We've been scouring the web all week looking for obscure potato related craft activities for you all to get into on the weekend, but this one really takes the kipfler...
According to the website the art of the Bonsai Potato dates back to 925 A.D., when an Irish emissary named Kieran McGlynn set out on an eight-year cultural exchange tour of Japan. When he returned to his native Ireland it was discovered that he had "poorer than average recollection," but he spoke of "stunted plants displaying great beauty and providing great tranquility in their cultivation." Though he could not recall specifically which plants expressed such beauty, McGlynn was determined to reproduce the results. The most successful medium turned out to be the one most available — the potato.
To his great delight, McGlynn discovered that by using potatoes he could closely recreate the "stunted tree art form" in months rather than decades. Even better, his plants did not require re-potting, fertilizer or even water. Hence, the groundbreaking Bonsai Potato art form was born. The Bonsai Potato continued to flourish for nearly another 1,000 years, until the Great Irish Potato Famine in the mid-1800s, which wiped out nearly every trace of this semi-ancient art form. Luckily, about 100 years later, a small faction of Bonsai Potato artists surfaced in a small town in Idaho. Thanks to these craftspeople, the art form is once again available to the entire world to practice and enjoy.
Apprently devotees of this ancient art in the US also run an annual competition, and the first taking place in Seattle in March 2000. Local celebrities judge dthe "Official, First of the Millennium — Bonsai Potato Growing Competition", and first-place title was taken home by 80-year-old Barbara Hilty with her entry, "Tattered Taters" below.
The name of Hilty's Bonsai Potato does not accurately represent her highly gifted growing and training skills. According to the judges, "Tattered Taters" received top honors for its "windblown effect" and for staying with the traditional Bonsai Potato art form while also playing with the potato by products for added decorative effect. Big props go out to Babs for her effort from all at HML, we' hope you're still out there weaving that oriental irish fusion.