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Home > Author > Will Hiltz
Will Hiltz

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Member Since: Oct, 2010

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I recently self-published Gnarly Branches, Ancient Trees: The Life and Works of Dan Robinson, Bonsai Pioneer. It is a 292 page, oversized, hardcover book. Through storytelling and stunning photography, it tells Dan's story in a way that appeals even to people with no interest in bonsai.

Background Information

I live with my wife in the Puget Sound area, where I practice psychiatry. This region is one of the best for the art of bonsai, which has been my main hobby for many years. A few years ago I became friends with a bonsai artist who is a local legend -  Dan Robinson. In his seventies now, Dan is still active in the field, collecting trees from the wild for bonsai and landscaping, giving bonsai workshops and demonstrations all over the country, and maintaining his seven acre private gardens near Bremerton, Washington - Elandan Gardens.

Dan's life and his creative genius are fascinating, but known to only a few. It occured to me that someone ought to capture his life and works while he was still able to help with the project. No one else was stepping forward, so I decided I would do it. I am not a professional writer, nor a professional photographer, nor a publisher, but I undertook the project nevertheless. 

As a psychiatrist, understanding Dan's life story came naturally. To hone my writing skills for the book, I took a course from Longridge Writers Group. I had taught myself bonsai photography over the years by practicing on my own trees. I also shared the book's photographic work with another bonsai photographer, Victrinia Ridgeway.

The book has turned out very well. As I had hoped, the story of a pioneering American genius has a broad appeal, and I am pleased with the initial praise from the bonsai community as well as from those outside the field.

The book may be ordered from

Favorite Links

Gnarly Branches, Ancient Trees: The Life and Works of Dan Robinson - Bonsai Pioneer
The book may be ordered from this website.

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