Some of the most creative displays at the 5th US National Bonsai Exhibition showed up in the shohin section. About half of the shohin displays were traditional box arrangements – the other half followed alternative approaches.
Below we find a three-tier arrangement with four trees accented by a semi-cascade bonsai atop a modern stand with wood block riser.
Shohin bonsai display with strong orthogonal lines
Next up is a far more delicate arrangement with a slender needle juniper accenting two balanced trees and a viewing stone.
Angled box shohin display
Here’s more of a deconstructed box with trees supported by posts rising at 45 degree angles from a horizontal base. The overlapping supports provide an element of depth. The accent gets its own, small, support.
Four point shohin display
The smallest trees were arranged in round-edged squares balanced on end. The accent stand sat flat on the table.
Next we come to the box stands. One of the first I saw featured a good mix of varieties: black pine, trident maple, hinoki, olive, zelkova and red pine. The pots were mostly different colors with the red and black pines in different shades of red-brown, and the hinoki and olive in different shades of yellow. Three of the five trees in the box sit on small stands while the other two sit directly on the box. The accent is a small viewing stone pointing strongly to the red pine.
Shohin box display
I believe the display below wasn’t totally set up when I photographed it as the zelkova is sitting on the felt in front of the stand. Each of the trees is very well done. If you zoom in, check out the trident maple on the right side – the trunk is fantastic.
Box shohin display
Next is a simple arrangement with a Japanese maple and shimpaku along with a scroll and accent plant.
Japanese maple and shimpaku
In the display below, all five pots in the box sit on small stands. There is good contrast between the all of the pots. Two of them are differing shades of blue – the one in which the Japanese maple is planted is made Roy Minarai. (I’ll say more about Roy’s pots in an upcoming post.)
The display below features a four-tree box arranged with a good mix of varieties. I really like that the chojubai has fruit – a great marker of the season.
Four tree box display with fruiting chojubai
To finish, we have the prize-winning shohin display. Six trees and accent. Each tree is well developed, and there is great contrast between each of the display elements. Well done Mel!
Finest Shohin Bonsai Award – Black pine, hinoki cypress, satsuki azalea, trident maple, zelkova and shimpaku
That concludes our tour of the 5th annual US National Bonsai Exhibition. To get a better look at all of the trees on display, pre-order the book from International Bonsai before the price goes up. The professional photography is by Joe Noga – Bill Valavanis’ long-time photographer. Details for each exhibit include tree height, container information provided by Ryan Bell, and a prose description highlighting what makes each tree special. Learn more at International Bonsai.
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