Asymmetry Podcast

Asymmetry Podcast

A place for conversation, incubation, and the connection of other mediums to the world of bonsai. In this podcast, guests from all over the world gather to explore bonsai as an avenue to connect nature, culture, and the individual. Subscribe via StitcherItunes & or Soundcloud

Adam Johnson

Longtime student and friend of Mirai Live, Adam Johnson, sits down with Ryan and Lime to get real about their hopes, aspirations, and fears involved in creating and working with living material, the challenges of using trees as a commodity, and how they are incredibly hyped on shinpaku junipers.

Todd Schlafer

Todd Schlafer is a bonsai professional based in Colorado. In this episode of asymmetry, Todd sits down with Ryan for another podcast in which they discuss the realities of being a practicing bonsai professional in the United States, and how the trees continue to refuel their creative fire.

Advanced Class Bonsai

In this episode of Asymmetry, Ryan engages in a discussion with his advanced class students. This is one of the largest podcast sessions to date, including some of Mirai's longest-standing supporters: Todd Schlafer, Will Kerns, Bill Cadman, and Eric Schikowski. Each of them shares personal anecdotes, their relationships with the practice of bonsai, and experiences with personal mentors.

Ryan and Lime

Ryan and Lime sit down and discuss bonsai, personal inspirations, soccer, and the complexities of life.

Austin Heitzman

Ryan and Lime sit down with long time friend of Mirai and renowned woodworker, Austin Heitzman. In this episode Austin shares some insight into his professional background/practice, intriguing anecdotes, and personal philosophies.

Oscar Eisenschmidt

Ryan sits down with the incredibly talented fabricator and friend of Mirai, Oscar Eisenschmidt. Oscar is the designer/fabricator behind the innovative monumental structures present in many of Ryan's exhibitions such as the Artisans Cup, Unbridled, and Spectrum. Oscar shares details about his eclectic background, inspirations and how they have led him to where he is today.

Maliea Chiem

Maliea Chiem is a bonsai professional based in of Portland, Maine. In this podcast, Ryan and Maliea dives into bonsai practice in Maine and explores the value of a strong community to support creative endeavors.

Form 3D Foundry

Ryan sits down with the Rob Arps and his team from Form 3D Foundry. An innovative studio that specializes in large-scale 3D printing, sculpture, 3D scanning, and the integration of modern technologies and traditional methodologies. They discuss Form's approach and process and their personal inspirations within their practice.

Dennis Vojtilla

Dennis Vojtilla has been cultivating bonsai for over 40 years. He is well known for his deciduous work, and the unique use of grape vines for bonsai. In this podcast, Ryan, Lime & Dennis discuss his approach to bonsai and the complex world of grape-growing.

Vytas Andriuškevičius

Vytas Andriuškevičius is a Lithuanian footballer who plays as a left back for the Portland Timbers of the Major League Soccer. In this podcast, Vytas and the Mirai team dig into life as a professional soccer player, get deep with human design, and Vytas shares his perspective on the world of bonsai.

Bob Laws & Lee Cheatle

Ryan and Lime sit down with two prominent and beloved figures in the world of bonsai, Bob Laws and Lee Cheatle. They discuss their own experiences within bonsai, the origins and development of BSOP (Bonsai Society of Portland), and their personal backgrounds.

Backcountry Boys

Steve and Dan - the Backcountry Boys - are well-known collectors and bonsai lovers from Wyoming. In this podcast, Ryan and the Backcountry Boys talk about their beginnings with bonsai, their ethics around collecting from the wild, and a harrowing tale of being stalked by a mountain lion.

Ofer Grunwald

In this podcast, the Mirai team travelled to Israel to meet with Ofer Grunwald, curator of the Jerusalem Botanical Garden’s bonsai collection and a bonsai practitioner himself. We go deep into Israeli bonsai, the world of visual arts, and their relationship with bonsai as an artform as we move forward.

Peter Warren 

In this podcast, Peter Warren graces the Mirai team with his presence, wit, and wisdom as we discuss the up's and down's of being a bonsai professional, varying work approaches, and appreciating the bonsai moments that make it all worthwhile.

Aarin Packard 

Aarin Packard is the curator of the Pacific Bonsai Museum, an institution outside of Seattle that is dedicated to providing a space for the public to experience and appreciate the incredible art of bonsai. In this podcast, Ryan, Lime, and Aarin discuss the legacy of PBM, the thoughtful programs on the horizon, and how he, as a curator, continues to creatively advance and showcase the tenants of what has become known as, the 'American Bonsai Movement.'

Jonathan Cross

Jonathan Cross is a sculptor and ceramic artist working out of the small desert community, Twentynine Palms, California. Jonathan's work is known for bold, geometric forms taking cues from science fiction, geology, and a sort of ancient architecture. In this podcast, Ryan and Jonathan sit down to discuss inspirations, the artistic process, and the ceramic body.


Wiring is one of the most important techniques that bonsai practitioners learn. It is a meditative puzzle, a fully immersive practice of being present with your hands, the tree, and the design. In this podcast, Ryan, Troy, and Lime sit down to discuss the struggle and process of wiring - how it forces you to grow as an artist.

Todd Schlafer

Todd Schlafer is a musician, graphic designer and bonsai aficionado from the Rockies who recently quit his corporate job to pursue bonsai professionally. Todd is a long-time friend and student of Mirai - in this podcast, he and Ryan sit down for some real talk on what it truly looks like to pursue bonsai fulltime at a professional, sustainable level.

Randy Knight 

Randy Knight is a world-renowned yamadori collector hailing from St. Helens, OR. In this podcast, the Mirai team talks with Randy about his origins in bonsai and the collecting process. He shares some wisdom and experiences from over 17 years in the mountains searching for the best wild bonsai material in North America, if not the world.

The Bonsai Vessel

Ryan, Troy, and Lime sit down to discuss the wide world of "the container". Touching on some of their favorite potters/ceramic artists, what it means to truly innovate in the medium as it relates to bonsai, ways they personally experiment when using ceramics, the history of the ceramic form and its relationship with bonsai.

John Naka

John Yoshio Naka was an American horticulturist, teacher, author, and master bonsai cultivator. He is known as the Father of American Bonsai, spreading the knowledge of this practice to a burgeoning community in the United States. In this podcast, Ryan, Troy, and Lime sit down to discuss John Naka's contribution to the world of bonsai, the path of a beginner practitioner, and continuing the raise the level of American Bonsai practice in Naka's wake.

Ricardo Nagaoka 

Ricardo is a Japanese photographer born in Paraguay, schooled at RISD, and now the man behind the videographic magic of Mirai Live. In between wandering through ancient Italian olive orchards and driving along the Amalfi Coast, Ryan and Ricardo take some time to digest the broad concept of ‘art’ - it’s consideration, appreciation, and creation - and then bring it all back to bonsai as the ultimate creative endeavor.

Texas Barbecue & Field Collecting 

Colton, Troy, Ryan & Lime take a trip down to one of the best bonsai growing operations in the country, Telperion Farms. We start off with Colton Vick, native Texan and the man behind Mirai operations. They dive into Colton's history, his passion for barbecue and the lone-star state. Troy and Lime then dig into the world of field-growing bonsai - how to select the top 10% of material and navigating the 'pyramid' of opportunity.

The Art of Kimura

Masahiko Kimura is one of the most famous bonsai professionals in the world, one who has truly pushed the technique and concept of bonsai as we know it today. In this podcast, Ryan, Troy & Lime sit down in the studio to discuss the history behind Kimura’s most famous works, the dynamics of bonsai in Japan, stories of the apprentices and Kimura’s overall evolution as an artist. Follow along in the book, The Magician, the bonsai art of Kimura, to reference the images and trees being discussed. Note: especially for 'bonsai hardcore' enthusiasts.

Michael Lime Allen 

The sound engineer for Mirai Live & resident Timbers enthusiast, Lime is one of the most colorful personalities on the Mirai Team. In this podcast, Lime & Ryan talk big-wall climbing in Yosemite, the life of a nuclear engineer in the Navy & how bonsai has the power to change lives. Note: Especially for 'bonsai hardcore' enthusiasts.

A Trip to California 

The Mirai team recaps from a recent trip down to California where they visited the most ancient trees on the planet, witnessed avant-garde ceramic artist, Jonathan Cross, wood-firing his kiln, and scrambled through the otherworldly landscape of Joshua Tree.

Ron Lang

Ron Lang is a celebrated ceramic artist, sculptor, and long-time bonsai geek who has a unique perspective on the bonsai vessel.

In Ron's words: "The challenge of the bonsai potter is to provide fresh options, subtlety and variety for bonsai artists. Pots that come on strong, that make too much of a statement all on their own and have too much “ego” are difficult to marry off. But the opposite extreme is just as problematic, the generic, the mass produced and anonymous manufactured containers offer little opportunity for nuances in relationships beyond traditional arrangements. I try to make containers that have life, that take breath, that move, that are not static. The successful pairing of tree and container is a collaborative gestalt." 

Juan Andrade 

Juan Andrade is a bonsai professional hailing originally from Costa Rica, now based in Florida, who recently finished a bonsai apprenticeship in Japan. In this episdoe, the Mirai crew discusses Andrade's roots with bonsai - his apprenticeship in Japan, collecting epiphytes in the Costa Rican jungle, and where he thinks bonsai is headed. 

Peter Warren 

Peter Warren joins the Mirai team in the studio for an unfiltered discussion on bonsai in the UK, Ryan and Peter exchange stories about Japan, Peter explains why suiseki isn't just 'rocks' and how bonsai explains universal physics. 

The story behind Bonsai Mirai

In this inaugural podcast, we dive into the history behind the creation of Bonsai Mirai, and the core players that make this business happen. This is the first of many podcasts to come, where guests from all over the world gather to explore the medium of bonsai as an avenue to connect nature, culture, and the individual. 

*May contain suggestive/explicit content