Trees of the 2014 GSBF Convention   8 comments

Each year the GSBF, Golden State Bonsai Federation, gathers for its annual convention.  Like any other convention for a non-profit, its annual convention is for raising money to put on the next years convention as well as donate the money back to its two public collections of endowed trees. Soon the GSBF will have three collections with the donation of the Clark Center Collection to be housed into a totally new public viewing venue to be housed in Shinzen Gardens in Fresno.

Some views of Shinzen Gardens.

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This year the trees of the convention were scoured from all reaches of the state. In past years the convention has alternated between the upper half of the state and the lower half of the state. The trees of past conventions have been predominately from those regions during their conventions. In recent years the convention committee looks for the best trees throughout the state making sure that the convention is represented with a good cross-section of displayed trees from the entire state. Many people due to budget constraints in past years have never seen the trees from the southern portion of the state due to the cost of attending a convention almost a 1000 miles in the south and vice versa.

This year also represents a new feature of the convention with a judged exhibit for those that wish to throw their hat in the ring. There is prize money involved as well as bragging rights.

Here is the trees of this years convention…

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This tree below is just awesome.  Just a great use of deadwood and prepared properly.

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Is this juniper amazing or what?

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That is some awesome deadwood.

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Of course I would drool over any trident done right. They don’t get any doner than this.

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A shohin cotoneaster with berries. That takes years.

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I happen to know who this juniper belongs to. There is a lot of talk at web sites about mastery of techniques.

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I was wondering about this technique. Seems that sometimes rather than cuta  branch off it is OK to just comb it over into a place where it not needed.

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I have no idea why someone would bisect a vee with a branch taken from above it on the secondary branch. You see evrything when master’s exhibit trees in public and you really get to see that sometimes it’s,  “do like I say, not like I do”. My boss does it all the time. Infuriate’s me.

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This shohin pine is perfectly proportioned. Branches are in great scale with the size of the tree and the size of the trunk.

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Awesome little shohin hornbeam

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Another cotoneaster with a hole in the trunk?

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Tree below is a Mendocino Pygmy cypress.

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Jim Gremel’s atlas cedar.

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The Judged Exhibit

The judged exhibit has a different taste, and not in the way I expected it. Since there were two exhibits at the convention and one of them was a judged exhibit, where would you expect the best trees to be?

In my opinion, the best trees were in the exhibit and the judged trees seemed to be those that wanted validation on their work. I may be off here, but that’s the way I saw it. Don’t get me wrong, some of these trees are wonderful and worthy of the judged exhibit, and some are pretty far off the mark and seen this as a way to have a tree in the convention though not up to standards of a selection committee. I may sound harsh here, but the whole reason of a judged portion of the convention was done in the spirit of raising the bar on bonsai at least state wide. Like we saw in the Kazari held at the Clark Museum, the caliber of the displays began to taper off by the fourth year. If a person feels they have a winning tree and they enter what they feel are winning trees year after year and never win, the good trees begin to fall off and all the competition is left with is those that wish to have something in the convention and are good with just that. I did not attend the convention last year due to my wifes therapy for breast cancer, but I did see the winners of that judged event. In my opinion they were hobbiest grade trees and I feel that this could  work against the spirit of the competition.

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This was far and away my favorite of the judged portion. I did not get confirmation but I think it’s a hackberry.

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With some better wire and attention to some details this juniper below would have been a great entry.

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This below is straight from a club display….sorry.

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This boxwood is up there with looking like a natural tree.

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This parthanocissus tricuspidata, Boston ivy, should have been in the judged entries instead of the ballot table. Spectacular!

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Exhibit Entrance Tree

My good friend Sam Adina, probably the most not talked about artist in California and in my opinion pretty superior to some of the artists I’ve recently seen come back from Japan, had this tree displayed at the entrance to the exhibit. Lets face it, this tree was so large that it had to be on the ground since it was over 5 feet tall.

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Thats Sam Adina with the tree. This is a Utah juniper. Sam says the tree sits on the ground and he stands on the hydraulic cart to work on it.

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This tree is probably in the 800-900 year old range.

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tHis shot below is the jumble of branches near the top. Who says you have to have a single leader up there?

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The top of the juniper. Much the same way I finihed my recent bunjin juniper I styled this year. Just a nice combover.

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What would a convention be without a couple gratuitous shots of the vendor room.

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If you had the cash you could buy something ready to put in the exhibit.

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All the rest of the trees you see here are from Jim Gremel. Pretty good price tags but the work is there for those that can just buy it.

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This shot is from one of the stone guys. A pretty good dai can be made from napkin rings from Cost Plus.

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I wanted to steal the whole cart and put it in my truck. This moss was to die for. Grown on flats just for the workshop of a particular vendor.

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8 responses to “Trees of the 2014 GSBF Convention

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  1. Awesome.

  2. Thanks for the post as always! The reason why the quality of the trees in the judged area my be sometimes lower than that in the non-judged area is that these are the only folks that have the guts to put their tree there. Everyone else doesn’t feel confident, or doesn’t believe a tree should be judged, the list goes on and on. Its pretty sad that this is now the third consecutive year of the “judged” event and it doesn’t seem to be improving. The goal is to make the entire exhibit a judged event and this was the first step. Hopefully one of the next convention chairs will have the guts to pull the rug out beneath everyone and make it one exhibit and it be all judged. Time to take the training wheels off

    • Back in 2007, Bob Hilvers, Kathy Shaner and I had a conversation about the need for a judged show in California. This was during the Caca-Kai years, of which I don’t even know if they do that any longer. We had a bottle of Crown Royal, and we looked pretty silly passing that bottle between us. Of course at that moment we didn’t care. We talked about all the things that could go wrong with introducing judging to bonsai in California which was not seen regularly. We knew it had to be tweaked and presented right because we would only have one chanmce to do it and then it would be pulled. Then the kazari started in which Kathy judged for us. That was in 2010. She felt the time was right.
      Obviously the time is not right and I think forcing a judged convention would keep a lot of great trees out of the show. There are a lot of great artists in California that are of the feeling that bonsai is not about “who has the best tree”, but “we have all showed together”.

      In my opinion….there should be just a viewers choice award, You get one numbered ballot with your registration and put about a thousand dollars on one prize. Take a judge out of the whole thing and let the peers be the judge.

      • Peers being the public? I don’t think so. More like other entrants, and you can’t vote on your tree.

      • Who said public? I didn’t say public. “I said you get a numbered ballot with REGISTRATION allowing ones bonsai peers to render votes. Not the homeless guy from around the Chevron station….

  3. Thanks Al, nice talking at you as well!!
    Steve (Tona)

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