Looking for lunch at the Xizhou Park, location for the Hwa Fong National Bonsai Exhibition, we came across the BCI Viewing Stone Exhibit in a large building. This enue was full of viewing stones, and a few Suiseki as well. Nearly all were rare stones (chin seki) or beautiful stones (bi seki). These two classifications of viewing stones are quite popular in Taiwan and China, whereas the art of suiseki developed in Japan.
The rare and beautiful stones are quite different than suiseki because they leave little to the immigration. Many are highly polished to expose colors and patterns, while others are quite literal representions of objects and humans.
Twenty-five demonstrators from 20 countries were also highlights of the convention, but were held in three different locations and there were two or three demos on stage at the same time. It was impossible to watch them all. I was only able to peak in on a few while I was photographing the exhibit.
Min-Shuan Lo provided me an excellent Japanese black pine for my demo tree and warned me not to remove a prominent crossing root because of the tree’s health. He also provided me with one of his best students as an assistant. I carefully watched him needle pluck the old foliage and thin out the multiple buds on the branch tips and was impressed with his speed and skill. Then came wiring…. I always bring my own tools and wire for demos, especially in foreign countries. This time I brought the new American Bonsai tools which have been using and like and introduced them to the audience from the world. Copper wire is not available in Taiwan and my assistant has only used sissy wire and is not familiar with power and holding capacity of fire annealed copper wire. I gave him a heavy piece of wire and had him bend it several times. He noticed it got harder when bent. I proceed to wire and position the heavy branches and left the secondary branch wiring up to him. When I glanced to look at him I saw him straighten out soft copper wire, then coil it back up into much smaller coils. The bonsai came out great, however.
I’m saving the best for the last post, bonsai from the 22nd Hwa-Fong National Bonsai Exhibition!