I’m working, this week, on my submission for the Artisans Cup coming to Portland, Oregon, in September. Haven’t submitted a tree yet? No problem, there are still 3 days left. The requirements are simple – a few photos of your tree, a photo of the intended display, and a few words describing your intention behind the composition. Here’s the link to submit now.
One of the cool things about the exhibit is that there are few guidelines for how to display bonsai. Don’t have any stands? Not a problem – any medium will do. While there is a long history of bonsai display in Japan that we see emulated in many U.S. exhibits, I’m more excited about the potential departures from convention that might make their way into the Cup.
For those going the tree/pot/stand/accent route, now’s the time to dig through all of the stands on hand to see which elements work best together. Of course, this is easier said than done as anyone who has setup an exhibit knows how difficult it is to find just the right elements for display. The following attempts at a display for a Korean hornbeam make this clear.
The elements here are a medium-sized Korean hornbeam, a small black pine, two stands, a slab and an accent. I like the color and style of the stand for the hornbeam, but it’s a bit lightweight for the tree. Maybe something heavier will do.
I like the size and weight of this stand – made by a local craftsman – but I prefer the darker color of the previous stand. The accent here is next to the smaller tree. What if we move it so it complements the main tree?
The accent looks good with the main tree, but the accent is on the small side.
Here is a slightly larger accent, though it’s still on the small side. Would raising it make a difference?
The additional height of the accent here is nice, but the stand is a bit much for my taste. More importantly, the pine, being much smaller than the hornbeam, benefits more from the accent than the hornbeam does. I also think the stand is small for the pine.
Here the accent is again next to the pine, and the pine has a slightly different stand. The color and detail is nice, but how would a slightly larger stand look?
The size of the stand is good, but now the color is off, and it’s a too similar to the color of the stand for the hornbeam.
Here’s a slightly larger and darker stand for the pine. I like the color, but the size is a bit big for the tree.
What to do? I can leave it to someone else to decide. I can eschew stands in favor of a concrete block, though that’s been done before. Or I can keep experimenting – there are, after all, a few days left before submissions are due.
Still have questions about the Artisans Cup? Check out the event’s FAQ.
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