Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Bonsai Bob to pass on wisdom


For 33 years, Bob Johnson has had an ongoing passion for the art of bonsai.

And his recent retirement offers a chance to explore a new venture with the craft.

The retired paramedic is eager to share his interest and knowledge for bonsai with group classes.

‘‘I want to teach others about the art,’’ Mr Johnson said.

The experience­d bonsai artist first got hooked on the form after seeing the wonderful creations up close.

‘‘My brother-in-law who lived in Swan Hill got me started.

‘‘He had a couple of bonsai trees and I was completely infatuated by it.

‘‘He also had a book on bonsai and I was quick to borrow that.’’

And from there it grew, into a huge joy in his life.

‘‘It’s really a passion more than a hobby,’’ Mr Johnson said.

‘‘I started with two or three and now maybe have 200 to 300.

‘‘It becomes a bad disease, addictive,’’ he said, jokingly.

And Mr Johnson says the artform is the perfect activity during these times.

‘‘With COVID, people can’t travel,’’ Mr Johnson said.

‘‘There’s nowhere to go and people want to do something.’’

He said, as a creative outlet, bonsai brought a feel-good factor.

‘‘It’s really satisfying to make something with your own hands,’’ Mr Johnson said.

His experience as a paramedic is something that he will draw on when teaching others.

‘‘Being a paramedic is to talk and treat people,’’ Mr Johnson said. ‘‘Talking is the whole job.’’

He plans to utilise these people skills when sharing his passion.

Of course, Mr Johnson is no stranger to showcasing and sharing bonsai — having given demonstrat­ions and talks at the Rotary Easter Art Show, as well as giving exhibition­s at a number of groups, and oneon-one sessions over the years.

‘‘Making bonsai is a life-long thing,’’ Mr Johnson said.

‘‘It’s an art of making them.’’

The evolving process of bonsai can be years in the making.

And that’s why the artist encourages young and old to get involved.

‘‘It’s for all ages,’’ Mr Johnson said.

‘‘I wish I started younger.

‘‘The class is also for those with an intermedia­te knowledge or just beginners.

‘‘I’ll be looking to do a class once a month, with five to six in a class,’’ Mr Johnson said.

Things will progress based on interest, after Mr Johnson hosts the first class on August 8, with limited positions available.

● For informatio­n and updates on more classes, contact Bob on 0408 165 566 or email rose_

 ??  ?? ■ Bob’s beautiful Japanese garden, home to his amazing bonsai collection.
■ Bob’s beautiful Japanese garden, home to his amazing bonsai collection.

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