Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tuesday: Kunio Kobayashi: Proper Formal Bonsai Displays

Today was much more relaxing than the last 4! Spent the day going over the finest details of setting up a formal Japanese Bonsai display.
Mr. Kobayashi went over the history of the Keido School of Display, so we had a proper understanding of how these things evolved. Mr. Katayama, who started the school, had Mr. Kobayashi and Mr. Sudo as his final best students, and wrote a set of 3 books on proper displays just before he died.
Mr. Kobayashi has continued advanced studies on this fine art, and is now still just starting to understand some of the finer details his teacher gave to him.
We covered scrolls, their making and composition, and what the differences between 'formal', 'semi-formal', and 'informal'. These classifications apply to virtually everything in the display, so control how things are combined and presented.
We learned about accents, and how they can act as a 'stop' to the flow of energy presented by the bonsai being displayed.
Mr. Kobayashi covered display stands, and how they can add to, or detract from a nice tree-pot combo. Size, height, color, etc. all play their parts.
We discussed seasons and geography, which must be considered when putting the display together.

The objective of the display is to make the viewer 'see' what the artist sees, so the viewer can envision streams in lowlands, or high mountains, with birds soaring, winds blowing, and powerful aged pines clinging to life on a narrow rock outcropping.
Mr. Kobayashi put together a wonderful winter display...when he was finished, I actually felt a bit of a shiver go up my spine!

We had lunch, and in the afternoon formed groups to apply the rules Mr. Kobayashi had given us. We used Bill Valavanis' personal bonsai, stands, scrolls, and accents to set up displays for our groups. These were in turn judged by Mr. Kobayashi, and so we received good feedback on what we had done.
Of course, Bill got his trees cleaned up by each group, as one of the 1st things to do before a display.

Finished up around 4:30 PM, and each person received a Certificate from Mr. Kobayashi.

This wonderful bonsai master is a kind gentle spirit who exemplifies the spirit of Bonsai, and I personally have been changed for the better by having met and studied under him.


...and Bill DID allow me to take "a few" personal shots of the show. In particular I was interested in the accents, which I mentioned were spectacular.
The photo album he publishes will be available in the November timeframe.

Tree Quality:
I had the pleasure of visiting the Ginkgo Festival in Belgium in 2005, which was the 5th of the series. In looking at "The Best of Bonsai in Europe", starting from 1 and going forward, the trees got much better each successive show. By the 5th they were, in some cases, real mind-blowers!

Looked over the 1st album from the 1st US Exhibition 2 years ago, and the trees this year are following the same trend as Ginkgo did, so perhaps the US bonsai community is starting to realize that we too can build some impressive trees!

1 comment:

  1. Flex,

    I noticed photos of the displays. I thought they were not allowed. Did you sneak a couple of shots in?? :-) Your display looks great.

    Question. Your tree seems to be leaning in toward the scroll and accent plant. Shouldn't it be leaning away??? Just a question of asthetics and why you did what you did.