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…)

Vending at GSBF/ABS 37 “Bonsai Visions of the West”

v150GSBF/ABS 37 “Bonsai Visions of the West” was October 30 – November 2, 2014, at the Double Tree Hotel & Convention Center, Sacramento California. Convention vending is a major venue at every GSBF annual convention. GSBF/ABS37 was no exception to having many fine vendors selling everything bonsai and suiseki related for the professional and hobbyist. Vendors were on hand throughout the convention. The Golden State Bonsai Federation (GSBF) and American Bonsai Society (ABS) even had tables for their respective publications, Golden Statements and Bonsai Journal of the American Bonsai Society. There were vendors from out of the State, like Frank J. Mihalic of Frank’s Custom Jewelry, Chardon, Ohio; David Knittle of Knittle Studio The Art of Display, Waterbury, Vermont; Randy R. McLean of R. McLean Designs Handmade Unique Apparel, Tucson, Arizona; and Pauline F. Muth of PFM Bonsai, West Charlton, New York. (more…)

A Gallery from the Main Bonsai Exhibit at Convention 37

main150The main bonsai exhibit on display at the GSBF/ABS Convention 37, October 30 – November 2, 2014, in Sacramento, California was truly outstanding. It took months of scouting the State of California by Greg McDonald and a crew of all-volunteers for the best in quality bonsai. Two years ago at the same location, Greg exhibited all-Californian native species. This year the goal was to exhibit the finest all-species bonsai. The photographs below show many of the bonsai on display. (more…)

Utah Juniper From Convention 37

utah150Greg McDonald was in charge of the main bonsai exhibit for the 37th GSBF Convention “Visions of the West”, held jointly with the American Bonsai Society (ABS) at the DoubleTree Hotel & Convention Center, Sacramento, California, from October 30 to November 2, 2014. Two years ago, Greg was also in charge of putting together the main bonsai exhibit for the 35th GSBF Convention “California Dreaming”. That time he only had to gather a sufficient number of bonsai for an all-Californian native tree exhibition. However, this year’s goal was to put together bonsai displays that would out perform his previous 2012 exhibition. Did Greg and his all-volunteer crew pull it off? Of course, they did! Their many months of work covering the State of California and viewing private collections really paid off big time… (more…)

Unexpected Guest Visits Convention 37

mant150There was something out of the ordinary that occurred during Convention 37, the annual convention held by the GSBF, that caught the attention of many convention goers, but maybe not everyone. It took place in the main bonsai exhibit. Visitors to the exhibit were surprised to spot or have pointed out to them there was a Tenodera (Praying Mantis) on the top of a cascade styled Atlas Cedar. The insect is called praying mantis because of the typical “prayer-like” posture with folded forelimbs. Praying mantis are beautiful insects. They have a voracious appetite; being strictly carnivorous, they’ll eat any insect of a size they can overcome. Praying mantis is a wonderful delight to have in your garden (in this case, bonsai display). (more…)

Yamato Bonsai Kai 43rd Annual Bonsai Exhibition

yam_150On October 18 and 19, 2014, the Yamato Bonsai Kai held their 43rd Annual Bonsai Exhibition at the Southern Alameda County Buddhist Church, Union City, California. Hours were Noon to 6 PM on Saturday, and 10 AM to 5 PM on Sunday. Demonstrations were conducted each afternoon at 2 PM by Bonsai Master Johnny Uchida, working with advanced bonsai material. There were vendors and plant sales available.

I arrived early to meet with some of the vendors and look over the plant sales. I spoke with Kanehiro Hamajima of Bonsai Fusion, San Jose, California. He sells wonderful shohin and accent pots. I said hello to the busy David Nguy of West America Trading Company, Chino, California. David and his wife June were busy wrapping up imported bonsai pots for customers. I then purchased some copper wire from Jim Gremel of Deer Meadow Bonsai, Occidental, California. I took my time admiring Jim’s newest custom-made nanban pots he had for sale. Jim said he was readying himself and creating new pots for the upcoming Golden State Bonsai Federation (GSBF) Convention 37 at Sacramento, California, October 30 through November 2, 2014. (more…)

East Bay Bonsai Society Has 53rd Annual Bonsai Show & Demonstration with Matt Reel

east_150For 53 years, the East Bay Bonsai Society (EBBS) has been conducting its annual bonsai show. It certainly showed in the organization, schedule of activities and layout of the exhibition. The trees were exceptional on display. EBBS members also showed a large degree of excitement, enthusiasm and pride in displaying their bonsai with complementary other arts.

Months before the show EBBS members conducted show related preparedness during regular monthly meetings. Tom Colby discussed the use of stands in a bonsai display. Janice Dilbeck will arrange the display of trees, and Polly Gould will arrange companion and accent plants. Inge Woelfel will arrange the shohin display. Bob Gould will be responsible for assigning particular tokonoma tables for displays by individual members. Each individual member is responsible for arranging his or her tokonoma. And so on… (more…)

Bay Area Bonsai Associates Meeting with Guest, Matt Reel

150mattThe Bay Area Bonsai Associates (BABA) held its October 11, 2014 meeting with bonsai professional Matt Reel. Matt has spent eight years as an apprentice for Shinji Suzuki in Obuse, Japan. After being certified in Japan, Matt is now back in the United States teaching bonsai. Matt introduced himself briefly and then started to comment on the trees BABA members brought to the meeting. Matt’s critiques were well received by all in attendance. He described the species and generally gave an overall assessment of the bonsai. He discussed the front view as presented by the tree’s owner and often suggested slight adjustments to bring out the most interesting movement of the trunk or other feature. Some native species Matt has never work with before. However, he explained with confidence and authority the fundamentals of bonsai styling, caring for and displaying. (more…)

Vending at the Vets Dining Hall

cher150By Cheryl Petty

The ceilings are tall in the Dining Hall. At one end is a stage and along one side is a wall of windows. Eighteen vendors assembled here the last weekend of August 2014 at the Redwood Empire Bonsai Society annual show.

Before the show opens to the public, members dart through the vendors’ hall, eyeing the goods with experience, before returning to their duties in the main exhibit hall.  Last minute purchases are spirited away, perhaps to accent a tree in the next hall.  Once the public is admitted, the already narrow aisles between rows of tables clog.  In this room, talking rules:  customers talking to vendors who call to each other across a distance in greeting to others coming in another direction, happy pandemonium. (more…)