Shohin has a fun place in the bonsai repertoire. Like satsuki devotees, some artists limit their palate to the endeavor. Others find they focus on it but maintain “large” bonsai as well. Urushibata is a great example of this sort. They also host their own conventions. One of the best that I know about is the biennial event held by the California Shohin Society in Santa Nella, CA. The next one is a week away – visit Shohin Seminar 2010 for details.
One of my favorite unproductive discussion topics focuses on which is harder, the maintenance of large or small bonsai. Unfortunately I cannot reproduce even the tenor of the greatest expounding on the topic I’ve witnessed, but if you’re curious, find Guy Guidry after dinner at your local bonsai convention and fire away.
Herewith, some photos of shohin on display at Bay Island Bonsai’s 11th annual exhibit.
The display of shohin allows for a bit more creativity than that of large or medium trees. By grouping elements together on a stand or slab, units of various size can contribute as elements of larger and more complex displays.
Tiniest accent with crab
Box display with black pine, Japanese maple, ficus, olive, and flowering quince ‘chojubai’
Potentilla in outstanding antique pot
How many elements does the following display contain? Depends on how you count. More important questions: is the display balanced? Harmonious? Seasonal? Attractive? That’s where it gets interesting. Setting up shohin displays is one of the trickier tasks of setting up an exhibit. While most of us spend our time picking out the right stand and accent for our trees, the shohin crew attempt to coordinate more trees, stands, stones and accents than I’d know what to do with.
Shohin display with potentilla, shimpaku ‘itoigawa’ and white pine
For BIB’s first few exhibits we didn’t have enough shohin among us to complete a single box display. Now we have several. It’s a great addition to the exhibit.
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