PSBA - Who We Are

Puget Sound Bonsai Association is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the education of its members and the general public in the art and culture of bonsai. Club members have bonsai experience that ranges from beginner to recognized experts in the art. PSBA holds regularly scheduled club meetings featuring demonstrations and educational programs by national and international bonsai artists. The club also stages public shows and participates in community events where members' trees are showcased. PSBA was formed in 1973.

PSBA Sponsors


PSBA General Meeting - February 25th at CUH - Guest Artist Austin Heitzman

Austin Heitzman is a furniture maker based in Portland Oregon. He specializes in custom furniture and bonsai stands made from locally salvaged city trees. His pieces are influenced by a deep love of nature and an appreciation for Japanese art cultivated through his exploration of bonsai. Austin likes to contrast refined carving and clean lines with the natural defects in the tree making each piece a collaboration between himself and nature. 

Austin's presentation will detail traditional bonsai display; how to pair an appropriate stand with your tree and pot, and correct use of a jita for an accent. It will also go over contemporary American bonsai display and creative use of wooden material to make your display stand out.


Happy Holidays to all!

We have a great program coming up next year!

  •  In February, our meeting on the 25th will be highlighted by a discussion on displaying bonsai by Austin Heitzman from Portland. 
  • Our March 25th meeting will feature a demonstration by Scott Elser who will also host a workshop on the 24th. 
  • On the 22nd of April, we'll have a study group style meeting where members are encouraged to bring and work on their own trees and get styling suggestions from advanced members. 
  • In May, we have the Spring Show at PBM on Mother's Day weekend. 
  • June 1st is our annual bonsai auction at PBM. 
  • On June 24th we have a meeting with guest artist yet to be announced. 
  • June 29th and 30th we have a club display at Japan Fair held in Meydenbauer Center, Bellevue. 
  • July 14th is our pot luck. 
  • Bill Valavanis will headline our September 23rd meeting. Bill will also be hosting one or two workshops. 
  • Our October 28th meeting will again be a work on your own tree study group syle meeting. 
  • November 25th, Todd Schlafer of Denver will put on a bonsai demonstration and workshop.

Please remember, dues for 2019 are due by January 1st, 2019.


PSBA General and Business Meeting - November 26th at CUH - Guest Artist Mike Pistello

PSBA is conducting our annual business meeting on November 26th at the Center for Urban Horticluture beginning at 7PM followed by a presentation and bonsai demonstration from this month's guest artist, Mike Pistello. Please join us. Mike will also be hosting a workshop at Bonsai Northwest from 11:30AM to 3:30PM on Sunday November 25th. And, if enough people are interested, Mike is willing to host a second workshop on Monday afternoon in Maltby. Please contact Lynn for more information and to sign up.

About Mike:

Mike Pistello began practicing bonsai twenty-five years ago at just thirteen years old. His grandfather had begun cultivating bonsai in the early seventies after attending the Fuji Bonsai Club's first-ever show, and introduced Mike to the art. At fourteen, Mike joined the Fuji Bonsai Club, active at the time in Berkley, CA. There he met Jimmy Inadomi, who would become his first teacher, schooling him on the basics and laying the foundation for future success. A year later, Mike joined the Yamato Bonsai Kai and met one of the founders, Yoneo Uchida (better known as Johnny). Mr. Uchida is the proprietor of Grove Way Bonsai Nursery in Hayward, CA, and has served as sensei to the Yamoto club for over forty years. Mike and Johnny quickly became life-long friends and as Mike's skills improved, Johnny allowed him to style many of his personal bonsai.  

In the early two-thousands, Mike met Boon Manakitivipart and Boon's friend and senpai (senior apprentice, mentor) Akio Kondo. Both men had apprenticed with Kihachiro Kamiya in Japan and practiced a style of bonsai for which Mike had great respect. Inspired by their work, Mike joined the Bay Island Bonsai Club and partook in Boon's famous Bonsai Intensive Series. In the ensuing years, Mike has also worked with internationally recognized artists Ryan Neil and Matt Reel. 

Mike is a member of the Bay Area Bonsai Associates and the East Bay Bonsai Club. He has conducted workshops at multiple Golden State Bonsai Federation conventions and volunteers at the GSBF Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt. He is entrusted as the custodian of a particular juniper styled by the legendary Masahiko Kimura in 1987 on his first visit to the United States. Mike has performed demonstrations for many clubs throughout the Bay Area and enjoys teaching bonsai as often as his schedule allows. Some of his favorite species and specialties are: Japanese black pine, Japanese red pine, Sierra juniper, California juniper, and the Itoigawa and Kishu cultivars of shimpaku juniper. 


PSBA General Meeting - Mon. Oct 22, 2018 7:00 pm at CUH - Guest Artist Tyler Sherrod

We are pleased to announce Tyler Sherrod as our guest artist for the October 22nd general meeting. A native of Hickory, North Carolina, Tyler is one of the most talented and promising young artists to return from Japan in recent years. He first became interested in bonsai while at the University of Tennessee and after graduating began working at the Bonsai Learning Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. In 2009, after spending a year there, he started attending Boon Manakitivipart's famous Intensives. In 2011, Boon assisted Tyler in securing an apprenticeship with Shinji Suzuki in Obuse, Japan. Mr. Suzuki is widely regarded as one of the best bonsai artists working today. Tyler spent five years studying in Japan and received his professional certification from the Nippon Bonsai Association in the Spring of 2016. During his apprenticeship, he was responsible for refining both deciduous and conifer bonsai and preparing them for exhibit in the Kokufu-tenTaikan-ten and Sakufu-ten, the three premier bonsai shows in the world. Several of the trees Tyler worked on received top awards. Tyler returned to North Carolina in June of last year to establish his nursery, Dogwood Studios. Since then he has been traveling across the United States and to countries like Germany to perform demonstrations and teach. Tyler wants to "celebrate the vast landscape of America" by "capturing the emotions of the changing landscape through bonsai." The meeting will take place from 7:00pm to approximately 9:30pm at the UW Center for Urban Horticulture. We look forward to seeing you there!  

To see a journal of his time in Japan.
To visit his main website.


September 24th General Meeting at C.U.H. - Interactive Roundtable Workshop - B.Y.O.B (Bring Your Own Bonsai)

As part of our ongoing effort to make meetings more interactive, our September 24th general meeting will be a roundtable workshop. This meeting will replicate the informal atmosphere of a study group and provide a great opportunity to work on bonsai in the company of fellow members. Everyone is invited to bring a tree (or two, or three!) to work on and/or discuss. This is a great chance for new and intermediate practitioners to receive personalized advice and direction from members with decades of experience. It will also be an opportunity for more experienced folks to bounce styling ideas off their peers and/or help out our newer members. We encourage everyone to bring at least one tree regardless of quality, condition or development. If you've been debating on whether to remove a certain branch, pondering which pot would be the best fit, or wondering how to mix your soil, this is the meeting for you. Please bring your own tools and wire if necessary. Several highly experienced members will be available to provide input and advice on the care and styling of your tree(s).


We look forward to seeing you on Monday September 24th at 7pm at the UW Center for Urban Horticulture!