Styling Workshop with Matt Reel

matt_150On Saturday and Sunday, December 6 and 7, 2014, in the East Bay, California, I was fortunate enough to participate in a bonsai styling workshop with Matt Reel. Mike Pistello at his home set up the workshop. Matt is from Portland, Oregon. He recently returned from Japan after the past eight years of apprenticeship under Bonsai Master Shinji Suzuki. Matt is a certified bonsai professional artist and instructor. He maintains a website at Reel Bonsai – Oregon Original http://reelbonsai.wordpress.com(more…)

The 2014 Circle of Sensei Award

GSBF_sq_stampIn 2001, Golden State Bonsai Federation (GSBF) established its most prestigious award — The Circle of Sensei Award to honor those individuals who have influenced the bonsai world by being teachers of the bonsai art form and by their dedication and commitment to bonsai. During GSBF Convention 37, on November 1, 2014, two names were added to the list of recipients of The Circle of Sensei Award — Kenneth Sugimoto (posthumously) and Sandy Planting. (more…)

The 2014 John Y. Naka Award Winners

logo_2On Saturday evening, November 1, 2014, during the 37th GSBF/ABS Convention Awards Banquet, Dr. Karen Harkaway, The American Bonsai Society (ABS) President, announced the results of the John Y. Naka Award contest by awarding certificates to Bob Shimon for professional bonsai artist and to Richard Trumm for hobbyist bonsai artist. Congratulations to both winners! Photos after the jump. (more…)

Judged Bonsai Exhibit Competition

judged150Bob Hilvers chaired the third annual judged bonsai exhibit competition held by the Golden State Bonsai Federation (GSBF). The competition was a major event at the GSBF/American Bonsai Society (ABS) Convention 37 “Bonsai Visions of the West”, October 30 – November 2, 2014, DoubleTree Hotel & Convention Center, Sacramento, California.  The GSBF/ABS Convention 37 headliners Peter Tea and David DeGroot judged the bonsai entries. There were 18 entries in total. Bob presented cash awards for the following categories: Best Shohin, Best Broadleaf Evergreen, Best Deciduous, Best Conifer, People’s Choice, and Best of Show. (more…)

Juniper Nana Styling

kin150Our September [2014] demonstrator was Robert King, who brought to the turntable an old growth Juniper Nana to style and refine. Robert began the demo performing a general cleanup – to let some “air” in, and to get a better understanding of where the tree wanted to go. Robert has a more naturalistic style to his work and his technique alludes to this. He explains, “I prefer to break and tear branches instead of cutting them as this really gives a more natural looking jin, as if it were created by nature.”

He explored different options to the general structure and style of the tree and explained each decision along the way. In all, Robert took quite a hefty percentage of the foliage off the tree, which is OK in this styling session, as the tree was healthy and vigorous. (more…)

Blue Ribbon Bonsai

blue_150Photos and Story by Chris Zanella

[Redwood Empire Bonsai Society (REBS) October 28, 2014] Kathy Shaner conducted the demonstration using a Hawthorn. She really like the tree for its unique characteristics, which included a dead spike and it had the look of a clumped bonsai. The tree was made up of four big trunks, all of which were about the same diameter, plus three smaller trunks. Kathy was able to pick the tree up at its base and very easily remove it from its pot. Kathy wanted to repot the tree before styling it. She showed everybody in attendance the seven trunks while explaining how she would like to restyle the tree from a clumped style into a raft style. This would open the tree up more giving it a much wider display. Unfortunately, the tree hadn’t been pruned properly, so it lacked the branches that would be desired for this style. For Hawthorns, she normally likes to wait until the end of November to repot and prune, but we were approaching a cooling season in Sonoma County and the tree would be just fine. In this area, most trees continue to grow roots throughout the winter. (more…)

Seiji Morimae

150morimaeMr. Seiji Morimae was a very special guest from Japan at the GSBF/ABS Convention 37 in Sacramento, California, October 30 – November 2, 2014. Mr. Morimae with translator Hideko Metaxas conducted Workshop #6, Bring Your Own Bonsai Display, and Workshop #14, same title, on Friday, October 31, and Critique #6, Bonsai Exhibit, on Saturday, November 1, 2014.

He could be seen walking through the various convention venues. I observed him visiting the vendors and overheard him telling a vendor about a suiseki among those on display that was once owned by his master in Japan. (more…)

Evening with the GSBF/ABS 37 Convention Headliners

37bThe Evening with the Headliners took place as scheduled from 6:00 to 9:00 PM, on Thursday evening, October 30, during the GSBF/ABS Convention 37, October 30 – November 2, 2014, DoubleTree Hotel & Convention Center, at Sacramento, California. Everyone in attendance gathered in the Garden and Terrace Rooms to observe Peter Tea and David DeGroot on stage styling Mountain Hemlocks (Tsuga mertensiana), a species of hemlock native to the northwest coast of North America. These collected trees have been in development for 10 years. Kathy Shaner provided commentary. There were light buffet foods and a no host bar. The trees were auctioned off to the attendees upon completion of the styling duet. (more…)

Bonsai Society of San Francisco (BSSF) Meeting with Matt Reel

150allBSSF held their November 13, 2014, general meeting with a Matt Reel demonstration on a Japanese Black Pine (Pinus thunbergii). Matt recently returned to the U.S. from eight years of bonsai apprenticeship in Japan under the teachings of Mr. Shinji Suzuki, Obuse, Japan.

Note: The Taikan Bonsai Museum has a wonderful collection of Bonsai trees, masterpieces in fact. The museum belongs to Master Shinji Suzuki and is located in Obuse, close to Nagano and the famous Jigokudani Monkey Park. (more…)

Bay Area Bonsai Associates (BABA) Meeting with Valentin “Bali”

BABA150BABA held their November 8, 2014 meeting at the Garden Center at Lake Merritt Park, Oakland, California by having Jim Gremel’s protégé Valentin (aka Bali) perform a demonstration on a medium size Sierra Juniper (Juniperus occidentalis ssp. australis) grafted with the foliage of the Itoigawa Juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Itoigawa’). After the Sierra Juniper was collected from the wild, Jim placed a number of Itoigawa Juniper grafts some seven to eight years ago. Now the Itoigawa Juniper grafts have taken and formed strong shoots low in the trunk area of the Sierra Juniper. The grafted tree appeared in good health and ready for its first styling. (more…)