steveEnglish bonsai artist Steve Tolley began his bonsai education in 1996 under the guidance of Dan Barton, with the emphasis on bonsai aesthetics and philosophy. He later studied with Japanese bonsai master Hotsumi Terakawa and in a very short time he has become internationally known for his bonsai creations and for his unique approach to teaching and he is now highly in demand for giving demonstrations, leading workshops and maintaining many important bonsai collections.

Steve has had many articles and photographs published in international bonsai magazines based on his work and in 2005 he was awarded the BCI ARTIST, WRITER PHOTOGRAHER AWARD at the 5th World Bonsai Convention in Washington DC, where he was also a demonstrator and workshop leader.

Many of the trees styled by Steve or worked on by him for clients or with students, have received awards and recognition both in the U.K. at national exhibitions and in Europe at the prestigious Ginkgo Award in Belgium and the Noelanders Trophy. He is known for being an artist of great vision and sensitivity who works with the tree while showing amazing technique and for the attention to detail that he places in his work.

Selected Works

  • Dan Barton

    Dan first acquired an interest in bonsai in 1969. He has never had any formal training in bonsai and was essentially self taught, but he was fortunate in having been trained and qualified in the first instance, as an art teacher, and, later in graphic design with Applied Photography being his main subject, he was self-taught in this too. He was a Senior Lecturer at the Bristol Polytechnic (now the University of the West of England) and finally graduated to Head of the Photographic Department. It is the last 40 years of involvement with various aspects of the visual arts that have helped him enormously with bonsai and it is essentially this background he relies on when creating his miniature trees.


  • Hotsumi Terakawa

    Hotsumi is well known as the in house bonsai master of Bonsai Focus, but his journey in bonsai started long before in Saitama City, Japan. Son of a family from Nagasaki, who’s business was producing garden trees