Archive for the ‘Spotlight on Exhibits’ Category

A Peek into the Life of a Fanatic   2 comments

Part of this story started 4 years ago in 2016. I decided to make a few stands. I was going to make them all the same, two larger ones and two smaller. One each for me and one each to sell off. They were going to be simple and bare bones. Mostly functional, with nothing fancy. All The alder wood is cut and ripped into the correct widths.

Again, very simple and just functional as far as displaying a tree.

Here is where it begins to slide off the rails. My wife was getting pretty sick by now with the cancer and I did not finish one of the stands for a year. In that year I began putting together the components of my display for the Kazari. I had this pink pot by Bunzan that I bought specifically to plant black mondo grass in. I thought the pink and black would really pop. In my head I thought wouldn’t it be interesting if I introduced a colored stand to the world. Something not seen before. A pop of color rarely seen outside of the accent plant. Yes, this is going to be something not yet seen before.

I assembled my components at the Kazari. I chose the pyracantha because of the pot. The stark white pot would be the perfect foil for the stand. The subtle turquoise in the border of the scroll played well with the color of the table. A seasonal moon with Ume. Black mondo grass in a pink pot. The playful splash of color is just what the season calls for, waking up from Winter, in a display not often seen in bonsai circles. I didn’t place, but I think Mike Saul was the judge. Maybe he has some insight as to feelings of the display from a judging POV.

So now three years later and I decide that for this year at the club show it might be nice to finish the other smaller stand. The stand was done except for the finish. I thought the open space between the top and the bottom stretcher was too boring. I found these laser cut wood cutouts and fitted them in. Continued with finishing the stand with a custom Rosewood dye I make myself with denatured alcohol as the base. Little did I know, California in it’s infinite wisdom has decided that denatured alcohol should become a controlled substance and is no longer sold in California in anything larger than a pint. I guess drunks are drinking it to get high, and go blind in the process! I only drink it on special occasions, and my cape keeps me from going blind!

The Boss asked me to bring extra stands so one more is in the fold. I think that makes 21 or 22. I thought it might be fun to take some cheap procumbens and wire them up and sell them. I purchased four. This town is really juniper proof. If you want junipers for your garden your going to have to go someplace other than Fresno to buy them. If you do find one they will be scrawny little plants with a pencil trunk and barely out of 4 inch liner pot. Pathetic really. These were pretty robust and I bought all they had with any future as bonsai. Ther are a few left , but good luck making a tree out of them.

I wired the four and made two upright and two semi cascade. Nothing fancy, just starter plants for the people interested in starting with bonsai. Not very often does one find stuff at a bonsai show that is ready for a show pot, and frankly could be shown right now. I’ve seen worse at shows. It takes me a couple hours and some wire to turn these out.

I left some of the dead wood long and it can be cut back by the new owner.

In my email from the “Boss”, I was asked to bring along any accents I might have as well as the stands. I thought I would touch up a few today as some of the plants were looking pretty tattered. You already seen the mondo grass in pink pot earlier from 2017, and I still have it!

Pot by Dick Ryerson

Pot by Gary Wood

Pot by Bunzan

Pot by Pauline Muth

Pot by April Grigsby

Pot by Yozan

Pot by Bunzan

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Pot by Yamaaki -Toshio

Pot by Big Dave Rochester

Pot by Gary Wood

This has been the last two weeks. Fifty to go!

If there would be any interest in seeing the tree displays from the 2018 Kazari and given the opportunity to judge it for yourself, please comment and ask for the trees. I can post them up if the interest is there.

 

Shohin Study Group at the new Clark Center Bonsai Exhibit   Leave a comment

Back in April of 2015, work began on a new California Collection in Fresno California under the GSBF umbrella. The former Hanford collection of trees by the Clark Collection at the Museum for Japanese Art, donated the entire collection to the Japanese garden in Fresno to be housed in the garden. The Japanese garden is a themed garden with ume grove, Japanese water Garden and the large garden with a tea house and large water features with koi and a moon bridge.

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The display area was starting to take shape by April and I shot some pictures of the progress.

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The large entrance to the display area is seen in the background. All of the fence materials and structures were moved to the current location.

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All of the underground water system is being worked on at this time. Many old pipes were broken as the park system had poor records of where important water lines were and many were severed by the trenchers. This took time and had to be repaired to keep other sections of the park watered.

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Many of the larger trees were boxed and will find suitable homes around the collection.

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This olive tree, styled by Richard Ramiriz was positioned at the entrance to the collection in Hanford. It will hold the same prominent location in Fresno.

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This gnarled old wisteria may find a home here someday.

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Tonight we had a Shohin Study Group in the work center of the collection. The small tea house from the original collection in Hanford was moved to Fresno. The work center roof can be seen in the background. The collection had its grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony Oct. 17. I was on vacation during the opening and have no photo’s to share, but I can show you the collection as it stands today.

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The collections curator, Bob Hilver’s. Same as when in Hanford. Working with Bob is Steve DaSilva, on the Shinzen Board and a valuable resource in helping bring along the project.

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Close ups of some of the trees. This is a cool foemina forest.

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Bob checking out the foliage.

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California Juniper donated by Harry Hirao. Bob wanted a tree early on from Harry. The family was hesitant because they felt the tree had to be good enough to be a tree from Harry. The wait was worth it. This is one of Harry’s finest trees with a ribbon trunk. This tree has been on display at so many GSBF conventions it’s hard to count them all. With Harry gone, this is a very important tree in California and what Harry meant to bonsai.

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Another California juniper this one by Sherwin Animoto

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A big ole ugly coast live oak by Katsumi Kinoshita

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Another California juniper by Richard Ramiraz

 

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Scrub oak from Bob Hilvers

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Coast Cypress by Katsumi Kinoshita

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Trident Maple by Bob Iseman

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California Juniper by Chuck Nelson

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Big twin trunk elm by John Roehl

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San Jose juniper by Jeff Kelly

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Our study group in the work center. Bob gave us a lecture on the merits of air layering to produce quality shohin sized trees.

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We need lots more light.

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Ken Tu is laughing cause the branch just snapped.

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He got real serious in a hurry. Now what will I do. Make a jin, what else!  I think the wire is too big, he’s used to using that small jewelry wire when making the wire trees.

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Posted November 11, 2015 by California Bonsai Art in Spotlight on Exhibits

Monterey 2015   2 comments

Monterey California, known for unbelievable scenery and perfect weather conducts its 52 annual exhibit.

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Nice redwood pot.
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I built this small black walnut bi-level stand in 2004

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From seed taken after the bombing of Hiroshima. Read the story here

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The current owner Katsumi Kinoshita

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Posted June 15, 2015 by California Bonsai Art in Spotlight on Exhibits

Bay Area Satsuki Aikokai: 20th Annual Satsuki Bonsai Exhibition   4 comments

 

This group,  Bay Area Satsuki Aikokai, started as a study group of the East Bay Bonsai Society 20 years ago. I had the pleasure of attending the exhibit of fine Satsuki Bonsai.

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Posted May 16, 2015 by California Bonsai Art in Spotlight on Exhibits

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GSBF Collection North at Lake Merritt   4 comments

It Started with an Idea

The concept of this garden emerged during a conversation between Toichi Domoto and Bill Hashimoto sometime after 1974. Toichi was interested in preserving bonsai produced in northern California. Bill kept this thought alive through his friend Gloria Clementson. Early in the 1990′s, when Gloria died, her heirs dedicated the proceeds from sale of her bonsai as seed money for a bonsai garden to preserve special trees. Shortly thereafter, Hideko Metaxas, president of the Golden State Bonsai Federation (GSBF), presented the concept of this garden to the GSBF board of trustees. The GSBF, the state-wide association of bonsai clubs, agreed to create two collections – one in southern California at Huntington Gardens Museum and one in northern California. Through 1994, Bill Hashimoto and his associates continued raising funds and explored many locations for this northern Garden. Seiji Shiba took over as chairman and in 1996, with the assistance of John North, came to an agreement with the City of Oakland to locate the garden at Lake Merritt. Then fundraising accelerated, and through much donated time and only one paid contractor, Steve Faulk, the dreamed of garden was built and finally opened in November, 1999.

In many cases I have included a shot of the name plate. These plates give information about the tree and the orignal owner and who it was donated by. Most of this is just personal for me, but is educational for others so I have included them.

Enjoy the collection…

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This large tree is just outside the entrance to the collection.

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This tree styled by Harry Hirao in 2003 at the Fresno GSBF Convention. The tree was donated by Ray Thieme.

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Here my wife is checking out a large weeping cedar grafted onto Deodar cedar. She wants to see how large the trunk is, nevermind all the signs around  to “Stay on the paths”.

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This California Juniper is on top of the large outdoor display with the cedar off to the left.

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This is a large cork pine in the ground inside of the display area.

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This display of Shohin size trees is new, for me at least. Some close ups follow.

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A tree donated by my teacher several years ago.

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This large Atlas Cedar came from Grove Way Nursery and Johnny Uchida.

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This large elm is also outside the display area in the ground. It stands about three feet tall.

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Spotlight on Exhibits – Bay Island Bonsai 2015   2 comments

I had the pleasure of resuming the annual exhibit from Bay Island Bonsai this year. For the last three years something came up that prevented me from attending.

Enjoy…

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Posted January 24, 2015 by California Bonsai Art in Spotlight on Exhibits

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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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