power tool and carving bits
  • Wire: anodized aluminum (range of sizes) and/or heat-annealed copper wire, depending on tree type
  • Lime sulfur and butane microtorch
  • Bonsai cut paste