Welcome to the Saruyama Blog, intermittent and generally off topic. Occasionally you might see some trees...and weird ones at that.

Monday 22 March 2010

The Joy of Bonsai and the Unjoy of Van Keys

The Joy of Bonsai and the Unjoy of Van Keys

long but enjoyable weekend was had down in Bath, it has been a long time coming, but it was well worth it. Sales went better than expected, mainly due to a beautiful blackthorn and a superb assistant in the shape of our lass. It was my first show proper in the UK and I tried to bring my own feel to both the table and the demo that I did.

I did a repotting/rootgrafting demo on the Sunday...one tree, the air layered trident I have worked on for ages went very well, many good questions and interested viewers so I was pleased with that. The second tree I did, an air layered zelkova was a disaster...half the trunk was dead so grafting was not an option. Such is life I guess. Should have checked before hand. Still, I wanted to do something a bit different rather than just wire and style a tree and that I did.

The show itself was interesting, many familiar trees and some not so. The innovations exhibition was having its first outing and Simon Temblett did a good job of finding some different ideas and new ways of displaying Bonsai. I was invited to do something which I did, not many people actually thought it was part of the innovations show, I guess it was not radical enough for people. I just suppose that I am not one for rocking the boat...still, it pleased me and the wife so thats all that matters.

The brief was to display something different and relevant to you. I sat and looked at that which is available to me and at the things I hold dear. How is it possible to mix classical Japanese aesthetic priciples with something intrinsically English? How is it possible to represent the coming season? What I came up with is a Sakura (Cherry) in a 300 year old beautifully patinated Shirokochi White glazed pot, displayed on a black laquered Shin-nuri board with the accompanying item an old Yorkshire cricket ball which has travelled around the world with me as a reminder of home.

To obtain the correct timing for the flowers to open mid show was particularly fun. I had it hidden in the dark and cold, checking every day and worrying until just before the show when it was carefully packed in the van and it then spent the night in the hotel room with us to swell those buds to bursting point. They held off until it was time to go on show adn the first flowers began to open just after lunch on the Saturday.

The other highlight of the show for me was the appearance of a tree that I sold last summer to a good friend of mine who has looked after it better than I ever could. One of the most beautiful trees I have seen in the UK and in full bloom.

The only downer on the whole weekend was the Unjoy of snapping my van key in two at a service station on the way home. I didnt even think it was possible but apparently it is. I would like to think it was my Hulk like strength. Many thanks to the bloke who drove out and sorted us out at 8pm on a Sunday night.

More updates later, I have a week or so of sitting in front of the computer so I shall blog a little if I can.

Wednesday 3 March 2010

Back in the UK...

Well that was a very long and busy month. I was on TV twice in two days, Kokufu came and went with a blur of sales and snow and I made it back eventually with bags and contents eventually intact. More on that later when I get things downloaded and sorted.

First job back was the thoroughly enjoyable BSA Shohin show up at Willowbog. Second time for me this year and it was yet again a pleasure. I demonstrated and judged the show along with the inimitable Marco Invernizzi, a man who never ceases to amaze me. As promised, my little Rose made it to the ball. I found a pot suitable for it and the season. It is a Taisho period (1920's) Japanese pot. Size wise it was perfect and the colours were subtle enough to work. I displayed it on a delicate modern stand made from mulberry wood. and used a simple picture of a Bush warbler sat on a Ume branch. The accent was a small planting sat on top of an arrangement of small wooden gears. I picked those up at the Kokufu sales area and was thoroughly pleased with myself. Whilst walking back to our sales area, a professional whose eye and taste I respect noticed me holding them and told me that he often used them in the past. Taimi-san, this one is for you.

The reason for such a minimal display is that I wanted to show that something delicate and not worked could have character and presence. I also wanted to show that there are alternative, dare I say "innovative" ways of displaying Shohin Bonsai, we are not limited to the tried and tested Tana-Kazari method.

Anyway, must get off to bed. Its 3.43 am