Only five days left before I go to Japan again. Looking forward to revisit some places, and see lots of new things. Some articles for Bonsai Focus are planned, as well as some video shooting too. Plenty of pictures will be on the camera when I go home, shared with you here and at the main website (www.shohin-europe.com).
It is always a pleasure to see bonsai as it should be, and no were else so far, I have experienced the aesthetic and quality like in Japan. That is my inspiration for my work, and I hope to improve bit by bit. Having too little time for bonsai the last three years I hope to better able to care and work with my trees as i have since this spring. it is scaring evident when I have not been able to us the time needed to work and care for my trees for that period due to moving two times i.e.
Below a relaxed picture from the last trip…
I guess these pictures (facebook picture album) and the video from the exhibition is from Italian Aurelio De Capitani personal collection? No matter what, these are some of the first really beautiful high quality shohin I have seen from Italy. Clearly great material imported from Japan, most of them in the classical style with quality pots provided. Very well set up in all displays, adding great inspiration to all of us.
Due to copyrights I will not copy paste pictures here, but let you go to the album via the above link. Here is the video of the exhibition shared by Aurelio on Youtube.
Me and Tomohiro in my garden.
Spending 5 days with Japanese Shohin bonsai expert Tomohiro Masumi did make a difference to me. Tomohiro was invited to the Danish Bonsai Society 30th anniversary exhibition as workshop leader and making lectures.
I had the opportunity to have some long and joyful talks about shohin-bonsai, and got a lot of new things to absorb. Movement was maybe one of the most important issues to learn. We may have a tendency to make too straight upward trees lacking movement and tension. Because many of our landscape trees looks like that. And because we maybe do not develop our basic material like the Japanese do. We have to prepare it better and to look for more dramatic and interesting curves when searching for material useful for shohin-bonsai. I have I now know
The climatic differences also is an issue I think. In Japan the summers are warmer, the seasons longer, humidity much higher, than here. This gives the opportunity of stronger growth, and here we will wait more seasons to develop the same volume in a tree. The advantage to my side, is that the tree will not overgrow the pot as easily as in Japan. Something has to be good living a little colder in shorter warm seasons.
Tomohiro also noticed the pots here often have thicker clay walls than the thinner Japanese pots. this could be an issue in a hot climate, where the thicker pot will be less able to cool the roots than thinner pots. But in the northern hemisphere this may not be an issue I believe. But a point to observe though.
Full of inspiration that I still have to consume, I happily look forward to the rest of the growing season. Already carrying a few tasks out recommended by Tomohiro Masumi. Thanks for the input.
Bonsai fashion shifts from time to time. Sometimes it changes due to new taste and influences by leading artists. Some time out of need. The later is the case with coloured pots for shohin-bonsai. Shohin-bonsai has been developed the past 40 to 50 years in Japan, and now some trees are outgrowing their containers. This affects the availability to use old pots with patina and age visible, suiting aged trees. Therefore newly produced pots have to be used out of necessity.
These newly produced pots have stronger colours than older pots exposed to sun and rain over some years. Therefore they are much shinier and colourful than aged pots. Out of this has come a fashion in the shohin-bonsai world, because people actually started to like the more expressive colours in the displays. Pots with stronger colours are therefore available too today.
Yellow, red and purple pots with stronger fresh colours are used in the displays, and will be even more in future. Out of need of trees growing to big for their containers, and due to shifting taste. The old patina aged pots will surely not be forgotten, but still used aside new pots. But more colourful displays with shohin is surely to be seen much more. This makes it easier for us westerners with a short bonsai history still lacking antique or just aged pots with patina.
These pots with stronger colours are used for deciduous trees with or without flowers or fruits, with a lighter appearance than than conifers.
Recently I bought two new pots with colours for shohin. First shown below is the 30 year anniversary pot by Walsall Studio Ceramics, made to celebrate the Danish Bonsai Society. Next a Tokay-Koyo pot and a yellow pot shown at an earlier post too, made by Kouyou.
Walsall Studio Ceramics, UK.
Landscape and patterns
Finally another pot fashion on its way in Japan. Pots with landscapes or other drawing and patterns, are highly on their way on to the shohin scene. Below an example send to me very kindly by Mark Cooper from the UK. Mark is a leading shohin-bonsai artist, gaining several prizes together with his wife Rita, that also have a great interest in pots for shohin.
Dan Barton, UK. Photo: Mark Cooper/Dan Barton.