Lance Laney was born in Los Angeles and moved to Hawaii in mid-1960 as a young surfer. He moved to the island of Kauai soon after. His interest in bonsai began as a young adult when he approached an elder Japanese gentleman who was working on a tree in his yard to ask him some questions. Shocked by Lance’s interest, the man spoke with him and invited him to his backyard to look at his bonsai. That encounter sparked his interest and he dabbled in bonsai, experimenting on his own without any formal training for many years.
Years later, Lance joined Kauai Bonsai Club, a local club that included both young and old bonsai enthusiasts. As a member he learned as much as possible from other members and collected many trees from the wild. Eager to learn more, he began to attend out-of-state conventions which has led to Lance conducting workshops for Golden State Bonsai Federation as well as demonstration and workshops for the California Shohin Society. In 2007 Lance studied with Nobuichi Urushibata at Taisho-en in Shizuoka, Japan. At Taisho-en, he was fortunate to also work alongside Mario Komsta, a five-year apprentice of sensei Urushibata-san, from Poland and to observe the work of Tiger Urushibata, sensei’s son, who apprenticed under Masahiko Kimura.
Hanalei Valley, Kauai has been the Laney home for over thirty years where he has a large collection of various types of trees including olives and ironwood collected from the Kauai uplands and coastal areas. Lance is a drywall and plaster contractor and is a member of Kauai Bonyu Kai.