Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bonsai Display Critique 2

Kuzuhara Sensei's critique of a display at the Toko Kazari competition held at the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture...The picture on the left is the original display, and the photo on the right is Kuzuhara Sensei's photoshop suggestions to improve the display.
First off, the flow of the main tree and the placement of the display are opposite. In the case of using this main tree, it should be seated on the right hand side of the display, to make it a right to have it become a left flowing display. (Sashoute or Migishoute, I am not sure on the correct reading if it is considered one word or mixes on and kun yomi), because the bonsai's left hand side will create space. A tree that flows to the left should have the pot placed a little more to the right.
But because it was set up to be a display on the left flowing to the right please understand what I will say from this point on. This tree is not yet a finished bonsai, and I have done a virt to show how if it were to be a finished bonsai that was a Hidari Shoute (Flowing to the right) display how I would try to style it.
In the revised picture the pot, and foliage, as well as the table and accent placement provides more balance for the display. Additionally, the picture of the waterfall in the scroll follows the same pattern as the tree and is redundant to the display, and I slightly amended the picture in the scroll to try and minimize this effect.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bonsai Kazari Critique

This critique is provided by Kuzuhara Hiroyuki, a Shihan rank bonsai display specialist. He wrote and sent this in Japanese, and I have translated it. The photos are from the Toko Kazari competition at the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture.

The critique of this display. The original display is on the left and the revised display with Kuzuhara Senseis recommendations is on the right.

This Shohin bonsai display when looking at a first glance seems to acheive unity among all the elements, but there are a few points of mistake in the rules of display.

First off, when displaying a Kengai or Hankengai as the main tree, it is good to use the tall table placed on top of this type of large jiita. However, this tree, with its thin trunk and styling would be considered more of a bunjin styling, and in this case it would be better to not use the table and place the bonsai directly on the jiita. Also, when using this type of large jiita it is a common rule if you are using an accent piece to place the accent in the upper right corner behind the tree.

The second point is that the height of this kusamono is too high.

The third point is that the picture in the scroll works well for this display, but for such a small (shohin size and thin trunk) tree, the scroll is much too big. I have made changes to the display to show how I think this would be an improved display. Please look at the two pictures. For the revision, I have used a Kuzuya, which is the way houses in olden times looked in Japan with the thatched grass roofs.Click image for larger version Name: No4-Shin_No_Shin_Scroll Revised Kuzuhara.jpg Views: 16 Size: 48.4 KB ID: 19352

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bonsai Toko no Ma Display

I have not submitted a post for quite a while because of illness and trying to manage about 7 orders with multiple scrolls. I vended at the Golden State Bonsai Federation convention in Riverside, California. It was a very slow year for me this convention, fortunately holiday orders in other market segments were up significantly. I thought there would be quite a few custom orders, but only one came about in the end, and a few off the shelf sales. However, there was one bright spot, a custom ordered scroll was used in a formal display competition at the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture. It was confirmed in a separate bonsai forum, that the person who commissioned the scroll also set up this display.

This was the 3rd Annual competition. The scroll was brushed in Sousho, full cursive style writing, which is often the preferred style of calligraphy when displaying a bonsai with Calligraphy. My display Sensei explained that the calligraphy does not compete with the tree, compared to the formal strong brush strokes associated with Block Print style writing.

The writing of the scroll says Ka Chou Fuu Getsu. It is four character idiom for the beauties of Nature. The characters are 花 flower, 鳥 bird, 風 wind, and 月 moon. A deeper explanation of the particular design of this scroll is provided here. I love the earth tone cloth selected, and the Gold on Green Ichimonji is a perfect complement to the work. This was the first customer to have a Kokutan (Ebony) Jikusaki onto the scroll, and it sets it apart as very beautiful.

There is one point in particular with the pairing that I love is the final brush stroke of the character moon, seems to complement the branching and trunk of the tree…It makes me feel good to know that some of my large scrolls are now coming to be used with these formal toko no ma bonsai displays.