Bonsai Instructors in the Portland Metropolitan Area
The Bonsai Society of Portland (BSOP) provides this list of bonsai instructors as part of our mission to promote the art of bonsai through meetings, library resources, mentorship sessions, shows, and instruction. We highly recommend these instructors, all located in the greater Portland, OR area, for teaching bonsai techniques from beginning to advanced.
Brand new to bonsai? You might want to try our mentorship program as a first step prior to in-depth instruction. See the Mentorship menu above for descriptions and schedules.
Click the instructor photo below to see a description of services and a short biography of experience.
Brenden Studio, Greg Brenden (Updated 2/3/19)
As a bonsai artist, Greg specializes in collected native trees and accent plants. He has shown trees and hosted workshops throughout the nation, including a workshop with collected manzanita at the Golden State Bonsai Federation convention in Anaheim, CA in 2005. He has placed entries at the US National Show in Rochester, NY in 2010 and again in 2016. Greg has been volunteering trees and accents for the Portland Japanese Garden's bonsai exhibit since 2016. Greg's accent plantings were featured in 'Decked Out' at the Pacific Bonsai Museum in Federal Way, WA, from April to October 2016, and his Southwestern white pine was shown at The Artisans Cup at the Portland Art Museum in September, 2015. Greg is known for bonsai that are 'Outside the Box'. For something unique, see Greg!
Cheatle, Lee (Updated 2/15/19)
Lee Cheatle has been passionately doing bonsai since 1994. He joined BSOP in 2000, where he has served on the Executive Board as VP Programs for four years and as President for four years, and he continues to chair BSOP’s exceptional Mentorship program. In 2012 he was instrumental in creating the Mentorship 101 program, geared to teaching beginning bonsai techniques. Lee has studied with the finest instructors in the USA: Ryan Neil, Michael Hagedorn, David DeGroot, Boon Manakitivipart, Masa Furukawa and Joe Harris III. He thrives on taking what he has learned and passing it on to others. He would tell you “I was born to teach”. Lee has won numerous awards for bonsai that he has submitted to shows. He is most proud of being accepted to show in The Artisans Cup, where he finished 16th out of 71 entries of the best bonsai in North America. Lee has, for several years now, been a proponent of the new “American” style bonsai, a movement which is becoming prevalent in our country. Lee would love to have you visit his garden and workshops, and is willing to travel to personal gardens and clubs to do presentations.
Contact: Lee Cheatle
Elser, Scott (Updated 2/4/19)
Scott Elser started down the bonsai path by observing the trees of his grandfather while still a teenager. With a passion for native Northwest species, Scott took his bonsai enthusiasm and skills to a higher level by studying with Boon Manakativipart, graduating from his three year Intensive course in 2005. Armed with this instruction, Scott began entering trees in the US National Bonsai Show, winning Best Conifer in 2008 and 2010, and Best of Show, the National Award, 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. He teaches and demonstrates regularly at BSOP and travels throughout the Northwest doing the same.
Contact: Scott Elser
Crataegus Bonsai, Michael Hagedorn (Updated 2/4/19)
Michael Hagedorn apprenticed under Shinji Suzuki of Japan from 2003-2006, and has since crafted a life around bonsai. He has had an urban studio in Portland, Oregon since 2008 where he creates, teaches, and writes about bonsai. His primary teaching outlet is the Portland-based Seasonal Program that fosters a broad and in-depth bonsai experience. Formerly a potter, Michael’s resume includes the authoring the book Post-Dated: The Schooling of an Irreverent Bonsai Monk, founding the Portland Bonsai Village, and co-creating an educational video the Bonsai Fundamentals Course. Feel free to schedule a garden tour with Michael and 'talk tree.'
Bonsai Mirai, Ryan Neil (Updated 3/15/19)
Build your bonsai skills with a holistic approach focusing on building the bridge between design and horticulture. Bonsai Mirai offers Mirai Live, a robust online education platform with over 360 hours of species and technique-focused lessons, foundational courses on-site at the garden, workshops, and public demonstrations. Mirai’s series of on-site Defining Concepts courses (focused on pines, junipers, and elongating species) offer an in-depth educational experience for practitioners willing to make a commitment to excellence and move beyond the boundaries of traditional bonsai. Explore species-specific behaviors, nuanced techniques, and design principles through a combination of classroom learning and hands-on experience. Mirai’s courses are structured for people in any stage of their bonsai journey; instruction will be tailored to the level of the class. Raw and developing bonsai stock are both available for purchase.