Classical Bonsai MasterClass


I’d like to announce a new educational bonsai program I’m starting in spring the Classical Bonsai MasterClass



If you have been growing bonsai for some time and wish to advance your skill level in producing high quality bonsai, then this Classical Bonsai MasterClass is designed for you. The detailed instruction and individual help with your bonsai will reinforce the principles and techniques learned from the program. The instruction and personal attention will provide confidence in the development of your future bonsai designs.

Image Beginners as well as experienced bonsai hobbyists are welcome to join



The Classical Bonsai MasterClass will consist of lectures on classical bonsai and guided workshops to ground your skills and reinforce the principles discussed. You will work on your bonsai with the guidance of William N. Valavanis, increasing your understanding and skill while also improving the quality of your trees. The practical application of the techniques learned and the personal attention during the work sessions will be beneficial to the improvement of your bonsai skill and understanding of classical bonsai art. The level of quality bonsai is increasing in the United States as can be clearly seen in the U.S. National Bonsai Exhibitions.

Improve and refine your trees during the open workshops for developing exhibition quality bonsai.Techniques for developing and refining both deciduous and evergreen species will be covered.

Image Bud pinching to increase twig ramification and maintain size for deciduous species

Image Korean hornbeam 2005

ImageKorean hornbeam 2010

Image Korean hornbeam August 2013

Image Korean hornbeam November 2013

Image RAF dwarf Scots pine 1993

Image RAF dwarf Scots pine 2003 before refinement

Image RAF dwarf Scots pine 2003 after refinement

Image RAF dwarf Scots pine 2013 before refinement, again. Developing bonsai is a series of wiring and refinement to create masterpieces.

Image RAF dwarf Scots pine 2013 after refinement

Image Refinement techniques will be introduced then applied to student’s bonsai during the open workshops

Professionally trained horticulturist and bonsai artist William N. Valavanis will teach the Classical Bonsai MasterClass at the International Bonsai Arboretum in Rochester, New York.


Image Teaching classical bonsai in Brazil

Image  Teaching classical bonsai at the Noelanders Exhibition in Belgium with the assistance of Corin Tomlinson, Greenwood Gardens in Nottingham England. Corin Tomlinson apprenticed with Mr. Valavanis from 1989 to 1991 through a cooperative effort of Merrist Wood College (England) and The Ohio State University (USA) as part of his horticultural degree requirement. His father, Harry Tomlinson sent his son to Mr. Valavanis for formal bonsai training. Corin Tomlinson, second generation bonsai artist traveled to Belgium to assist with the demonstrations.

Drawing on his experience of teaching classical bonsai art for over fifty years on five continents, Mr. Valavanis will freely share his knowledge and techniques and help you to practically apply them in the open workshops. Lectures on core principles and skills will begin each day. Detailed techniques and refined design will be illustrated using some of the developed specimens from the Valavanis Bonsai Collection.


Image The Classical Bonsai MasterClass sessions will be held at the International Bonsai Arboretum in Rochester, New York, where thousands of students have learned and been introduced to classical bonsai art with the guidance of William N. Valavanis. The facilities contain a comfortable venue and atmosphere for teaching and working on student’s individual bonsai with everything necessary for bonsai creation and appreciation is available.




Limited to only four students, the Classical Bonsai MasterClass will be customized to the student’s interests and bonsai brought to the workshops. Seasonally related and other advance topics will be fully explained and explored in future sessions to be announced at a later date.



Registration for the three day Classical Bonsai MasterClass is $600 per student which includes personal instruction by Wm. N. Valavanis, lunch and snacks during the day. This session can also be extended by participating or observing the regularly scheduled open workshops on Friday and Saturday. Please prepare and bring your tools, wire, supplies as well as plants, and are encouraged to bring both untrained nursery stock as well as developed bonsai for the open workshops. Items may also be purchased during the sessions. Students traveling from long distances may work on specimens from the International Bonsai Arboretum.

Transportation may be easily arranged from the Greater Rochester International Airport as well as to and from the motels. The eight motels within two miles of the International Bonsai Arboretum offer comfortable accommodations in all price ranges.


Please contact Mr. Valavanis for any questions and to register for the Classical Bonsai MasterClass.

585 334-2595



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