Ask the Judges

Tachigi

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This thread is titled ask the judges not rip them a new one. :D

So with that in mind feel free to post any inquires you may have regarding the wisteria and pot contest.

Have fun Ian and Flex
 
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Ok, here goes:

Would you like to explain your own thoughts about a traditional vs. "contemporary" approach regarding the tree in question (in other words, what's are your personal preferences)? What defines a "contemporary" or modern pot in your eyes?
 

Rick Moquin

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I would like to be a little more thorough, for educational purposes vice argumentative objectives.

I would like if you may, release your thoughts on the entries not too dissimilar to the NA vs Europe contest that took place some time ago.
 
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Bonsai Nut

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Because in all honesty, I believe as perhaps others who have participated, find the winning combination well, a little hard to swallow.
What is hard to swallow about someone's opinion?

Seriously folks - we all knew this contest was going to be subjective. I am more interested in hearing people's opinions and their thoughts processes than in trying to prove one opinion "right" or "wrong". Please keep the discussion civil. It was a contest with no cost to enter and a possible gain at the end, so people have no reason to be upset.
 

Rick Moquin

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OK Greg, maybe too hard to swallow was too strong a statement and I therefore retract it.

Personally I entered the contest out of curiosity for the results than for personal gain. However if this can be an educational tool to the forum, then how the decision were arrived at would benefit all, and if not, I'm not going to loose sleep over it.

I need to find me a horse...;)
 

fwhou

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European vs North American

I would like to be a little more thorough, for educational purposes vice argumentative objectives.

I would like if you may, release your thoughts on the entries not too dissimilar to the NA vs Europe contest that took place some time ago.
Rick...I have been (once) to the Ginkgo Festival, so have touched, tasted and smelled the top European bonsai (not the artists!).
Been around a lot of East Coast bonsai folk (Chase Rosade, Howard McNeal, Jim Doyle & others) and several Left Coast artists (Kathy Shaner, Dave DeGroot, Peter Adams, Kenji Miyata, & others).
In my humble opinion, the Europeans, through the efforts of Danny Use, have reached to better their trees, and have mightily succeeded. One only needs to look at the (5) previous Best of Bonsai Europe books to see the major changes taking place, in only 2-year stretches per book.
I will not say that this might be due to the availability of wonderful mountain yamadori (which I saw plenty of in the back of Danny's nursery), because we have some mighty nice stuff right here in the good ole USA. The problem we have here is it ain't just down the road and up the mountain...it's a week off, and at least 300 miles of travel....

But I'm getting off track....

The European artists have a fire in their collective guts, and it shows in their art and trees...I don't get the same sense here in the US, except in a very few places.
My bottom line is, after visiting Ginkgo, I completely reset where my personal definition of quality is, and have been much more focussed on refining and improving my trees. The thing that drives me is the question: Would this be accepted into the Ginkgo competition?
The answer also drives whether I put any attention into any non-refined raw material, so I do not waste my time on stuff which will NEVER be "good bonsai"

With all this said, I asked myself the same question when reviewing each tree / pot entry. I also asked another question of myself: would I add this to my own collection?

Would you?
Flex
 

Rick Moquin

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Now that is a political answer, and not one that I expected so I guess we will just kill this subject.
 

fwhou

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Modern Pots....

Ok, here goes:

Would you like to explain your own thoughts about a traditional vs. "contemporary" approach regarding the tree in question (in other words, what's are your personal preferences)? What defines a "contemporary" or modern pot in your eyes?
I don't understand contemporary, or modern...I was born in South Jersey!

My eye is guided by color and shape combos. Verts help, and Tom will attest to the fact I do lots of verts, to see what combo brings out the "best" in a tree.
I believe each tree has a buried personality which a sensitive artist can bring out for us mortals to admire. Some are better at this than others. Part of the process is understanding just that..what does one person see in a combo which is so charming, fascinating, or whatever, while others look at it and yawn? I don't know how to quantify this except to observe that perhaps each has his / her own expectation, based on something personal.
I know when I sit down with my bonsai boyz (4MAAT) we each see different things in our trees that the others may not...this is one reason why I so enjoy studying with that bunch...different points of view! It helps to give me a different appreciation of my trees, based on their appreciation. I believe this ultimately helps me bring out a better tree.......

For pots in verts I like to browse thru various potters...Horst, Albright, Erin, Walsall, Tokoname, China Mist, and others. I have a huge collection of pot pix from which to draw ideas, and this also helps me to either design or select a pot for the coming spring. It's exciting to me when Tom gets in an Erin pot I designed, and Jann or Taylor says "how come Flex always gets the best pot?"
Of course, it's for my best tree.....

Flex
 

ianb

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Ok, here goes:

Would you like to explain your own thoughts about a traditional vs. "contemporary" approach regarding the tree in question (in other words, what's are your personal preferences)? What defines a "contemporary" or modern pot in your eyes?
Well I'll try to explain some of my thoughts on the judging of these tree/pot combinations and my own personal preferences which do tend (Flex & Tom can chip in here) to the more traditional or classical. Then bearing in mind the material is Wisteria which is really only going to shine during the flowering period (in summer the tree will be a mass of green, in winter the coarse ramification detract from the presentation).

Again the judging criteria was stated as size, shape, colour and overall feel. Lets discuss these in detail:

Size: Consideration of the correct size of pot for this tree cannot be made without considering the tree species and its horticultural requirements, I think Attila covered this well in the thread, sufficient depth is very important. Of course the pot can be too deep (in fact I think #3 was a little). Overall #14 & 15 and similar were best for size, with #7 & 10 being too narrow and #6 & 17 too wide.

Shape: This is a very informal tree and so is best suited to rounded pots, with it also being a flowering tree flower shaped pots are also suitable (#3, 5).

Colour: Here is where my traditional preferences come in to play a little more as the pot colour should be chosen to match the flower colour. With typical flower colour of pale purple/blue the complementary colors are blue and contrasting is yellow. The blue of #3 is actually a little too light for my taste with #6 and 15 being better. On the yellow side #2 is too dark.

Overall feel: This is very subjective and will be very much dependent on personal preference and background, as I said I do tend to the more traditional and for flowering trees especially this one I would avoid the more rustic pots (#8, 9, 10).

My overall winner was #15 by a very small margin (I think the rim on this pot could be smaller and less distracting).

I hope this help explain some of my scoring and gets the wheels turning out there, if you have any questions ask away.

Cheers
Ian
 

fwhou

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re Thanks.....

Thanks to both of you!
Our pleasure....the contest was fun, the entries were all interesting to consider, and it was clear a lot of thought and work was put into building the entries.
I think the entrants had fun "fantasizing" on what their tree would / could be.

You know from working your own trees that knowledge and skills are never gained in a vacuum, so interaction with other like-minded folks can be a great source of information.
The contest provided me with just such information, so will help me view tree / pot combos in a wider context.

Thanks to all who participated, we certainly enjoyed your trees!
Flex / 4MAAT
 

Dale Cochoy

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Ian,
Thank you for your response here. I think your response was actually what the readers were after, at least, it was for me. I was curious as to the thought process on these specific choices. Thank you for the peek into your thoughts on your scoring of the pot/tree/virtual entries.
Dale
 

ianb

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No problem Dale, it was a pleasure doing this and it did open my eyes a little to the more contemporary style pots which is always a good thing.

I don't think I explained my scoring, basically every entry started off with 10 points in each category then points were subtracted for negative attributes depending on how far away from the ideal they were.

Cheers
Ian
 

Dstar

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Ask The Judges - My 2 Cents

Hello all. This is Rich, one of the other judges and 4MAAT member.

Thanks to all that participated in this little contest. I must say it was eye opening for me on several levels, especially seeing the difference in POV expressed by my colleagues whom I have known and studied with for years.

In short, my approach to scoring was based on the same principles that Ian expressed in a earlier post. Where I differ is that I tend to be a little less traditional than Ian when considering the need to have flower and pot color match. I also tend to give attention to an uncommon matching of pot and tree (with flowing species). So it was interesting that after I scored each tree separately and awarded points independently for size, shape, color and "feel" what I discovered.

Bottom line, my top three picks were 15, 11, & 3. To me, 15, just flowed. It expressed traditional qualities, beauty, dynamicism (is that a word?) and sophistication. It, for me, was simply a great fit when considering all the critieria. Number 11 was unique and, while unusual, it worked for me. The color and texture were its strongest qualities. I was surprised that my assessment ranked number 3 as high as it did. Number 3 possesses all the qualities of a classic match between flowering tree and pot. It is an elegant match. Yet, to my way of thinking, I ended up scoring it a little lower than the others because it was so perfectly classical. My biggest issue with the classical fit is that somehow, in this instance, the match is too "static" when compared to 15. I could not deny the fact however, that the matching works. Everyone did such a great job.

Congrats to all and thank you for the opportunity.
Rich
 

Dale Cochoy

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Thanks Rich,
and Ian again.
I figured that your method of scoring was as you described Ian. I was just curious about your thought process. Very good answers to my question Rich and Ian.
Dale
 

Dale Cochoy

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Ok, It's been a few days now and I guess an answer from Flex is not forthcoming.

I admit that I am still a bit perplexed at Flex's scoring of this contest ?

In the two posts by skirting around it he mentions he's been to Ginkgo, 'been around' a list of USA teachers, asks himself if he would want a tree in his own collection or if it would be accepted to Ginkgo, gave a list of potters he respects and mentions that he designs pots for Erin to build for him ( evidently)

But still, no insight into his voting methods or criteria used.

Now, I realize that every bonsai or pottery competition I've ever been in is usually very subjective in it's particular scoring. I also realize that this was a FREE contest with a pot as the winning prize. No biggie, just a friendly contest. Although I promised myself a few years ago that I would never again enter a major "USA judged" competition I broke my own rule and entered this small, free and friendly one. But, I think the readers, especially those that voted for their favorites, are owed a brief explanation of the judges criteria for his scores. Ian and Rich did this very well and I thank them.

But, I am still confused how the tree/pot combo that WON THE "PEOPLES CHOICE" AWARD by several votes, and got THE HIGHEST SCORE given out by Rich in the contest, and got THE HIGHEST SCORE given out by Ian in the contest managed to get the NEXT TO LOWEST score given out by Flex? ( to be exact, it was tied for the next to lowest score) causing it to lose by about 2/10ths of a point!

Now, I certainly didn't expect to compete in a computer 'virtualizing' contest, thats why I asked the question about it going in AND why I then enlisted Emil and his fine computer talents to do the virtuals of the pots I chose to send him for my two choices. and, at the onset I told him I would give him anything he/I might win. Which I did with the Peoples Choice Award. Picking a good pot was easy, doing the virtual much tougher and time consuming! and, picking the correct pot for the tree offered WAS the goal of the exercise.

But, I'm still in need of 'closure' on this event or I'm afraid I'll continue to lose sleep for months and months on end! :confused: :( and my lack of sleep keeps making me worry about and ponder things like " Is the Olympic Figure Skating Committee still looking for judges?":)

Also, thanks again Tom for your generous competition prize offerings.

Regards,
Dale
 
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fwhou

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Wisteria Pot / Tree Scoring Methodology

Ok, It's been a few days now and I guess an answer from Flex is not forthcoming.

I admit that I am still a bit perplexed at Flex's scoring of this contest ?

But still, no insight into his voting methods or criteria used.

But, I'm still in need of 'closure' on this event or I'm afraid I'll continue to lose sleep for months and months on end! :confused: :( and my lack of sleep keeps making me worry about and ponder things like " Is the Olympic Figure Skating Committee still looking for judges?":)

Also, thanks again Tom for your generous competition prize offerings.

Regards,
Dale
Dale...Sorry I haven't written on this forum to everyones' satisfaction. I generally don't get on forums, and lately I have been very turned off by the petty bickering between "Senior Members".

In any case, my scores were based on the following:
1. I like to see flowering trees in pots which complement the tree in bloom, not competing with it. A viewer should see a unified composition, in which neither the tree nor the pot overwhelms the other;
2. The very chunky base of the wisteria, and the outflowing branches (to the left) seemed to me to be asking for a larger pot, not a smaller one. Some of the entries looked extremely crowded in their pots. Pots 4,7,10,12 seemed way too small for me. One feature I was hoping the entrants would bring out when mounting tree into pot was the wonderful negative space under the bottom left branch. Several entrants (5,6,9,17) had wider pots which really helped to bring this out.
3. Color is a very subjective thing. If one uses the color wheel concept, then match-up of pot color with blossom color is easy. However, pick the wrong color and it sticks out like a sour note in a symphony! In entries 1, 2 the pot color seemed too bright, while entries 5,6,16 and 17 had pleasing tree / pot color combos.
4. Pot shape can draw the eye to tree features, or pull it away. A very ornate pot can be used effectively with a somewhat "plain" tree, while a wild old gnarled trunk demands a stable almost feature-less pot, to "hold it down". Also, a blooming tree is normally considered feminine, so asks for a feminine shape in its' pot. This type of pot would have smooth rounded curves, sometimes ornate, sometimes plain. Entries 3,5,16, and 17 seemed to possess these qualities.

These are the ideas I drew upon while viewing the entries. I hope this clears up any misconceptions or questions.
Flex
 

Dale Cochoy

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"These are the ideas I drew upon while viewing the entries. I hope this clears up any misconceptions or questions.
Flex"


Weeellllll, thank you for explaining your voting criteria for everything but pot #15 ????
You still didn't explain the vast scoring difference in #15 between your votes and the high number of 'Peoples Choice' votes of others and the highest votes given out by your fellow judges. In fact, I gotta say, you danced around it pretty good? Help Me Flex, I'm trying to understand why, for you, that pot didn't fit that wistera SO BADLY!! when it did for so many who voted? 4.25 points out of 10 is REALLY a bad scoring for something that did so well otherwise.
You seem to place extraordinary focus on the color wheel. It's CERTAINLY not the be-all-to-end-all for pot/tree matching. I find it much more useful in the painting artists world than in the bonsai world where there are SO MANY other aspects to include.

"4. Pot shape can draw the eye to tree features, or pull it away. A very ornate pot can be used effectively with a somewhat "plain" tree, while a wild old gnarled trunk demands a stable almost feature-less pot, to "hold it down". Also, a blooming tree is normally considered feminine, so asks for a feminine shape in its' pot. This type of pot would have smooth rounded curves, sometimes ornate, sometimes plain."

I'm kinda confused by this statement #4. Are you considering this tree "old knarly trunked" needing a featureless pot "to hold it down" ? or a feminine tree that may or may not want a more ornate pot?
Regards,
Dale
 
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4. Pot shape can draw the eye to tree features, or pull it away. A very ornate pot can be used effectively with a somewhat "plain" tree, while a wild old gnarled trunk demands a stable almost feature-less pot, to "hold it down". Also, a blooming tree is normally considered feminine, so asks for a feminine shape in its' pot. This type of pot would have smooth rounded curves, sometimes ornate, sometimes plain. Entries 3,5,16, and 17 seemed to possess these qualities.


Flex

I feel obligated to disagree with you incase any unknowing soul gets misled by your opinion. It's ok to speak in generalities when one is a complete noob. But your comment lacks the sophistication you try to imply having based on your laundry list of people you have such an apparent intimate acquaintance with. I rarely see an ornate pot with a "plain" tree that looks anything short of attempting to put lipstick on a pig. One has to be incredibly particular when choosing to use a ornate pot that it truly speaks to the soul of the tree. I will state that #15 accomplished that goal with great success. This tree is like a beautiful elegant old woman... to put her in a plain pot doesn't hold her down... it's like putting a supermodel in a potatoe sack. Your comments are more appropriate (should someone choose to limit their creativity) for a novice approaching a pot choice with a conifer than anything. But I suppose it gives you a way to quantify your choice.



Dale... you are without a doubt the winner of this contest in the minds of everyone, save one. No disrespect to Mr. Bill... he's put in his time and has the respect he deserves. But in this case, he was outdone... and there's nothing wrong with that... except for the fact that apparently that didn't matter.

Tom... my dear friend... I think holding the contest was a marvelous thing to do... It tends to be a good deal of fun for all. I would recommend for the unquestionable integrity of any further contests, that you keep secret from the public and especially your own judges, the identity of the participants.

Lastly... I would like offer Emil the chance to order a custom pot from Dale. In order to honor the fact that the choice of everyone save one... should have a prize worthy of that fact.


Kindest regards,


Victrinia
 
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