Friday, 24 July 2009

The ups and downs of an informal show

Being hosted inside a polytunnel has given us a lot more display space than in the past years, but it's not without its little challenges. Still, the venue is relaxed and sets the tone for the entire show.

Weather that day was on the variable side (that being the norm for a British summer) with a nippy wind blowing. Note the skirting of the shohin display table billowing in the breeze. Possibly not a sight you'd see in a hall, but not something glaringly incongruous in a plant nursery. Right next to the shohin display is the Wessex Bonsai Society stand, with two of their contingent that had come down for the day. Note the billowing of their sails as well. Way down to the right is Solent Bonsai Society's stand.

And this had to be a definite upside: the lunch spread that Lynn put out for all of us. The salads were contributed by another club member, but the lion's share (and how) of the work was all down to Lynn. As she didn't want to be included in the pic, I've cropped out a bit of her - but not all :o)

The use of a polytunnel also gave the room for everyone to gather around and enjoy a very relaxed picnic lunch. The display on the left is the Jack Bellinger Cup competition; the order of the trees (in panels of 3) is: Solent Bonsai, Wessex Bonsai and Eastleigh Bonsai. The Cup resides with Solent again this year. Display on the right is Eastleigh Bonsai Society. Another challenge was 'seamlessly' converting plant sales benches into bonsai display stands, something that's being worked on with the proprietors for next year, to avoid a few kinks in the overall presentation.

Like all things, I guess, practice makes perfect. Generally, small club shows are an occasion for socialising among club members, and also a chance to meet up with Joe Public. To this end, I sometimes wonder if these shows shouldn't have a 'warts & all' type display as well as the 'look how pretty' section. In previous venues, we had an area where club members could work on their own trees, thereby giving the general public a chance to ask about the why & the wherefore, and how it gets to the 'stonking tree' stage. Perhaps we'll move back to that format again as time goes on.

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