Bonsai, Kusamono and Companion Displays that I like at the Artisans Cup


The Artisans Cup has many powerful and beautiful bonsai. As a visitor, some of them appealed to me more than the others. I enjoyed them all, perhaps some trees related to something I had previously experienced, or the whole composition appealed to me more than just an individual tree.  I like Greg Breden’s Southwestern White Pine, it looks rugged, clinging precariously on a beautiful and rough textured pot. Doug Paul’s Douglas Fir also appealed to me. It has very natural looking shari and twisted live veins, which look very similar to a tree I saw during a hike in a British Colombia mountain. Not sure of the species but could be a Douglas Fir Pondorosa Pine (At the recent Texas State Bonsai Show, Todd Hang of Dallas told me this tree is a pine, more likely a Pondorosa Pine because of the exposed brownish-red border between the shari and live bark. Someone from Canada familiar with plant distribution said it is not a Pondorosa Pine based on the location where this tree was photographed. It is more likely a Lodgepole Pine). Here is the tree I saw in nature:

The shari created by rain, wind, snow and all natural elements. Unsurpassed by any human carving.

This is Doug Paul’s Douglas Fir:

A similar looking shari with flaky slivers, and live barks. The planting in a rock crevice simulates its natural growing environment.

I also like the Japanese Beech shown in my last post. It showed years of work put into it; a very slow process to bring out the branch ramifications of a deciduous tree compared to the much rapid development of foliage pads of conifers by wiring, severe bending and using guy wires.

Here are some of the trees that I like:

Dan Robinson’s Mountain Hemlock in an antique Chinese pot, collected from Canada.
Jim Gremel’s Juniperus chinensis ‘kishu’, grown from a cutting. It has a very classic Japanese moyogi look. Perhaps not a flavor of a show emphasizing “American” bonsai.
This David Crust’s larch planted in an old Hoover vacuum cleaner is very unique, eccentric, and very American. He and Nick Lenz found this cleaner from a dump site, and planted a tall large in it. David described it “foreshadows our future doom under the weight of technology”. Whatever the philosophical thought behind it, it leaves you with your own thinking about this unique display.

Although most trees are accompanied by kusamono or shitakusa, I find these companion displays more interesting.

Twisted dead wood, in perhaps a lace rock, accompanied Dan Robinson’s Mountain Hemlock.
A Herman Hesse journal entry and a compass accompanied a tall lone Hinoki Cypress by Mike Pollock.
Mike Pollock’s Hinoki Cypress in a Ron Lang pot. I like this display as a whole, a lanky lonely tree (not the typical fat trunk tapered bonsai) in a vast expanse of grassland; the journal and compass give more pondering thoughts to the tree.
Native pitcher plants (Sarracenia sp.) by Scott Lee, a very nice kusamono. But I am not sure how it compliments the main tree, a Colorado Blue Spruce.

There were two shohin group displays. They are certainly dwarfed by comparison, and surrounded by the monstrous trees. I like them.

Shohin combinations by Marc Arpag: Japanese White Pine, Chojubai Japanese Quince, Satstuki Azalea ‘Hakurei’, Chinese Juniper ‘Itoigawa’ and Porcelain Berry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata).
An itoigawa shimpaku shohin.
Porcelain Berry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata).
Melvin Goldstein’s shohin group: Japanese White Pine, Chinese Juniper, Trident Maple, Pomegranate, and a Japanese Black Pine in a separate stand.
A Japanese White Pine shohin.
A Chinese Juniper shohin.
A Japanese Black Pine Shohin.

4 thoughts on “Bonsai, Kusamono and Companion Displays that I like at the Artisans Cup

  1. Pingback: Bonsai, Kusamono and Companion Displays that I like at the Artisans Cup | twinsrat bonsai

  2. Great post and good thoughts! 🙂

    I also believe that the pine in your photo’s is a Lodgepole pine (pinus contorta). They can share a very similar bark coloring to ponderosa, and the needles appear exactly as our Lodgepole pines do here in Wyoming. What an incredible tree!

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