Bonsai has been in Ken Yamane’s life since childhood, his father had Bonsai trees but he was not interested. Ken says, “When in the US Air Force stationed in Japan, I was given a Bonsai Tree by a fellow Air Force member to care of. I took a class from Ben Scolari of Ben’s House of Bonsai about 1990. Through an Utah Arts Council grant, I was able to study under Shig Miya in California who was a student of John Naka, considered the original Bonsai Master in the US. I have given demonstrations/workshops at the Salt Lake Buddhist Temple, Ogden Buddhist Temple, Salt Lake Japanese Church of Christ, VA Medical Center and Asian Festival. Currently I teach Bonsai classes at 2 Salt Lake County Senior Centers. I would like to see interest in Bonsai continue in the future. I have been participating in Living Traditions for many years.”
Judy Iwamoto first learned Origami from a book in about 1970. Judy says, “I was fascinated that a flat piece of paper could become a 3-dimensional item. It took me about 2 weeks to learn the steps to fold a traditional peace crane. Through an Utah Arts Council grant, I studied Origami with Ine Takanaka and my folding became more precise. I continue to fold, currently teaching Origami classes at 2 Salt Lake County Senior Centers. My students bring me Origami instructions for items they want to fold. I hope my folding will create an interest in Origami as I want to see Origami be continued by future generations. An amazing number of Origami books are now available. I like seeing the new complicated computer generated Origami creations, but I like to fold more traditional Origami.”
Both artists volunteer within the Salt Lake Community to share their traditions and craft, from senior care centers to artist in residency programs and participating annually at the Living Traditions Festival.