Monday, 13 April 2009

Award-winning Chamaecyparis

Absolutely had to get this photo out there, as I had originally tried to post a photo of this tree while at Swindon show and failed miserably.

I believe the owner said this chamaecyparis is a 'Boulevard'.

This bonsai took a first at Swindon (didn't get an award at BoB) and if you click on the photo, you can see the detail that went into the creation of this image. This tree makes me think of redwood forests and things like that.

In the confines of a bonsai show and displayed in proximity with other trees, the redwood forest image does tend to be more difficult to call to mind.

Which is the downside really, but bonsai were never created to be displayed in rows and rows. I've had loads of discussions with people who feel that bonsai shows should be crammed with trees as that's what the general public want.

Gimme a break, peeps. Show me the stats that say you polled the general public with the view of finding out what their preference was in terms of bonsai display, i.e. the comparative of a hedge style vs an open/airy style. Show me you took the time and effort to poll a statistically valid sample (not just 10 of your mates). Show me the guided/unguided questions you asked and how the poll was taken. Show me the numbers and how you arrived at that conclusion. Yeah, throw in some qualitative narratives as well. But other than that don't tell me shite, 'cause all you have is conjecture from where I'm looking at it. And your opinion is only as good as mine, 'cause that's all it is - an opinion. Back it up with some proper marketing stats, then you have a leg to stand on as far as I'm concerned. There, gauntlet thrown.

'Cause all I can say is that it's either ignorance or a crime to display a bonsai like this in conditions that would never give you the possibility of looking at this and saying to yourself, 'yes I can easily see the forest and this tree standing majestically in it'.


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  4. Dude, thx for visiting and leaving a comment.
    I don't advertise and have no real desire to do any alliance marketing of any sort. Sorry if I sound harsh about it.
    I have no commercial interests whatsoever and intend to keep it that way. If my ranting pushes your buttons...hey, that's cool.
    So you're welcome to stay, pls only leave comments pertinent to the topic. You don't even have to pay me compliments, that doesn't really push my buttons either.
    As I said in my sub-title thingy, I ain't running a democracy. But I will welcome all visitors who're cool about playing to my rules.

  5. OK, I'll rise to this and take up the gauntlet. Like you, this is my view and quite happy for others to disagree.
    I think the issue of displaying to the public is associated with convenience rather than what the public wants. Mostly, these days bonsai are exhibited at horticultural shows where there is pressure to confom to a standard display format, ie rows of trees on a bench. Not my favourite either, I may hasten to add. However, I suspect there has been the assumption that the paying public wants value for money and this is converted to more exhibits. Look at it another way, what would be the respons of the public viewing the same exhibit stand with only 3 trees? No matter how much thought that has gone into the display I suspect that much of the nuances and symbolism that is so important in an artisitic display will be missed. Not that it is the public's fault for they have not been schooled in this sort of visual art. As an example, we have tried this approach, to display in the tokonoma style. The result was that most of the visitors filed passed without a second glance, missing the interrelationships between the objects or the visual message that was being implied. Also, let us not forget where the heritage of traditional display which as you know has its roots in the altars of buddhist temples and later Japanese homes. The attempt here is to honour a guest. So in the context of a horticultural show stacking bonsai hedgerow style is probably as good approach as any, even though it does not do justice to some marvelous creations.
    There you go my bit of ranting to add to your bit of ranting.

  6. Cool, thanks for the comment.
    I don't think we're disagreeing majorally on any points as such, and the points you raised have given me more food for thought (fuel for the fire?).
    I was musing on a different blog post but I think that will get shelved in favour of this one. And the points you raise are worthy of more space than getting buried within a comment section.

  7. On reflection after other off line discussions about the pressure to conform felt by bonsai exhibitors. There are already alternatives ways to display seen at larger horticultural shows. At the moment bonsai seems to have chosen to display in a similar way to cut flowers eg racked up on a bench. However, I recall a number of different approaches at the RHS shows. Auriculas are often display within a frame in dark barkground, like a photograph. The carnivorous plants create miniature marshland scenes with mosses, pools and bog wood. Some of herbaceous plant nurserys create gardens with their specimen plants arranged within an overall design. The fern sellers create woodland effects, filling spaces with mosses, driftwood and other paraphernalia. So despite the assumption that the viewing public want to see lots of exhibits there huge choice of alternative ways for us to display. Perhaps, it is the judges that are restricting experimentation and innovation by marking down anyone who strays from the norm. For example, a bonsai exhibitor at last years Chelsea Flower Show tried to offer a different approach by showing how bonsai might fit into an garden situation. For her efforts she received a silver medal despite an excellent stand and some fine exhibits. Where was the justice in that and how is that sort of marking likely to encourage creativity?