Bonsai As A Hobby Vs. A Profession
This hobby of ours is part art, part gardening, part science and part engineering. It has rules and guidelines for the serious among us with occasional scorn for those who break the “rules.”
Bonsai is full of different critics and judges that, for better or worse, will lay their opinion on you and your collection. Right or wrong, invited or uninvited, they’ll do it. Like most things in life, if you put yourself out there, you’ll get feedback.
Some of it will be good, some will be bad. Most encouraging, some disheartening.
Before you let it get to you, ask yourself this question: Is bonsai your hobby, or is it your job?
If it’s your job, listen to the feedback. Both the good and the bad. It may be warranted and give you insight to further your career.
Or, it could be utter nonsense that’s best to read, then ignore forever.
If bonsai is your hobby, who cares what other people think?
Do you like it? That’s the only feedback that matters.
If you do, you win. If you think it’s pretty, you win. If it relaxes you, you win. If you had fun building your little tree, you win.
Don’t worry about the rules, the rigid styles, the comments or the haters. Worry about yourself.
Just have fun with it.
If you’re going to compete, follow the rules of the competition. If you’re going to showcase in a magazine, follow the rules of the magazine. If you’re going to sell to rigid collectors and professionals, follow the rules of design.
If you’re building a bonsai for yourself, then do what you like.
Keep it informal (or formal, if that’s the style you like.) And above all, have fun.