Winter Tokonoma 2014

Happy New Year! For the first post of 2014 I wanted to showcase the current display in our tokonoma.

For this display I wanted to try and use some objects that are not my immediate choices for a winter themed arrangement. This would not only show off more of the Museum’s collection but also challenge me to be more creative with them.

From the start I knew I wanted to use a scroll we have of a white hawk on a pine branch.

IMG_0035

The scroll makes me think of a remote snowy mountain where this white hawk remains vigilant through the falling snow.

The second object I wanted to use is one of my favorite stones at the Museum because of its name. 30,000 Foot White Beard is the name of this figure stone donated by John Naka. The stone’s name comes from a white strip of minerals running down this otherwise black  figure stone which John envisioned as a very long flowing beard.

The white “beard” reinforces the feeling of winter as its shape also reminds me of an hanging icicle or perhaps a frozen waterfall on a distant peak.

IMG_0028

John collected the stone from the Kern River in Northern California and I assume the daiza was made by himself and that he collected it in 1966 as both his name, the year 1966, and the date 10-29-66 appear on the bottom of the daiza.

IMG_0038IMG_0038-001

The biggest challenge I encountered was finding a stand that would work within the display. Like picking a bonsai pot you never have enough options and none are ever perfect. I wanted the stone to be elevated enough to be properly viewed and to further enhance its verticality. I also needed the stand to be limited in it’s width so that stone was not visually lost when placed on it.

The first few stands were more traditional in style but weren’t the right size. I then pulled out a stand that seldom gets used here as it has a very narrow range of objects it would work with. However, once I put the stone on it I knew this was the one. Its size was the closest to what I wanted but more importantly it turned a static display into a story I could imagine.

IMG_0027

Now, the display became more than just a stone on a stand but a white bearded man walking over a bridge among snow covered trees being watched by a white hawk.

Takahashi_Shotei-Bridge_in_the_Snow-009708-09-24-2008-9708-x800

Takahashi Shotei, “Bridge in the Snow” ca. 1910

The addition of a winter grass in a cream colored pot completed the setting as I could hear the cold wind rustling their dried stalks.

IMG_0032

Haiku by Matuso Basho

First snow
Falling
On the half-finished bridge

IMG_0024

Hope you enjoyed the display. Thanks for reading and for accompanying  me for walk in the snow.

js1366b

Hamano, “Evening Snow at Edo River”1932

I am also very excited to say that I will be making my first trip to Japan next week. I will be studying at the historic Daiju-en nursery for 3 weeks in conjunction with the upcoming Kokufu-ten exhibition. I look forward to sharing my experience here and will be also be posting pictures to my Instagram feed @capitalbonsai

Advertisements

Video of John Naka Repotting Goshin

The National Bonsai Foundation in collaboration with the U.S. National Arboretum have digitized several VHS tapes taken over the years here are the Museum. It only seems fitting to have the first be of John Naka re-potting his world famous “Goshin” here at the Museum in 1995. It was filmed by the late Dr. Bill Orsinger, a dedicated museum volunteer who had the foresight to capture this event on tape.

One week at Bonsai Mirai

Earlier this year I had the amazing opportunity to spend a week with Ryan Neil at his bonsai garden just outside Portland, OR.  The week consisted of being surrounded by some of the most awesome native material I’ve ever seen.  Each day was spent in the workshop with Ryan and his French apprentice JP, styling one ancient tree after another.  Here are just a few of the photos from my week.

Day 1: Amazing bonsai and rain, welcome to Portland.010A combination of jet lag and excitment led to this first photo taken at 4 a.m. The workshop was filled with tress with many others on-deck.

008012 A massive California Juniper (right) and Sierra Juniper (left) dominated the workshop. The Sierra Juniper became my main project tree for the week. 011The dead wood on the Ca Juniper was unreal.

Day 2. The Garden

018 019 021022 023 026 027 028 029 036

Day 3: Project tree

033Before we started working on our project tree, Ryan had JP and I  draw three different design options. Ryan’s apprentice, JP is a graphic artist by trade which showed in his sketches.

031 Once we decided on the design, JP began cleaning the dead wood.

047Once the wood had been cleaned, Ryan began setting the major branches in place.049Once the structural branches were set in place I continued wiring the smaller branches. This took the better part of several days.

099I can’t wait to see this tree in a pot.

Day 4: Snow048  This morning I awoke to the garden covered in several inches of snow. I quickly grabbed my camera and got the following pictures.

057This was one of my favorite trees in the garden.

058062060077 079 080082 083 086084I think this was my favorite tree in the garden. I kept coming back to it over and over through out the week. The dead wood curving over the lip of the pot was so cool. It reminded me of Capt. Hook.

085The back of the tree was just as impressive as the front.

Day 5: The Greenhouse

100The greenhouse contained trees that had recently repotted or wired. This tree was very special because it came from John Naka’s collection. Even though I get to work on the 6 Naka trees at the Museum, I still have goosebumps when seeing any tree from the Naka collection.

107It also contained less hardy trees like California Oaks and Redwoods.

103101110

111112113Just a few Redwoods for one gnarly forest planting.

109Ponderosa pine grafted with Japanese Black Pine

108

Watch Ryan’s grafting technique here.

Day 6: Here comes the sun.

119 Sunrise and Da Hood

125  135 136137

Baker

138

Day 7: Photoshoot

At the end of the week it was time to assess all that we got done.

094

sierra juniper 11_005 095  california juniper 06_004050This was another tree I wired during the week.

douglas fir 05_001I want to thank Ryan for his generosity and hospitality in inviting me to his place. I have been to numerous bonsai gardens but Bonsai Mirai is a truly magical place. If your  wanting to take you bonsai skills to the next level, plan a trip to spend a week at Bonsai Mirai.

126

GSBF Collection at the Huntington

Any trip to the Huntington Library should include a visit their renowned bonsai collection. On my recent visit to the Huntington Gardens to see the annual Aiseki Kai exhibit, I made sure to stop by the Golden State Bonsai Federation’s (GSBF) bonsai collection despite a rare cold and rainy day in Southern California.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABonsai Courtyard entrance.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACalifornia Juniper donated by Mas Moriguchi.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACork Oak donated by Tom Chan.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAProstrate Juniper donated Harry Hirao in memory of Alyce Hirao.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJapanese Black Pine donated by Ed Murakami.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJapanese Black Pine from the Toshinori Matsuanga collection donated by Mayumi Shiira.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACork Bark Japanese Black Pine donated by Ayako Tanita.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACalifornia Juniper donated by Ray Blasingame.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACalifornia Juniper donated by Ben Oki in memory of John Naka.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACalifornia Juniper donated by Harry Hirao in memory of Andy Vu.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShimpaku grafted onto California Juniper donated by Tsuruo Takata.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShimpaku Juniper donated by Ayako Tanita.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShinpaku Juniper donated by Dr. Howard Waldman.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOlive donated by Jack Miller

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShimpaku grafted onto California Juniper donated by Mike Shintaku.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABonsai on pedestals in the main courtyard.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASilverberry from the Toshinori Matsuanga collection donated by Mayumi Shiira.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACalifornia Juniper donated by Chuichi Kawahira.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACalifornia Juniper donated by Bob Kinoshita in memory of Bill Southworth.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAItalian Cypress donated by Phil Tacktill.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMontezuma Cypress donated by Brian Jackson.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGinkgo donated by Marty Mann.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShimpaku Juniper donated by Mr. and Mrs. Kageo Ohara.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACitrus donated by Dr. Howard Waldman.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPfitzer Juniper donated by Barbara Ajello.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKorean Hornbeam donated by Howard Waldman.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAViewing stones donated by Harry Hiaro.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANewer expansion of the Bonsai Courtyard.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOlive donated by Joseph Cohn.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHollywood Juniper donated Howard Waldman.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPyracanth donated by John Naka.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPomegranate donated by Kathy Boomsma.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACalifornai Juniper donated by Bob Kinoshita.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShohin display.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACalifornia Juniper donated by Shig Mia.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACalifornai Juniper donated by Frank Goya.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACalifornia Juniper donated by Bob Kinoshita.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJapanese Black Pine.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJapanese Black Pine donated by Junichi Sebata.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACoast Live Oak donated by John Naka.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABald Cypress donated by Dung Cao in memory of Thu Cao.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACalifornia Juniper designed by Masahiko Kimura.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACalifornia Juniper donated Grigsby Catcus Gardens.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJapanese Black Pine donate by Kiyoko Yoneda in memory of Kaz Yoneda.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFoemina Juniper donated by Ben Oki in memory of Robert Moor.