Spring Is Almost Here (I can wish)

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Time To Order Seedlings & Pre-bonsai!

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Korean Hornbeam

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Korean Hornbeam

This year’s crop of seedlings and pre-bonsai look especially good. They have been graded so each bundle has different size trunks for forest plantings. The larger pre-bonsai are all well established in 4” pots. We will begin shipping in two weeks. Although this year we are offering 18 different species of seedlings and pre-bonsai, below are a few highlights:

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European Beech

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European Beech

The European Beech are quite tall and have an excellent fibrous root system. They are ready for creating your own forest. Although the Korean Hornbeams are smaller, they are also good for forests.

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Kishu Sargent Juniper

The Japanese Red Pine seedlings are small and perfect to wire for shaping shohin bonsai. Both the Kishu and Itoigawa Sargent Junipers are perfect for workshops. I’m using them for my club programs in Virginia, North Carolina and New York, in addition to my Introuctory Classical Bonsai Course.

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Koto Hime Japanese Maple

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Koto Hime Japanese Maple

The Koto Hime Japanese Maples have great twigging and can be easily created into shohin bonsai in a short period of time.

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Winterhazel

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The Buttercup Winterhazel are loaded with flower bud, just waiting to open and display their dainty pendulous flowers.

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Kojo No Mai Japanese Flowering Cherry

The Akebono, Yoshino and Kojo No Mai Japanese Flowering Cherries also have flower buds.

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Chinese Quince

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Chinese Quince

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Chinese Quince

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Chinese Quince

Although the Chinese Quince don’t have flower buds yet, many are beginning to show their mottled bark. The plants from 4” pots are perfect for teaching students how to wire.

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Japanese Snowbell

The Japanese Snowbell are well established in 4” pots and have great trunk movement. If planted in the ground their trunks will quickly thicken.

 

Order now to avoid disappointment, as quantities are limited.

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 Catalog Information:

http://www.internationalbonsai.com/page/1442817

 

Order Seedlings & Pre-bonsai on line:

http://www.internationalbonsai.com/seedling%20list

 

Download 2017 Seedling & Pre-Bonsai catalog:

http://www.internationalbonsai.com/files/1708315/uploaded/2017%20SEEDLING%20CATALOG.pdf

 

World Bonsai Convention Coming Soon

 

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The 8th World Bonsai Convention will take place on April 27-30, 2017 in Saitama City, Japan. Saitama City is the new name for Omiya, famous for high quality bonsai gardens. This promises to be the finest and largest bonsai convention to date, anywhere. The World Bonsai Friendship Federation has been holding conventions since 1989, the first in Japan. Since then the convention held every four years has been held in the United States, Korea, Europe and Puerto Rico.

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Top Japanese bonsai artists will be demonstrating including: Masahiko Kimura, Hiroshi Takeyama, Kunio Kobayashi, Shinji Suzuki, Minoru Akiyama, Shigeo Isobe, Chikaru Imai, Taiga Urushibata, Kenji Oshima, Isao Omachi, Takashi Sakurai, Masayuji Fujikawa and Mitsuo Matsuda. Additionally international bonsai artists from each region of the World Bonsai Friendship Federation will also demonstrate: Werner Bush, Hannes Fritz, Jyoti & Ninkunj Parekh, Zao Quingquan, Mike Siow, Lindsay Bebb, Bjorn Bjorholm and Juan Andrade. That’s a lot of demonstrating artists, probably the best line up ever.

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Of course there will be an exhibit: The Greatest Bonsai & Suiseki Exhibit, featuring the best bonsai and Suiseki. I’ve seen a preliminary layout and this exhibit should be superb. I hope they allow photos.

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The Omiya Bonsai Art Museum of Saitama City will be one of the featured sub venues of the convention. It houses many bonsai masterpieces of the highest quality and many are the best of their species in Japan. All signs are in Japanese and English and there is even an English headphone available. Special educational exhibits, which interest me especially, are held in a gallery.

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Springtime is my favorite season in Japan, although autumn is a close second. Having lived in Omiya Bonsai Village during my apprenticeship, this is the place to be to appreciate and study fine quality classical bonsai. Each of the six main bonsai gardens has a different atmosphere reflecting the artist’s taste and bonsai specialty.

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There are just less than 100 days to the Opening Ceremony of the 8th World Bonsai Convention in Saitama City, Japan. The US/Japan exchange rate is excellent now and I’ve seen quite a few airfare sales too. Although I’ve been to Japan before, (stopped counting at 50 trips many years ago) and will be going again in a couple of weeks for the Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition, I’m quite excited about the World Bonsai Convention. I’m familiar about Japanese hospitality and organization and when combined with some of the finest bonsai and suiseki in the world promises to be an exciting experience. Kora Dalager’s and my tour has been filled for months, actually over subscribed with 24 participants from England, Australia and the United States.

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Hatsuji Kato, Executive Director for the World Bonsai Convention

For additional information: info@world-bonsai-saitama.jp

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US National Shohin Bonsai Exhibition

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Shohin and small size bonsai are a popular group because of their diminutive size and compressed beauty. In the United States they are always included in bonsai exhibitions. There have been well over 100 individual shohin bonsai displayed in each of the past five US National Bonsai Exhibitions. Every other year a well organized and attended bonsai seminar takes place in California full of small bonsai, workshops, demonstrations, displays and vendors too. During the past 30 some years I’ve sponsored over eight shohin bonsai symposia and seminars. Now is the time to raise the level and increase the popularity of shohin bonsai with an exhibition of fine quality of small size bonsai on the east coast.

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For the past four years, in early December, Steve Zeisel has sponsored and organized the Winter Silhouette Bonsai Expo held at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, North Carolina. This has been a well organized and attended event which has grown and improved each year. I’ve been honored to have displayed and presented programs in each of the Winter Silhouette Bonsai Expos.

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The North Carolina Research Campus provides a beautiful venue which features marble walls and floors from the same quarry in Italy that Michelangelo used to carve his famous “David.” The building is a unique four story rotunda crowned with a beautiful dome, which is the tallest dome south of Washington, D.C. The marble floor inlay with beautiful geometric forms and tall pillars truly presents an elegant setting for bonsai. The lighting is excellent, perhaps because of the highly polished light colored marble floors. The four story rotunda ads another dimension to this bonsai exhibition, which I have never experienced before, and I’ve seen quite a number of shows around the world.

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Louise Leister from Florida has talked me into organizing the US National Shohin Bonsai Exhibition in the same venue as the Winter Silhouette Bonsai Expos. With Louise and Steve Zeisel ’s assistance the US National Shohin Bonsai Exhibition will take place on June 23-25, 2017 in Kannapolis, North Carolina. Kannapolis, North Carolina. Kannapolis is 30 miles north of Charlotte, North Carolina.

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Some of the greatest shohin bonsai artists will share their knowledge and techniques through workshops, demonstrations, displays and a critique. Artists include:

Suthin Sukosolvisit

Kathy Shaner

John Romano

Sean Smith

Michael Lebanik

Mark Arpag

Michael Ryan Bell

William N. Valavanis

 

 

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Four workshops with excellent plant material will be conducted on Friday while exhibitor and vendors set up their displays. The exhibition and vendor areas will be open all day on Saturday and Sunday. A Welcome Reception will begin the event followed by two programs. Saturday’s schedule includes four lecture demonstrations, a bonsai auction followed by a banquet on the third floor of the rotunda where people can look down at the exhibition. On Sunday morning three of our artists will conduct a critique of the entire shohin bonsai exhibition. An additional four lecture demonstrations will be presented and will conclude with an auction of the demonstration bonsai.

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If you have a quality shohin or small bonsai, up to 12” in height, you would like to be considered for display in the exhibition please send me a photo for the selection process by E-Mail to: wnv@internationalbonsai.com

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Only a limited number of tables are available in this unique building, so don’t delay. Individual shohin specimens, three point displays as well as shohin bonsai compositions will be displayed for participants and the public. There is no entry fee for displaying your shohin and small bonsai.

 

All bonsai will be judged and the following awards will be presented on Sunday morning:

Best of Show

Best Evergreen Bonsai

Best Deciduous Bonsai

Best Broadleaf Bonsai

Best Tropical Bonsai

Best Bonsai Companion Combination

Best Tree And Container Combination

Best Shohin Bonsai Composition Display

 

If you would like to sponsor one of the awards please contact Louise Leister:

mysecretbonsai@me.com

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Our Official Hotel is:

Comfort Inn & Suites Kannapolis/Concord

3033 Cloverleaf Parkway

Kannapolis, NC 28038

(704) 795-4888

Be sure to mention the US Shohin Bonsai Exhibition when registering to get the special $99 rate, which includes a hot breakfast.

The registration forms will be soon released. You can E-Mail me for a registration form at: wnv@internationalbonsai.com

Registration forms will also be on our web site where you can also easily register for the workshops and programs at: www.internationalbonsai.com

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Come join other enthusiasts who love the beauty and enchantment of small size bonsai.

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Bonsai Without Borders Global Summit

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The Bonsai Without Borders Global Summit and Black Scissors Bonsai Creators Convention was co-hosted by the Huzhou Nanxun Phoenix Cultural Tourism Development Group and the BWB Global Summit and Black Scissors Community. It was held in Nanxum, a beautiful ancient city a few hours from Shanghai, China, on December 7-8, 2016. Su Fang, President of the Chinese Penjing Artists Association is also the co-founder of the “Black Scissors Community,” and promoter of Chinese penjing.

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Su Fang

The Black Scissors community, founded by Su Fang and Robert Steven from Indonesia in 2014 to promote a new bonsai culture spirit, so anyone who feels having the Black Scissors spirit can call himself/herself a Black Scissors fellow. The mission is to promote the spirit of inclusive and respective bonsai sisterhood, spirit of enthusiasm to explore new ideas, spirit of freedom to create and to express, spirit of motivation to encourage and to share creativity of bonsai art in order to lift bonsai art to higher level in a new perspective…and free from bonsai politics! There are 33 international bonsai organizations from 22 countries which have joined the  KOSBI Sister Community to promote the Black Scissors spirit. The Black Scissors Community remains as an informal and inclusive community which is cross nation, cross culture, cross religion, cross gender and cross generation.

Working together, throughout the world and the Black Scissors Communityd thinking “outside the box,” not being bound by traditional “rules” and traditions, however respecting history and the founders of the art are the goals of the community. The symbol of the Black Scissors community is to hold two fingers in a “V” formation pointing downward.

 

Nearly 300 bonsai leaders from around the world were invited to attend the BWB Global Summit from 35 countries, the first world convention initiated by China, the origin country of bonsai. The summit included media, honored guests as well as 70 bonsai artists from 35 countries for a demonstration.

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The two day convention began with an Opening Ceremony, complete with loud music and a multitude of lighting. In the afternoon attendees were bused to the Shuanglin Guiran Bonsai Garden for a bonsai exhibition and demonstrations. Entering the garden were SWAT police, not so much for protection, but to guide the 300 attendees plus visitors to the garden to the appropriate areas. There were about 50 large and a few small beautiful bonsai on display surrounding the demonstration area.

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Princess Persimmon

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The demonstration by 70 bonsai artists was GREAT! I never thought it could be done, but Su Fang did it, with style too! Upon entering the large greenhouse with shade cloth each artist picked a ball by lottery indicating which tree they were to work on. Nobody knew which tree was theirs, or were they were to demonstrate from. The large size junipers were 20 years old and had been wired twice. They were huge, all potted in identical containers in a soil, which looked, like concrete. They must have weighed 100 lbs. each. All the artists were provided with a complete selection of sissy wire and the trees were placed on small, but strong and sturdy turntables. Each artist had a shelf where they could put tools and other articles out of the way. A trash box as well as a full bag of Japanese akadama soil, drinking water, a can of beer and wooden blocks for changing the angle of the tree were provided. Many of the trees were created into cascade style bonsai. Additionally a carpeted strong wooden box was used to stand on while working the trees was provided for everyone. Some did not use the box, like Bjorn, but I did…. and I would have needed two boxes, but had a tall stool next to me to sit on while carving.

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There were two levels of demonstrators, surrounded by stadium seating with covered chairs and carpeted flooring. Lights were everywhere so the demonstrators could see the trees. I think there were TV monitors too, as well as flags from each country. Loud music was also there, but we did not need it to keep us awake. Colored moving lights were around the display bonsai around the perimeter of the room. It was difficult to photograph the trees. Once I started, I did not stop, not even to use the restroom. There was no time. I did not even see the other demonstrations. There was TV crews and many provided interviews for the media. My good friend, Diane Boekhout, President of the Bonsai Society of Western Australia in Perth, and also President of the Association of Australian Bonsai Clubs took many of the photos included here, as well as Su Fang because I was not able to watch others and see everything.

 

Following the four hour, part 1 of the demonstrations we returned to the hotel for the BWB Ball. People were asked to dress in their country’s native dress. So, of course, being an American, one of my students who is a native American Indian provided me with authentic clothing, including a loin cloth (yes, I wore underwear) but not the headdress. Real eagle feathers are sacred so others were used. Many friends wanted their photos taken with me. Sometimes a line formed. When I left the room, the waiters, waitresses and kitchen staff corned me for more photos.

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The final day began with part 2 of the demonstrations. Since my tree was rather complex and I created quite a bit of dead wood, fine wiring was not completed, but the basic design was there. Many of the demonstrators had time to pot their trees into bonsai containers. All the trees were photographed against a black background for the upcoming book. I did not even have time to visit the garden’s sales area were great containers, display tables and more were for sale.

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In the afternoon we returned to the hotel for the BWB Forum where 25 bonsai leaders from around the world spoke and showed images of their country’s bonsai, activities and thoughts on the Black Scissors creative bonsai movement.

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In the evening of the final day everyone was bused to another hotel for the BWBonsai Gala,  black tie formal event that began with an interesting and educational short program on the history of Chinese penjing. Great images! Following was loud music and lighting, which looked like a stage show. Yes, there even were stage girls as well as singers and a belly dancer…. People partied and danced and everyone had a great finale to a wonderful two day convention.

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Su Fang and his assistant Mia Wang worked very hard to organize and conduct the historic Bonsai Without Borders convention. Having sponsored and organized over 30 symposia as well as five US National Bonsai Exhibitions and other events, I can attest that Su Fang’s event was excellent and well organized. The penjing and bonsai community has been blessed with the leadership of Su Fang. Thanks for a job well done my friend!

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Mia Wang with newlyweds Su Fang and Kay

 

 

2016 Winter Bonsai Silhouette Bonsai Expo

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The 4th Winter Bonsai Silhouette Expo was sponsored and organized by Dr. Steven Zeisel with the support of the UNC Nutrition Research Institute and the Cabarrus County Convention and Visitors Bureau. It was held at the magnificent museum like venue on the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, North Carolina, near Charlotte. The exhibition featuring leafless deciduous bonsai was staged in the rotunda of the building framed with imported Italian marble walls and floors under the dome, which is the tallest south of Washington, DC. This year there were 73 bonsai in the exhibition.

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Best of Show, Japanese Beech, displayed by Sergio Cuan

 

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Best Deciduous Bonsai, Shishigashira Japanese Maple, displayed by Joe Noga

 

I have been privileged to participate in all four editions of the exhibitions and this year’s show was leaps and bounds finer than in the past. Exhibitors put considerable effort into their overall displays as well as preparing their prized bonsai. A large number of exhibitors traveled from the state of Florida and many defoliated Figs, Bougainvillea and even a dwarf Jade to expose the fine twigs, rarely seen because these species are broadleaf evergreens. The beauty of each bonsai was digitally captured by Joe Noga who spent most of the weekend photographing each bonsai. It is too bad that he did not have the opportunity to photograph individual displays because creativity of most of the displays was innovative as well. So, please enjoy my photos while Joe processes his images, which will be posted on the exhibition’s web site at a later date.

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Best Conifer Bonsai, Sargent Juniper, displayed by Ed Lauer

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Best Fruiting Bonsai, Deciduous Holly

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No, its not a Trident Maple, its Willow-leaf Fig!

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Additionally, demonstrations were presented by Owen Reich, Rodney Clemens, Adam Levine and Wm. N. Valavanis who also lead a critique of the entire show and individual bonsai. An expanded vendor area brought several new vendors who offered their bonsai, pre-bonsai, art, containers and much more for visitors. Both the public and bonsai hobbyists attended to see the beautiful naked bonsai. An auction prior to the Saturday evening delicious dinner helped to defray the costs of producing this beautiful exhibition.

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Steve Zeisel is to be congratulated, again, for producing such a fine display of bonsai during a dark period of the year. But, the splendor of each bonsai truly was shining through the dark skies. I look forward to next year’s Winter Bonsai Silhouette Expo during the first week of December.

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2016 Autumn Japan Bonsai Exploration– Part 7 (Final)

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Today we visited the city of Tokoname, which is well known in the world wide bonsai community for producing excellent bonsai containers. The city of Tokoname is one of the oldest pottery towns having been established in the 12th Century. It is best known for producing toilets, sewer tiles and teapots. Bonsai container production has dropped significantly and currently less than ten kilns are producing bonsai containers. It must be remembered that there are many different quality levels of Tokoname made containers. The importation of contemporary Chinese containers is probably the reason for the kiln closing. Many of the Chinese containers are better quality and less expensive than some low quality Tokoname containers.

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We visited the show rooms of several different kilns both before and after lunch. The first stop was at the Yamaaki Kiln, which produces very fine quality containers of “normal” sizes. Mostly unglazed brown, they began to produce containers with a light blue glaze. They have not produced any new containers in the past three/four years.

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Reiho mixing glaze

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Dipping the container into the glaze. Note the drainage holes are plugged with corks, which are quickly removed after dipping.

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The famous Reiho seal put on the bottom of all containers.

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Mr. & Mrs. Reiho. She makes great smaller containers.

Shuho Kiln was our next stop which specializes in beautiful and unusual glazed containers. We saw mostly small and shohin bonsai containers.

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Typical street scene where the bonsai potters live and work.

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Mr. Shuho near one of his kilns.

The Ikko Kiln makes all sizes of bonsai containers, both glazed and unglazed. The detail work is superb, as are some pretty unusual glazes.

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Mr. Ikko and his son.

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Another one of my favorite kilns is the Koyo Kiln, which specializes in mostly smaller size glazed containers. Since I specialize in deciduous species, its no wonder why I prefer Reiho and Koyo containers. I noticed a rather unusual companion planting container, which looks like a doughnut, complete with a hole in the center. I picked one up and hope it makes it back home in one piece, if not I have Superglue. Plans are to use it in one of my displays at the Winter Silhouette Bonsai Expo on December 3-4, 2016 in Kannapolis, North Carolina. More information at: www.winterbonsai.net

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Mr. Koyo with a great publication!

Our final stop was at the Gyozan Kiln, which is currently considered to be the number one potter in Japan. All of the containers are hand built, using no molds. Most of his containers are unglazed, but Gyozan is now producing glazed containers. His wife paints designs and figures on some of the small containers. I’ve been looking for a special container for my Dwarf ezo spruce bonsai. I showed Gyozan a photo of the bonsai with dimensions and he is going to make a container for my tree. Hopefully I can pick it up in April during our tour to Japan for the World Bonsai Convention.

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He had a rather unusual display at this year’s Nippon Bonsai Taikan Exhibition in Kyoto. Gyozan displayed his new design for a container holding both the main bonsai and companion planting in one piece.

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Mr. Gyozan will also be demonstrating at the World Bonsai Convention in April.

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Tomorrow we fly home, into the snow for me, in time for Thanksgiving. I hope everyone has enjoyed my blogs, as I enjoy sharing new things I see and learn. Keep watching for blog entries next week from the Winter Silhouette Bonsai Expo in Kannapolis, North Carolina and then the next day from China for the Global Bonsai Summit. Have a good and safe Thanksgiving!

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Pretty large size Lucky Kitty ready for Christmas!

2016 Japan Bonsai Exploration– Part 6

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Genkokai Bonsai & Suiseki Exhibition

On Saturday and Sunday S-Cube sponsored and produced a special exhibition for the Genkokai, a small group of bonsai collectors with high quality refined bonsai and suiseki. Held in the Hoshu-In Buddhist temple, established in 1608, the complex is normally not open to visitors. This temple is in the Daitoku-Ji complex of numerous smaller temples of the Rinzai School of Japanese Zen including the popular Daisen-In on many garden tours.

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The Genkokai is headed by Seiji Morimae comprised of his clients who want to share the beautiful bonsai and suiseki collections. He has superb taste in bonsai, suiseki and display.

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Seiji Morimae designed the displays in the individual 11 rooms of the temple, each holding one to several bonsai or suiseki. Along with the help of his S-Cube staff Mr. Morimae presented an excellent selection of bonsai and suseki. They all suggest seasonality in a quiet atmosphere.

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Even though the lighting was dim, each tree and stone could be clearly seen, studied and appreciated. The low light, in good taste was not conducive for photographing, especially since it was necessary to sit on the floor for each display, not good for my knees. A single 100 watt light bulb was the only source of light for each room. But, it is important to realize the purpose of this exhibition was not to take good photos in sufficient light, but rather to move your soul while appreciating bonsai and suiseki from private collections which are never or rarely displayed.

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I was truly touched with this entire exhibition and the atmosphere of the presentation. Not too many exhibitions do that for me.

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In another building there were two rooms filled with beautiful bonsai, suiseki and display tables for sale by S-Cube.

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The Genkokai Exhibition was a moving and learning experience personally for me which featured stellar masterpiece bonsai and suiseki. I appreciate Mr. Morimae’s hard work, taste and desire to share the beauty of his client’s trees and stones. It’s important to realize ALL these items must be packed up and trucked back to Hanyu by his friendly and hard working staff. This year only three trucks were necessary to move all the items. Even his wife and daughter were there to help and host visitors.

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We were too late as this Japanese black pine bonsai was already sold.

 

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This Japanese five-needle pine was also sold. Each one of these two sold bonsai are about the same price of a new Chevy Suburban!!