Asymmetry Podcast w/ Shelly and Eve

New Mirai member here! I absolutely LOVED the most recent episode of the podcast with @Sheltone and @Eve, especially when talking about the different generational approaches to gender disparity in Bonsai.

I also found the part of the discussion fascinating that dealt with the idea of an artist’s gender identity when they’re making a tree.

So brings me to my two questions:

@Sheltone I would love to see some of your work and trees! Anywhere I can find these on Instagram or the like? Also, you mentioned Brandon Myron (sp?) Anywhere I could find his stuff as well?



Absolutely agree! A Great Podcast!

P.S.: I also like the idea of Eve doing a stream!


Count me in agreement as well! No other Asymmetry podcast has left me feeling so stoked about bonsai.


Hi there all,

@Sheltone just emailed me reaching out about an online lecture Kathy Shaner will be on July 19th from 10am to 1pm PDT about her experience as an apprentice in Japan! This seems like an amazing opportunity to hear some of her stories and perspective. Here is the link to sign up:

Beginning this month, the Oakland-Fukuoka Sister City Association will hold a series of virtual lectures as part of its Japanese Living Environment program. To learn more and to register, click on the links below. Questions can be sent to


No links :disappointed: I can email but lazy. :joy:

@Bonsai_Bentley did you try selecting the zoom link listed in the bottom of the paragraph of my last post? I just tested it on my computer and was able to get through.

Oh, I assumed that was just for the thing on the 19th. Not the entire series. Thanks!

Just finished the podcast. Definitely looking forward to a beginner series with Eve!

And thanks to all three of you for the conversation!



Welcome to Mirai. You found the best place to learn about bonsai, that’s for sure.

I think I was confusing when I was trying to talk about gender. The thing is, the ‘outside world’ thinks everyone who does bonsai is either Mr. Miyaki or a sweet lady from the garden club clip-clip-cliping trees. I was trying ( poorly it seems!) out that gender isn’t really the issue from a design standpoint. And my example was Brandon’s trees ( not sure how to see them) as he does such elegant work, some very delicate literati, etc. Basically my point is, stereotypes suck.

As for seeing my work - I am pretty new at the game and most of my trees are still in development. But I will try and get some photos on my instagram acct this summer or fall ( @shelsvo)

Thanks for the kind comments. And I am pretty stoked to see Eve get started as well - she is a talented artist and looking forward to see her work.



Hey Shelly!

Thanks for the welcome–Mirai has officially made Netflix obsolete in my book (my wife is also relieved when I don’t talk about trees for 45 minutes, although she’s humoring me with a trip to Sequoia next week, the dear lady).

But no, you weren’t confusing at all–if anything, I simplified or mischaracterized your comments in my post!

Just wanted to say that I think the evolution of aesthetic terms for describing work is something we should talk about more–though it might be easy to describe a California Juniper trunk as traditionally masculine and a delicate literati as traditionally feminine, I think its worth asking if thinking in terms of the binary can sometimes box us in creatively since it can often lead us to think in stereotypes about the stylist, and, therefore, ourselves. I guess I’m just a big proponent of the idea that language has the power to set the parameters in our own artistic practice, and bonsai is no different.

Anyway, thank you for challenging our association of gender stereotypes with an artist’s work, and I think that’s just an extremely useful conversation to have in an evolving art form with extant gender disparity, so let’s keep having it.

Can’t wait to see your work on insta. Keep killing it.


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Your point about language rings true ( I’m butchering the quote, but Keats said something that I like - Language is the master of thought, not the other way around.) The classic ‘masculine’ , ‘feminine’ is, I think (?) a holdover from Japanese aesthetic language. First design class at Mirai and I’m all like ‘non -binary!!’. But. There is utility in the concept even if the terms feel dated. Slender trunk? Usually is going to look best with narrow profile of branches, smaller, more delicate, pads, But then you have so many yamadori that don’t fit any of it. I have a delicate dance of an RMJ that is decidedly ‘feminine’ but it only nods at some of the tenants of feminine design. So masculine/feminine concepts are useful jumping off points, but particularly as Western Bonsai develops and the wildness of the tree is more embraced, yeah, I think we need some new language.



@Sheltone loved the podcast :raised_hands: we definitely have a better vocabulary to work with these days and I find the whole masculine/feminine descriptions vague and very dated :+1: let’s all try and move forward and go a little deeper with our terminology.