On January 17-18th, 2009, Bay Island Bonsai held its 10th annual show. To mark the occasion, we increased the size of our exhibit and our auction, opened the event to outside vendors, hosted an after-hours critique for the local bonsai community, and added a demo. It was a lot of work! But we’re happy to have made the effort.
Ilex serrata – photos by Konnor
After months of prepping our trees and laying the moss on just right, we spend the entire Friday before the show loading and unloading trucks, putting up tables, backdrops and felt, and finally, setting up the displays until we were happy with the results. We’re fortunate to have the help of a large number of BIBers as well as assistance from Boon’s students who drive or fly out from all around the country to help out and see the show.
Setting the displays is a kick. We practice this at every monthly meeting, but usually have only a single display to worry about. For this show we had around 75. And while we pair most of the trees, stands and accents ahead of time, there is still plenty of maneuvering at the exhibit hall.
Less glamorous but equally important is the setting up of the auction. We’ve been hosting auctions for years now to provide the community with a venue for buying and selling fine bonsai. We welcome all to participate as sellers or buyers.
The last bit of fun comes almost 12 hours into the setup process – judging. Bay Island Bonsai members and students of Boon vote, each year, to award Members’ Choice Awards to deserving trees in each class. This too we practice throughout the year to hone our evaluative skills. As such, the exercise is less about recognizing excellence than it is about helping us learn to look at trees carefully. These skills also help when shopping for bonsai.
As BIB sensei, Boon doesn’t get to vote. He’s responsible for managing the exhibit and ensuring that only deserving trees stand for selection. Trees may be shown at most every other year in Bay Island Bonsai’s exhibit, and the same tree can win in its class no more than once in a 5 year period.
Judging the exhibit
We’ve come a long way from our first exhibit in 2000 – I’m proud of our progress and can’t believe how much we’ve grown as an organization. But more than anything, our 10th exhibit makes me optimistic for future shows. I look forward to showing older trees, trees with better developed branches and silhouettes, more deciduous trees – there’s always room for improvement! Excited by the thought, I spent the day after the show working on my trees – my deciduous trees.
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