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Colin Lewis – USA

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Name: Colin Lewis

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Availability: Usually necessary to book up to a year in advance.  Weekdays are more readily available at shorter notice.

Willingness to Travel: Travel not a problem provided number of days work is greater than number of days travel.

Programs Offered: Workshops, demonstrations, seminars and intensive weekend sessions.  Private lessons, commissions, collections.

Languages Spoken: English, Italian, some Spanish

Best way to Contact: info [at] colinlewisbonsai [dot] com

Bio: I’ve been growing bonsai as an artistic discipline for over thirty years, beginning in my native England and now in the USA. Having been trained in graphic design, which I practiced until my relocation in 2001, it is inevitable that I have some personal opinions about the creativity of bonsai design.

I want each bonsai I create to be different, as original as possible. I have no interest in slavishly following classic styles, although learning them is an essential step to realizing ones own original designs – as important as learning good techniques or horticultural practices. But once we have learned the stylistic traditions, we should observe what they achieve aesthetically and seek our own ways to achieve the same.

The Japanese and Chinese look to their landscapes for inspiration, and they draw on their cultural and artistic heritage for the visual language with which to turn their inspiration into bonsai. This is evident in their different bonsai aesthetics. Yet the thing that drives them to create bonsai art, the ‘spirit of bonsai’ is universal – entirely cross-cultural, east or west.

I believe we should draw upon our own western artistic and cultural heritage to discover new acceptabilities in bonsai aesthetics. If bonsai is an art, it must evolve and progress. Such evolution is not led by a hierarchy or elite group (not in any art) but by individual artists who understand the spirit of bonsai and have the courage and dedication to explore new paths.

If we are to create ever more imaginative and evocative bonsai, we should also look to our own western landscapes for inspiration. But there is one source of inspiration that is common to all bonsai enthusiasts, wherever they live: that fanciful landscape of the mind where anything is possible. Ceativity begins with imagination, and the determination that if you can imagine it, you can make it.

More about this Artist:
Art of Bonsai Interview

Ulmus elegantissima Jaqueline Hillier

One Experience with Colin Lewis – USA

  • Hard to believe I’m the first to comment on Colin Lewis on this site.

    We in the U.S., and the East Coast in particular, have been incredibly lucky that Colin moved to Massachussets in the late 90′s.

    Colin brought the same innovative approach to bonsai that he honed in Europe to us in the U.S. His was the first widely available, intensive, multi-year course of study east of the Mississippi in over a decade. He continues to offer his students his ever-inquisitive mind that questions the status quo but also acknowledges the hard-earned wisdom of those that came before him, whatever their tradition.

    Now centered at his studio on the seacoast of southern Maine, I expect to see a string of great new bonsai appearing from his garden.

    Don’t take my word for it though, just read his books, his articles online, and most importantly study his trees. They speak more eloquently than I can.


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