Congratulations to Peter Tea for winning the 2009 Joshua Roth New Talent Bonsai Competition! Supported by the American Bonsai Society, the New Talent competition is usually held at ABS conventions, but this year was held at GSBF Convention XXXII, A Southwest Bonsai Journey, in Riverside, CA.
Posing with the winning tree (Peter Tea photo)
To enter, contestants with less than 10 years of bonsai experience submit several photographs of their work. From these initial submissions, eight finalists are selected to compete in person at the appointed venue. The finalists are given similar material and have eight hours to complete their work.
What makes the contest so fun is that the finalists style their trees in public view. Watching people work on trees can be both fun and educational as there are many ways to get from bonsai stock to styled tree. I attended the 2004 event in St. Louis and was surprised, each time I stopped by, to see the trees progress so quickly. The contest was first held at ABS 2002 in Milwaukee. Last year, Vladimir Foursa, took the top prize in San Antonio.
Procumbens nana as styled during the competition (Peter Tea photo)
Why would one go to such effort and subject oneself to public scrutiny? For the top prize – an educational opportunity with a recognized master. Past winners have used their prize for travel and study expenses. Peter is currently undecided as to how he’ll apply his prize. Winners are also invited to perform demonstrations at upcoming ABS events. In Peter’s case, this means the 2010 ABS convention to be held in Louisville, Kentucky.
I asked Peter how he approached the tree. His answer was informative. He began by cleaning it. He removed the little shoots that grew at branch intersections and thinned out areas where shoots were crowded. While giving the tree the once-over he found that he could use most of the existing shoots in his design. He cut or jinned unnecessary branches and opened a shari on the trunk to add interest (see below). All that remained was the detail wiring.
Trunk detail (Peter Tea photo)
If you haven’t seen Peter’s wiring up close, I recommend you take a look – his work is excellent. A good opportunity to view his work in person will be the upcoming Bay Island Bonsai Exhibit in Pleasanton, California. Mark your calendars now – An Exhibit of Fine Bonsai will be held on January 16-17, 2010.
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