In 1988 a passionate bonsai artist, launched a quarterly bonsai magazine in the UK.....
Cover of the first British magazine initiated by Colin Lewis and later run by Ann Scutcher
It was a dangerous enterprise in those days when bonsai was not widely known. The future role of the magazine was quickly revealed as the font of knowledge, offering a platform for young artists to show their skills and promote the art of bonsai in general. Later Ann Scutcher became chief editor of the magazine, which was then published by Smithfield Publishing.
The Dutch bonsai magazine
Meanwhile in Holland a new magazine had come into being by the end of 1993. Called ‘Het Bonsai Blad’, it was initiated by Miguel Rubio.
The cover of the first Dutch magazine ‘Het Bonsai Blad’ which was initiated by Miquel Rubio in 1993
The magazine focussed on the Dutch bonsai scene. It was published on a bi-monthly basis and was embraced by its readers in no time. In autumn 1998 Miquel approached Farrand Bloch and René Rooswinkel who together ran The Bonsai Shop nursery, asking them if they wanted to take over the magazine. Both had previously worked in advertising and sales and so were interested in this new adventure.
The cover of Bonsai magazine after take over in 1998
Farrand Bloch, who had his own bonsai collection and gave many workshops and demonstrations, had written several articles for the Dutch and British magazines. Formerly he had worked for magazines and advertising and in 1998 he became the new Chief Editor and René Rooswinkel the publisher of ‘Bonsai magazine’ its new title.
By tradition the Dutch always like to expand their horizons and so a merger with the British bonsai magazine took place in the summer of 2000. A new magazine was born and ‘Bonsai’ was its title for 6 issues. In 2002 things changed again. We asked a designer Martijn van der Nat, to redesign the logo and the layout. We decided on yet another new name, ‘Bonsai Europe’, because it covered all that is bonsai in the UK and the continent of Europe.
English and Dutch bonsai magazines merged as ‘Bonsai’ in 2000 and then later in January 2002 a new title and logo: ‘Bonsai Europe’
French, German and Italian edition
New developments followed rapidly. In spring 2002 the first French edition became a fact with the late Michel Sacal as its French editor. In our effort to become a real European magazine in May 2003 we launched a German edition as well. One of the most important bonsai countries in Europe is Italy and as the magazine featured many Italian bonsai artists already, it was logical to start an Italian edition, too. With the help of the Italian bonsai web forum it was promoted and soon the first edition of the Italian edition was launched in January 2006.
‘Bonsai Today’ and ‘Bonsai Europe’ come together
‘Bonsai Today’ was known as the foremost bonsai magazine for more than 20 years. It was the English language edition of the famous Japanese Kinbon magazine, which is still published, covering great artists like Masahiko Kimura, Kunio Kobayashi and Shinji Suzuki.
The switch to ‘Bonsai Focus’ happened in 2007
In 2007 our latest expansion began when ‘Bonsai Europe’ and ‘Bonsai Today’ merged creating a new, far-reaching magazine with a mix of Japanese articles from the Kinbon magazine and articles by Western specialists. A new name was necessary because our focus was already worldwide and the title of the magazine no longer reflected the content, so we needed a new name which would be pronounceable in almost every language. The magazine is focussed on all that is bonsai, so the new name simply changed to: ‘Bonsai Focus’.
Finally, the Spanish edition
For some time we had received many requests from Spanish and Latin American bonsai enthusiasts for the magazine to be available in their language. At the start of 2013 we launched the first edition in Spanish finalising our quest. ‘Bonsai Focus’ can finally be read in 6 languages fulfilling our wish to bring high quality articles to beginners and advanced bonsai enthusiasts in their own language.
Big is beautiful
The last big change was literally to the magazine’s format. It was a wish we had held for a long time despite all the internet activity and the increasing popularity of reading magazines on hand-held devices. The increased size and the quality paper it’s printed on makes our magazine something really special to treasure.
In 2014 our A4 format grew by an extra 2cm in width
Farrand Bloch René Rooswinkel
Chief Editor Publisher