Archive for the ‘Spotlight on Exhibits’ Category

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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Spring Exhibits…work now, be ready then   2 comments

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Many deciduous bonsai are shown in the winter with their fine tracery of twigs and sculpted branches. This does not mean that pines and junipers are not shown. For exhibits coming up for the Spring 2015 season, work must be prepared now so the tree is ready in 6 months. Some things that should be worked on now so that the tree will be ready when its time to exhibit.

  • Keep pots clean from now until show time.
  • Lime sulphur deadwood before it’s too cold.
  • Prune deciduous trees in fall so that buds set at the new tips.
  • Prepare the soil by mossing early.
  • Prune junipers for shape in fall.

Pots should be cleaned and oiled now so that they can be touched up monthly untill show time. Oil on a pot is not something that can be done the evening before the show and look correct. If kept clean and oiled for a few months the oil will loosen old calcium deposits and they will wipe off well before the exhibit. Don’t clean to a point that removing old patina off is a problem. Just keeping a pot well oiled all year will allow a good patina to form all on its own. Long periods of dry pots with no oil will cause calcium to form deep within the pots texture and keep it from being cleaned and oiled properly.

Lime sulphur deadwood thru the summer and even into fall. In summer LS can be diluted with water or straight from the bottle as long as the wood is wet before application. In Fall, the LS can be diluted 50/50 with water. Lime sulphur can also be mixed as a fungicide in winter and applied to deciduous trees. Lime sulphur diluted for fungicide can be mixed 1/3 LS 2/3 water. Be aware that using lime sulphur as a fungicide on deciduous tree, that the trunk and branches can turn white. This can be a stark contrast to green leaves, although Beech trees look very nice when the bark is white with the green leaves as popular in Japan.

Pruning deciduous tree in fall after leaf drop is very important. This fall pruning balances energy within the tree and allows the new buds to set at the tips where they can help build the canopy in spring. All that is necessary in spring is a few small prunings to keep shape and the tree is ready for the winter or spring show. Use this time in fall after leaf drop to look for heavy places within the branching and remove triplets. (places where maples tend to split into three’s rather than the more desirable two’s) Remove the center of the triplet and reduce to two or sometimes I have removed one of the outer twigs keeping the center and one of the sides if I wish a branch to move in that direction.

Moss should be applied early in fall in winter showing or waiting till winter for a spring show. Of course they will all depend on moss availability but should be done as soon as possible. There are two reasons why this is important.

1. The moss should be applied early enough so that it has some time to grow and attach to the soil.

2. Allowing enough time for the moss to naturalize. New moss with out sufficient time looks unnatural.

There is much artistry to applying moss and there are some that can do it one day and it looks very natural. Ask opinions from friends about your application of moss and ways to make it look more natural if it does not pass muster. A good simple tip is to make sure akadama or suitable fines have been dusted in to seal moss edges after application to keep moss overall moist and also keep it from drying and curling which looks especially unattractive.

Pruning junipers in fall allows the branch tips to regenerate buds at the tips of branches which can quickly be pinched (with scissors) and made to back bud increasing ramification right on the tips, making branches look especially nice. Take this time to remove all the downward growth tips from the underneath of foliage pads and cut back the tops of upward growing shoots. I used to remove all the upward growing shoots , but have since adopted cutting back to very short upward growing shoots to make branch pads look fuller. This also allows the pad to have a more rounded shape on the upper side of the pad rather than just a frying pan stuck out there.

 

Cut back overly long shoots so as to induce back budding.

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In about 75 days, new buds will bud adjacent to stub.

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Take photos of top views to make sure the canopy is balanced all the way around the tree. This allows sunlight to hit every branch and keep them healthy. This juniper is bouncing back from having its entire canopy removed from basicly rough stock. The old adult foliage is being replaced by juvenile foliage and then will go back to adult foliage after the tree calms down. About four years from now.

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Here is a maple branch with two triplets. They are caused from the strong branch budding at each side of a node and developing on from there. It is up to the artist to take care of these as they form and not allow them to rebud again on top of each other.

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I decided to get rid of both of them by reducing the branch back to the original triplet.

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The middle of this triplet was dead anyway. I have cut back to two remaining side branches to the first node and will allow them to ramify from there.

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Here is a real problem branch. The secondary on the left is also a double branch and creates the triplet.

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If I just remove the larger portion at arrow I still have three branches at the intersection and a place for a bulge to develop.

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For me, this is how I would solve the problem. Remove entire left branch now shown missing by arrow. Reduce remaining branchlets to first node and be more deligent about fall pruning in the future.

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Here are two branches that nature has taken care of for me. The center of one triplet has died back and left just the two. The other branch has had one of the side branches die back and leave two. I prefer this method of pruning when possible since it leaves the vee’s more gracefull and I don’t have the clunky look of symetrical  60 degree vee’s.

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