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Getting Their Hands Dirty

Tapping ancient customs, students transform nature into art

By MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson 

Students got their hands dirty in the name of education during a recent workshop at the Inge P. Stafford Greenhouse for Teaching and Research.

The idea of the workshop was to learn about the interplay between art and the environment in Japanese culture by exploring the ancient art of bonsai, said Alex Bates, associate professor of Japanese language and literature, who introduced his students to the concept in advance of the big day.

Stefanie Berrier ’17 enjoyed the chance to prune and shape her own bonsai tree, though it was much more difficult than she’d expected. “These kinds of events are great because we get to experience a part of the culture we’re studying,” she said, adding that creative workshops like these “transcend cultural boundaries. You can easily appreciate a culture when you appreciate its art.”

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Published April 17, 2014