Bay Island Bonsai’s 12th annual Exhibit of Fine Bonsai will be held this coming weekend, January 15th and 16th, at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. The exhibit will feature hands-on demonstrations, an expanded vendor area, an auction of high-quality trees, and nearly 100 formally displayed bonsai.
Chinese Elm from BIB’s 2010 Exhibit
This year’s exhibit also welcomes a new feature – the Akio Kondo Bonsai Award. Kondo was Boon’s senior apprentice, or senpai, when the two apprenticed at Kihachi-en. Kondo is visiting from Japan and has agreed to select an outstanding bonsai for the prize.
For those of you who don’t know the story, the exhibit is the result of Boon’s desire to produce “one good show.” He expressed this desire upon returning from his apprenticeship with Yasuo Mitsuya in Japan. Boon formed BIB soon thereafter, and eighteen months later we held our first exhibit in January, 2000.
Announcement of the first BIB exhibit in Golden Statements
BIB had maybe twelve members at the time. As many of you know, even small bonsai exhibits can entail a lot of hard work. After a busy weekend, we packed up our trees, dismantled the backdrops, loaded the supplies and returned everything to Alameda where one by one, in the rain, three of us returned the last of the backdrops to Morten’s basement.
As we were hungry, Boon, Morten and I headed to the Gold Coast Grille for some comfort food. We were exhausted, and ate in silence. At one point Morten looked up with a wan smile and said, “I think it was a good show.” I tried to smile, Boon just stared. We were simply too tired to think clearly. After some reflection, we agreed with Morten, and started planning improvements for the next year’s exhibit.
The Bay Island Bonsai website offers a more detailed history as well as general information about the organization. As always, the organization remains open to all who are serious about learning bonsai and who can participate in BIB events like our annual exhibit. I hope to see you there!