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Angela and a few
of her students


By Angela Jones Tillman
Silk Hope School, Siler City, North Carolina
January 5, 2001

                In May of 2001 I embarked on the most enriching endeavor as an Art teacher. Initially my goal was to integrate Science with some type of Art. Bonsai immediately came to mind and my search on the Internet resulted in my discovery of Fuku-Bonsai. Intrigued by the prospect of indoor bonsai,  I immediately sensed that David's knowledge and sincere helpfulness would lead to a great friendship.

                I forwarded a proposal for 60 Premium Keiki Bonsai Workshop Packages for my eight grade classes and my administrators were supportive of the idea.  Financing was secured through a grant from the Chatham Education Foundation and on Monday, September 10, 2001 the shipment was sent. Tragically the terrorist attacks suspended all flights. Anxiously awaiting the arrival of our plants, students asked daily, "Are they here yet?"

                Finally the two large crates arrived at the school a week late.  I was amazed by the care and attention given to securing the plants during shipping. Once the plants were unpacked, there was excitement in the Art room like none I'd sensed before. Students were given their handbooks to read and shortly thereafter received their individual plants. 

                By the end of the unit, we were knowledgeable in basic indoor Dwarf Schefflera bonsai care.  Haiku, sketches, paintings, and letters to David Fukumoto were all part of our exciting nine-week unit. Parents, teachers, and students responded with positive feedback throughout the unit.    

                 Since the classes ended,  I've had a dozen younger students ask me, "Mrs. Tillman, will WE get to work with bonsai in the eighth grade?"   My answer to them has been, "If I have anything to do with it . .  .  we will!" 


          NOTE:   Fuku-Bonsai was pleased and proud to participate in these exciting bonsai classes initiated and conducted by Angela Tillman that were the first utilizing the Premium Keiki Bonsai Workshop Packages.  The bonsai workshop materials were sent in two large cartons weighing 95 pounds each via FEDEX on September 10, 2001, the day before the New York World Trade Center tragedy. With airports shut down, plants arrived several days late. Nine plants dropped leaves,  were replaced, and the first bonsai classes began!

             From the very beginning, I knew Angela was an excellent photographer and a very sensitive writer. She's a talented, enthusiastic, and dedicated teacher who delights in her students!  Her excitement and willingness to expend the time and effort to give her students new and deeper experiences are extremely commendable so it was easy to offer assistance. Her initial trial was reported in Angela's Workshop.

            As she discussed her ideas, I got excited too!  I was especially happy when she was willing to go beyond the technical aspects of bonsai to include bonsai as a link to art, nature, a way of life, and as a bridge to international friendship and peace. Her approach to bonsai was delightful.  Rather than an emphasis on competition, it was clear that each and every one of her students would be exposed to a deeper and richer life experience!

            We discussed creating a Teacher's Manual and articles to help others to give bonsai classes.  While most of Angela's reports will be published on Fuku-Bonsai's website,  very quickly there was interest and a condensed version by Angela has been committed to Bonsai Clubs International's Bonsai Magazine.  She and I may write for other publications and we retain copyright for possible publishing in the future.

            ~~~ David W. Fukumoto,   president and founder, Fuku-Bonsai Inc.
                  January 15, 2001
Fuku-Bonsai Inc. & Angela Jones Tillman, 2002     All rights reserved
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