Bonsai Tonight

Suiseki at the 4th US National Bonsai Exhibition

Posted in Exhibits by Jonas Dupuich on October 21, 2014

This year’s US National Bonsai Exhibition included a special treat for suiseki enthusiasts – the Invitational Suiseki Exhibition. Fifty stones from around the world were displayed with accents and bonsai.

Suiseki

Suiseki

Suiseki

Suiseki

It was quite a bonus to see such great stones so well displayed.

Suiseki

Three-point suiseki display

Suiseki

The stone

Daiza

Daiza by John Naka

Suiseki

Formal display with scroll

Suiseki

The stone on a pillow

Each stone warranted attention for its shape, color and texture.

Suiseki

Suiseki

Suiseki

Suiseki

Accent

Accent

Suiseki

Suiseki

Suiseki

Figure stone

Crab

Crab accent

Suiseki

Hut stone

Accent

Accent

Suiseki

Suiseki

Yusen display at the US National Bonsai Exhibition

Posted in Exhibits by Jonas Dupuich on October 17, 2014

A very special small-sized bonsai display at the 4th US National Bonsai Exhibition featured the work of Tsukinowa Yusen. Yusen pots are precious – a display comprised solely of trees in Yusen pots is a rare thing. The composition was beautiful.

Yusen shohin display

Shohin bonsai display in Yusen pots

Yusen shohin display

Porcelain berry and accent

Yusen shohin display

From the top – red pine, little gem dwarf spruce, shimpaku, Japanese flowering quince ‘chojubai’

The curator’s note provided good context and history:

Tsukinowa Yusen – 月之輪湧泉
1908 – 1998

Kato Goichi (加藤護) or better known to bonsai pot collectors as Tsukinowa Yusen lived from 1908 to 1998. He lived in Tagimi-city of Gifu Prefecture and was a gifted painter having studied in Kyoto.

His profession was that of a ceramics painter but unrelated to bonsai. In 1960-61 he started to make pottery for himslef and as he gained an interest in bonsai he began to hand paint his own pots.

Sometime around 1971-74 he lived with Sei-fu Yohei and developed a partnership where Yusen would make the ceramics and Sei-fu would peint them. Sei-fu didn’t always bare his signature on Yusen pots but his painting style is different and recognizable.

Yusen normally created small porcelain pots which he painted red, blue or a mix of colors. Infrequently he would glaze his pots with a yellow frame but this is quite rare. Before Yusen there were almost no painted bonsai pots in Japan.

One of Yusen’s famous series of pots is his version of Ando’s “53 Stations of the Tokaido Road.” Other well-known motifs include the famous anthropomorphic animals, mountain landscape scenes, water scenes featuring birds, pictorial scenes of famous poetry and even one with bats!

Without question, Yusen’s pots rank the highest in terms of hand-painted pots. They are highly valued in and beyond Japan. To own one is a treasure, to own more than one is considered a highly valuable collection of the best hand painted bonsai pots in the world.

Here are some close-ups.

Yusen

Pine and mountain – Yusen

Yusen

Tiny Yusen

Yusen

On a boat – Yusen

Yusen

Birds – Yusen

Yusen

Mantis – Yusen

Yusen

Nature scene – Yusen

Shohin bonsai at the 4th US National Bonsai Exhibition

Posted in Exhibits by Jonas Dupuich on October 14, 2014

Shohin bonsai were well represented at the 4th US National Bonsai Exhibition.

Black pine Black pine

In all, 120 shohin appeared in 40 displays.

Shimpaku Shimpaku

Trident maple

Trident maple

To fully appreciate these trees as they were displayed, I recommend getting a copy of the Exhibition Album. Joe Noga does a fantastic job with the photography, and you’re not likely to find more accurate color in any bonsai publication. I’m now caught up with albums from previous events and am looking forward to this year’s installment. Special pricing is in effect if you order before December 15th.

Here are some of the individual shohin and small to medium-sized bonsai on display.

Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea

Shimpaku

Shimpaku

Japanese maple

Japanese maple

White pine

White pine

Black pine

Black pine

Black pine

Black pine

Ginkgo

Ginkgo

White pine

White pine

Satsuki azalea

Satsuki azalea

Crabapple

Crabapple

Black pine

Black pine

Variegated porcelain berry

Porcelain berry

The people you meet at the US National Bonsai Exhibition

Posted in Exhibits by Jonas Dupuich on October 10, 2014

It would be difficult to visit the US National Bonsai Exhibition without bumping into, or at least spotting, the man who made it all happen, William N. Valavanis.

William N. Valavanis

William N. Valavanis

Valavanis’ contributions to bonsai in the US are beyond impressive. In addition to birthing the US National Exhibition, Valavanis established the International Bonsai Arboretum, publishes International Bonsai Magazine, leads at least two tours to Japan every year, sells trees, and travels the US as a teacher and guide (see more at International Bonsai). He’s a super guy and I greatly appreciate the work he’s done for bonsai. I also appreciate the hospitality during my visit to the exhibition – thanks Bill!

Robinson contorted Bradford pear

Robinson Contorted Bradford Pear – William N. Valavanis

Birdie

Is that a bird in there?

In addition to seeing super trees from around the country, one can also see a number of super people at the National. It was a great opportunity to catch up with people I hadn’t seen in years and to meet people with whom I’d corresponded but not met in person. I was also excited to meet so many readers of this site for the first time – thanks for saying hi!

Bjorn Bjorholm
Bjorn Bjorholm, Bjorvala Bonsai Studio

Brussel Martin

Brussel Martin, Brussel’s Bonsai Nursery

Aarin Packard, Gary Wood, Chris Baker

Aarin Packard, Curator, Pacific Bonsai Museum
Gary Wood, renown bonsai teacher and all-around awesome guy
Chris Baker, Curator, Bonsai Collection at the Chicago Botanical Garden

Sean Smith

Sean Smith, Custom Oriental Wood-Craft

Procumbens juniper

Innovative display of procumbens juniper – Sean Smith

Boon Manakitivipart
Boon Manakitivipart, Bonsai Boon, Bay Island Bonsai

Suthin Sukosolvisit

Suthin Sukosolvisit, Suthin Bonsai Studio

Adam Lavigne and Stephan Moritz

Adam Lavigne, Adam’s Art and Bonsai Blog
Stephen Moritz, American Bonsai Tool & Supply Co.

American Bonsai Tool & Supply Co.

Stainless steel tools – American Bonsai Tool & Supply Co.

As I can only go so long without posting photos of trees, here are more highlights from the exhibit.

Urbame oak

Urbame oak

Mugo pine

American larch

American larch

Shimpaku

Shimpaku

Gyoten satsuki azalea

Gyoten satsuki azalea

Brizilian rain tree

Brazilian rain tree

American larch

American larch

American larch

American larch

Kiyohime Japanese maple

Kiyohime Japanese maple

Coast redwood

Coast redwood

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