Born in Scotland; married; wife's name Svetlana. Hobbies and other interests: Fencing, martial arts, training paraplegic fencers for competition in the Special Olympics, sunny days, singing bowls, clarinet, sax, Native American flute, jazz, opera, landscape photography, Suiseki, Chinese and Japanese gardens, thick steaks, good sushi, cold Chardonnay, good Armangac, and malt whisky.
Writer. Teaches the art of bonsai, 1978—.
Scottish Bonsai Association (founder, 1978), Federation of British Bonsai Societies (founder and council member, 1983—).
Patrick Neal Medal for services to Scottish Horticulture, Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society; Role of Honor, Federation of British Bonsai Societies, 2000.
Bonsai for Beginners, D & S (Fowlmere, England), 2000.
The Practical Guide to Growing Bonsai: A Guide to Growing, Shaping, and Caring for Miniature Trees and Shrubs, Apple (Hove, England), 2001, published as Totally Bonsai: A Guide to Growing, Shaping, and Caring for Miniature Trees and Shrubs, Tuttle Publishing (North Clarendon, VT), 2001.
Bonsai School, Sterling (New York, NY), 2003, published as Bonsai School: The Complete Course in Care, Training, and Maintenance, 2006.
Bonsai Master Class, Sterling (New York, NY), 2008.
Contributor to Bonsai magazines.
Craig Coussins was born and raised in Scotland. He initially became interested in the art of growing, cutting, and maintaining bonsai in the early 1970s, and in 1974 began to train in the art in earnest. For twenty years, Coussins honed his skills in Great Britain, training with the foremost expert in the subject in the country. He also spent time training under the tutelage of John Yoshio Naka, a world-renowned bonsai expert who lived in Los Angeles, California, taking time to travel to visit Naka, or hosting Naka in Scotland. In 1978, Coussins founded the Scottish Bonsai Association, and in June of that year he began to pass on the skills he had learned. Then, in 1983, he was one of the founding committee members of the Federation of British Bonsai Societies (FOBBS). His efforts have won him a number of awards over the years, including the Patrick Neal Medal for services to Scottish Horticulture, which he received from the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society, and a listing on the FOBBS Role of Honor.
In addition to teaching and holding workshops, Coussins has shared his skills and knowledge through a number of books on the art of Bonsai. His first guide, Bonsai for Beginners, was published in 2000. The book consists of two sections: one that discusses the care and maintenance of healthy trees, and one that Coussins refers to as "Bonsai School," which addresses various ways of styling and pruning the trees, complete with photographs and step-by-step instructions. A reviewer for the Columbus Bonsai Society Web site praised the book overall, and referred to the latter half in particular as "a must see."
Coussins's next offering is The Practical Guide to Growing Bonsai: A Guide to Growing, Shaping, and Caring for Miniature Trees and Shrubs, which was published in the United States as Totally Bonsai: A Guide to Growing, Shaping, and Caring for Miniature Trees and Shrubs. As with his previous volume, he offers readers and bonsai enthusiasts a clear reference manual on the various steps required to grow healthy trees, as well as instructions on the actual act of creating the bonsai. Adele Kleine, in a review for the Chicago Botanical Gardens Web site called the book "a valuable reference source," and noted that, while perhaps not for absolute beginners, "it explains the art of bonsai in a manageable way." Coussins is also the author of Bonsai School, and Bonsai Master Class, both of which offer more advanced techniques in the Bonsai art.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 15, 2007, Whitney Scott, review of Bonsai Master Class, p. 11.
Association of British Bonsai Artists Web site,http://www.bonsaiartists.co.uk/ (January 7, 2008), "The Joy of Bonsai 2005."
Bonsai Guide Web site,http://www.thebonsaiguide.com/ (January 7, 2008), profile of Craig Coussins.
Bonsai Information,http://www.bonsaiinformation.com/ (January 7, 2008), profile of Craig Coussins.
Bonsai Society of the Lehigh Valley Web site,http://www.bonsaisocietylehighvalley.org/ (January 7, 2008), profile of Craig Coussins.
Chicago Botanical Gardens Web site,http://www.chicagobonantic.org/ (January 7, 2008), Adele Kleine, review of Totally Bonsai: A Guide to Shaping, Growing, and Caring for Miniature Trees and Shrubs.
Columbus Bonsai Society Web site,http://www.columbusbonsai.org/ (January 7, 2008), review of Bonsai for Beginners.
ForeWard Online,http://www.forewardmagazine.com/ (January 7, 2008), George Cohen, "Garden Books Worth Reading—Garden Books Worth Cultivating."
Publishers Weekly Online,http://www.publishersweekly.com/ (July 15, 2003), review of Bonsai School.