The last three days were busy with morning demonstrations and afternoon tours. Robert Steven did a stellar job organizing the entire convention, exhibitions and especially the twelve demonstrations from ten countries. Friendly people from twenty one countries were represented at the convention.
Next to the most unusual bonsai exhibition the demonstrations were the highlight of the four day convention. There were four demonstrators working on stage together under their country’s flag. Since I was “working” on stage on Sunday it was difficult to get many photos. Sometimes there were so many people crowding the stage it was difficult to get good shots, especially when the backgrounds blended into the tree and spotlights glaring into the camera lens.
Chong Yong Yap from Malaysia worked on a well developed Wrightia and showed how to lower branches and screwing them into place. This bonsai was well developed before and looked even better at the conclusion of his demonstration.
Professor Amy Liang came from Taiwan to show one of her specialties- forest style bonsai. The well developed Wrightia were drastically root pruned to fit on the shallow white marble tray. She brought two assistants from Taiwan to help her move the large size forest.
Mauro Stemberger traveled from Italy to demonstrate his techniques for shaping a very large size juniper. He removed quite a bit of the foliage and created a dead wood feature with the remaining stumps. He did not trim the branch tips to give strength to the foliage.
William N. Valavanis represented the United States and worked on a large size Dwarf ixora. This species grows quite slowly so the demonstration tree was old. This was a difficult tree to shape and Mauro immediately offered to split his juniper in half for me to use for the demo. It would have made a great small size bonsai, but going that way meant that my demo would have taken a few minutes rather than the tree hours allocated.
I was lucky and did not fall off the table!
Cheng Cheng Kung from Taiwan also worked on large juniper and carefully explained and demonstrated how to create dead wood using tools he invented. It is important to first look for the living lifeline under the bark before creating dead wood going around the trunk.
Sulistyanto Soejoso, an Indonesian native worked on a huge Phempis collected and established in a container. Four men were required to lift the tree on to the turntable and into the new container. He worked all around the tree and did not establish the front until the tree was completely shaped. Finally he potted the tree in a container he made from concrete especially for this bonsai.
Zhen Zhi came from China with one of his students to show how to create shohin bonsai. China is most famous for the large size penjing, but he started a shohin penjing organization and exhibition. He brought two junipers from China for his demonstrations and they quietly worked and created two beautiful shohin bonsai.
Mano Kumar and Shrikrshna Gagdi presented their first international demonstration outside India using several tropical trees for creating a forest bonsai. A flat container looking like a rock was used for planting the trees. Many different design ideas were presented using the same material before completing their bonsai.
Isao Omachi, a recent award winning bonsai artist from Japan also worked on a large juniper. I was photographing another demo and when I looked back at his tree most of it was removed, only leaving an interesting low branch. He worked very hard stripping and carving the dead wood and created the living branches into a triangular silhouette at the end.
Robert Steven, also from Indonesia worked on a large size Dwarf black olive. It was from a cutting originally given to him from Pedro Morales from Puerto Rico. He explained in detail how he shapes a bonsai and decides on the front at the end. When completed he added a few rocks to the composition.
Pedro Morales came from Puerto Rico with his son, Joel, for an assistant. He got the Dwarf ixora with trunk movement and many branches. From certain angles the bonsai looks like a single trunk tree, however he kept both trunks because of their movement.
Jun llaga traveled from the Philippines to show his design and techniques for creating a forest landscape bonsai. He had many plants to work with but at the end only two well formed trees were used. A large shallow bonsai container was used emphasizing negative space.
Group photo during a tour. I did not climb up to the beautiful temple in the background because I could not find the elevator.
Outdoor bonsai exhibit area
OuOne evening everyone was invited to wear their country’s native costume. I had a hard time trying to figure out what that would be for the United States, but came up with one which was popular. Pedro came as a pirate.
Here is view of Robert’s “peep show” exhibit featuring hotel do not disturb door signs with holes between
Again, it must be mentioned that the International Bonsai Art & Culture Biennial 2014 was a most unusual event, which highlighted the creativity of artists using bonsai. The exhibition, demonstrations and warm hospitality made for a most successful event which will hopefully elevate bonsai as an art form and present bonsai display in a creative light. I look forward to their next convention in 2016.
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