Let’s wrap up our initial tour of the Expo with some examples of medium and shohin displays.
Given a standard exhibit space that’s six feet wide, it’s common to fill the area with two or more trees depending on their size. For medium-sized trees under 18″, we expect to see displays featuring two bonsai and one accent.
Black pine and chojubai by Wesley Jones
(Average score 3.9) photo courtesy Jeng Fonseca
To keep medium displays interesting, artists generally select items that provide as much contrast as possible. For example, the above display features one evergreen and one deciduous tree, one glazed pot and one unglazed pot, one slightly smaller tree and one slightly larger tree, one stand with an organic shape and one rectangular stand, one high stand and one low stand.
It’s not always easy to get this much contrast in such a simple display, but it’s great when the different elements all work well together.
Here’s another good example.
Hinoki cypress and Japanese maple by Jeffrey Stern
(Average score 4.1) photo courtesy Julian Tsai
The hinoki is a spectacular tree that exemplifies how dense branching can become on hinoki bonsai. The Japanese maple provides awesome contrast with its red foliage.
The main trees in medium displays don’t need to be conifers. Below is an example where the primary tree in the display (the larger of the two) is deciduous.
Corkbark elm and shimpaku juniper by Eric Schrader
(Average score 3.3) photo courtesy Jeng Fonseca
One of my displays featured a broadleaf evergreen (Yaupon holly) and a conifer. The primary tree is on the small side so the second tree also had to be small to maintain consistent proportions.
Yaupon holly and shimpaku juniper
(Average score 4.0) photo courtesy Julian Tsai
My other medium display featured a larger deciduous tree with a conifer. The hornbeam is 18″ tall, the maximum for the category.
Korean hornbeam and black pine, winner Best Medium Display
(Average score 4.3) photo courtesy Julian Tsai
When a bonsai is over 18″ tall but much smaller than the largest trees in a category, it’s common to fill the display space with a scroll. Here’s a good example featuring a Shishigashira Japanese maple.
Shishigashira Japanese maple by William N. Valavanis
(Average score 3.6) photo courtesy Julian Tsai
As the trees in a display get smaller, we can expect the number of trees to increase. For shohin bonsai (trees under 8″ tall), it’s common to display up to eight bonsai in a single display.
Jeff Stern did a fantastic job of this with his award-winning entry.
Shohin display by Jeffrey Stern
(Coast redwood, chojubai, trident maple, Japanese maple, olive, potentilla)
(Average score 4.7) photo courtesy Julian Tsai
Thanks to everyone for accompanying me on a brief tour of the inaugural Pacific Bonsai Expo! I’ll be taking a break from posting through the end of the year but will be back with the usual how-to and technique-focused posts next year. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the holiday season and have a Happy New Year!
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