The 2015 Mid-America Bonsai Alliance Convention (MABA) was held on July 10-12, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The event was hosted by members of the Indianapolis Bonsai Cub held at the Clarion Waterfront Hotel & Conference Center.
The exhibit was GREAT! There were 90 displays featuring 150 trees. Not too many exhibits have 150 trees, all in one room. The layout was quite good, but two of the aisles were a bit close to each other, but allowed people to pass while enjoying the beauty of the bonsai. Nobody seemed to complain because they were too busy studying the bonsai and how they were displayed. I was particularly impressed by most of the displays. Extra care was given to preparing the trees for formal display. The containers were clean; display tables polished and each bonsai had a companion planting. There were a great number of fine quality bonsai displayed. There were quite a number of shohin bonsai compositions too.
Of course there were lecture/demonstrations and workshops as well as a large sales area, but for me, the exhibit was quite outstanding. Many people who have visited other exhibitions also commented on the quality of bonsai.
Suthin Sukosolvisit, the featured artist for the convention spent some time judging all the bonsai in the display. It took considerable time and effort since there were so many excellent bonsai. After judging early in the morning he attended my seminar on bonsai evaluation. He needed to leave at 11am to conduct an hour exhibit critique. Then from 1 to 2 pm he had another critique, which was followed by his workshop from 2 to 5 pm. From 7 to 10 pm Suthin presented a lecture/demonstration with a large size Blue moss cypress, but it ended up considerably smaller in size. He had a busy day, but I’m sure he enjoyed it as much as his students.
Best Deciduous Bonsai by Barbara Bogan
Best Evergreen Bonsai by Carl Wooldridge
Best Native Bonsai by Neil Delinger
Award of Merit by Wm. N. Valavanis
Best Shohin Bonsai Composition by Mel Goldstein
Best of Show by Wm. N. Valavanis
The convention also kept me busy on Saturday beginning at 9am to 12pm conducting a seminar on how bonsai evaluation. After an hour lunch I lead a one hour critique through the exhibit. From 2 to 5pm I taught my bonsai display seminar. After covering the theory, principles and techniques of bonsai display, participants split into three groups for creating a display. We all went into the exhibit and each of the three groups could freely take any bonsai, display table and companion planting to create their own composition. They brought all the material into the seminar room where they created some distinctive bonsai displays. I brought several companion plantings, flat slabs and a few scrolls which they could also use. Three beautiful displays were created and the entire group discussed each of them.
That was a long day for me, teaching from 9am to 5pm with only an hour for lunch and three McDonalds sweet teas, but I got through it and had fun. Several of the students also participated in all three of my programs as well, but they did not have or need the McDonalds sweet teas. Congratulations to the Indianapolis Bonsai Club for hosting another successful convention and to the Mid-America Bonsai Alliance for sponsoring the event for their members and guests from around the country. I look forward to the next MABA Convention.