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 Workshop and General Meeting - March 24 & 25 - Guest Artist Scott Elser

Our guest artist for March is Scott Elser. He will be doing a workshop on Sunday, March 24th at Bonsai NW in Tukwila from 11:30-3:30. The workshop is limited to 8 participants at a cost of $55. Participants are expected to bring a mature tree with good potential (bring more in case there is only minimal work to be done on one of the trees) and tools and wire. Bonsai NW has a wide selection of trees available if you wish to purchase one for the workshop. Silent observers are welcome at a cost of $10. This is a great opportunity for those new (or not so new) to bonsai to pay a small price to learn by observing. If you elect to participate, please be on time so the workshop is not disrupted. 

If you wish to sign up for the workshop you can do so by emailing workshop coordinator Lynn Paietta.  Lynn can provide you a mailing address to send your check or a link to pay by credit card online on our secure online payment system.

Our general meeting featuring a demo by Scott will be held Monday March 25 at 7 pm at CUH.  We look forward to seeing you all there!

Scott started early down the bonsai path by studying the trees of his grandfather, Mark Emmert. Bonsai was a natural marriage of his love of the outdoors with his graphic design background. Combining his outdoor experience and passion for native Northwest species, he began gathering trees from the wild to build his collection.

Scott took his bonsai skills to another level when he began studying with Boon Manakativipart, graduating from Boon’s three year Intensive course in 2005. Armed with this in-depth instruction, Scott began entering trees in the US National Bonsai Show.  He won Best Conifer in 2008 and 2010, and Best of Show in 2012. His pursuit of bonsai as an artistic endeavor continues with Ryan Neil at Bonsai Mirai.

Scott draws on his profession as a graphic designer to create Northwest inspired bonsai and now teaches the same throughout the region.


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.