Bonsai without Borders in China Demo tree

Bonsai & Yamadori from Tony Tickle

At the Bonsai without Borders event in China December 2016, 70 artists each had a juniper to work, there were no egos, artists worked alongside each other Kobayashi worked alongside, Serjio, Nacho, Mauro, Bjorn, Ofer, Leigh, Yannick, Nik and many more artists from across the world it was a leveller, NOT a competition but every brought there top game to the event.

Each artist drew a lot and allocated a tree from the number drawn. Mine ‘28’ the tree was not easy from the start, ALL the foliage was far from the base of the trunk and it was not nice foliage to work. It was very interesting to see the differing styles and approaches to the problems presented. The organisers wanted the tree potted up. I was not happy about this but they wanted to see ‘finished’ trees. I selected an oversize cascade pot, the main rootball of the…

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Bonsai, Kusamono and Companion Displays that I like at the Artisans Cup

Bonsai Penjing & More

The Artisans Cup has many powerful and beautiful bonsai. As a visitor, some of them appealed to me more than the others. I enjoyed them all, perhaps some trees related to something I had previously experienced, or the whole composition appealed to me more than just an individual tree.  I like Greg Breden’s Southwestern White Pine, it looks rugged, clinging precariously on a beautiful and rough textured pot. Doug Paul’s Douglas Fir also appealed to me. It has very natural looking shari and twisted live veins, which look very similar to a tree I saw during a hike in a British Colombia mountain. Not sure of the species but could be a Douglas Fir Pondorosa Pine (At the recent Texas State Bonsai Show, Todd Hang of Dallas told me this tree is a pine, more likely a Pondorosa Pine because of the exposed brownish-red border between the shari and live bark. Someone from Canada…

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An Informal Upright Japanese Black Pine

Bonsai Penjing & More

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A three-point Japanese Black Pine display at the LSBF show.

This Japanese black pine (JBP) won the best conifer award in the April 2014 Lone Star State Bonsai Federation (LSBF) show in Houston. Winning the award was a pleasant surprise since I did not expect it; the tree looked somewhat sparse during the show compared to how it looked in the following photo taken on June 27.

JBP june

JBP in June 27, 2014

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The 5th US National Bonsai Exhibition

Bonsai Penjing & More

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When Tony Tickle, one of the judges, said Bill Valavanis has an energy of four men at the awards banquet, he was right to the point and drew a standing ovation. Bill was the force behind this great event. When you see him directing volunteers, from setting up the displays to measuring dimensions of bonsai for the commemorative album, he is like the bunny in Energizer battery commercials, that just keeps going on and on.

img_6934 L to R: Peter Warren (UK) translating for Minoru Akiyama (Japan), Bill Valavanis, Tony Tickler (UK) and Enrique Castano (Mexico). Minoru, Tony and Enrique are the three international judges.

This is the first time my wife and I attended the US National Bonsai Exhibition, held in Rochester, New York, September 10-11. We were excited by the number and the high standard of bonsai displays; one could virtually shop for anything you need for bonsai from the vendors who came from all over the US…

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Preparing A Small Bonsai Display For Show

Bonsai Penjing & More

Last weekend, we had our Lone Star (Texas) State Bonsai Federation education seminar, and the topic was literati bonsai. All participating trees must be a bunjin. My wife and I exhibited a small, 24″ x 18″, Japanese toko-kazari display.

IMG_1503-001 Display consisted of a mame bujin Chinese Elm grown from root cutting, a dwarf Fiber Optic grass, a distant mountain viewing stone and a two-line poem.

Many attendees liked the display and commented how simple it looks, refreshing, quiet, peaceful, cute, and the lightly finished wood allows viewers to see all the elements clearly.

I will explain how we came up with the idea, why we selected the items and why we arranged them this way. The thoughts put into the process was a great exercise.

The Literati Theme Concept

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The 5th US National Bonsai Exhibition’s Finest Creative Display and Hokusai, the Iconic Japanese Print Artist

Bonsai Penjing & More

You might not have heard of the artist, Hokusai (1740-1849), but you might recognize the image of his most famous woodblock print, “The Great Wave Off Kanagawa”, which is perhaps one of the best recognized icons of Japanese art work.

4hjh3kj634 Hokusai’s “The Great Wave Off Kanagaw”

What does a Hokusai print have in common with bonsai? Apparently none! Bonsai was called hachinoki at his time, so he probably had never even heard of the word, bonsai. Yet, when I saw two bonsai displays, one in last year’s Artisans Cup, and the other in the recent 5th US National Bonsai Exhibition, Hokusai popped up in my mind.

This is Creighton Bostrom’s Finest Creative Award display at the 5th US National show. The semi-cascade Juniperus procumbens nana, planted in a “kurama” pot, is positioned precariously within a giant laminated wooden wave.

img_6834-001 Michael Levin of Bonsai West looking at the “Wave” or the forest?

img_6834-002 ‘The Wave”…

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