Carpinus shohin display

Hans Vleugels

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I would like to share a Carpinus coreanum shohin display with all of you. Please let me know what you all think of it. Any suggestions to improve it are of course very welcome.

Tree: Carpinus coreanum, height: 17 cm / 6.7 inch.

Pot: Yixing

Accent planting: Moss in a small handmade pot.

Scroll by Paul Goff

Display stand by Jim Thoman

Regards from Belgium,
Hans
 

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Bonsai Nut

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I like the individual elements very much. I think the combination doesn't work as well as it could:

1) The stand is out of scale to the display. It represents half of the visual weight of the entire display, and overwhelms the tree and the accent plant. I would consider removing the stand and replacing it with a tatami mat. (Something light colored to contrast with the tree and accent plant pots).

2) The hornbeam is well on its way to being a great tree, but right now shows too much of a former trunk chop. I would not show this tree without foilage for several years, until the ramification is more developed. With foilage, I think the apex would be hidden and the tree would look much better.

3) I think the wall hanging is a little small for the tree and the accent, though this would be improved by moving to a tatami mat.

Thank you for sharing!
 

Hans Vleugels

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I like the individual elements very much. I think the combination doesn't work as well as it could:

1) The stand is out of scale to the display. It represents half of the visual weight of the entire display, and overwhelms the tree and the accent plant. I would consider removing the stand and replacing it with a tatami mat. (Something light colored to contrast with the tree and accent plant pots).
Think you are right about that. Maybe I should take a picture from further away, giving it some more space? Or is it just the stand that isn't right?

2) The hornbeam is well on its way to being a great tree, but right now shows too much of a former trunk chop. I would not show this tree without foilage for several years, until the ramification is more developed. With foilage, I think the apex would be hidden and the tree would look much better.
Right again, but I meant to show a spring display, and I don't have anything else (deciduous) for the moment. :eek: I will make another picture when the tree has foliage..

Thank you for sharing!
You're welcome!

Displaying bonsai like this is a bit new to me, and it's harder than I thought.. :(

Best regards,
Hans
 

wahoo172

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display

I agree with bonsainut, the stand is not right. I think the cantilevered shelf is out of place, makes the tree appear unstable.
 

Rick Moquin

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Displaying bonsai like this is a bit new to me, and it's harder than I thought.. :(

Best regards,
Hans
Yes indeed Hans, displaying bonsai is an art in itself. I have to agree with the rest the stand is inappropriate for this tree and accent combination. You have a nice little sohin on it's way and I can't wait to see it again in the future.
 

jadewtch

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The only comment I would make is that the picture is a bit dark, but otherwise everything looks very nice.

It's work like this that gives me something to strive for. :)

Denise
 

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I changed the display stand. Still too heavy or is this one better..?
Hans - step back from the display for a moment and think through your design objective. You said you wanted to do a "spring" display. What type of spring display? What do you "imagine" when you think of this tree and spring? Is it a meadow down by a stream, with moss just being uncovered from melting snow? Is it a pocket in a mountain cliff, with a hanging vines bursting with flower? You need to have this image in your mind and then create the display accordingly.

In this case, I see this elm as being a "meadow" type of tree. Therefore you want the display to be quiet, peaceful, and understated. You wouldn't, for example, want to display this tree with a suiseki, or with a raised platform - both of which tend (most often) to represent the mountains. Make sure the accent plant really LOOKS like spring; typically you would want something bursting with new growth and/or flowers. Likewise your wall hanging - does it look like spring to you? It seems a little more like fall to me with the orange coloration and the setting sun.

I am just sharing with you the thought process that I go through when setting up a display. I don't focus on "rules" so much as the "art" of communicating an emotional state. Once all of your elements reinforce the same message, the display will "work". The best displays break some of the rules while still being true to their objective - and they are always the ones that win the awards.

As the artist, you should have a reason for everything you put in your display. If you can't explain it, you should remove it.
 

Hans Vleugels

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Bonsainut,

That was very instructive to me. Still have much to learn in the art of displaying.. :eek:

Thanks for sharing your tought process. I will give it another try soon..

Regards,
Hans
 

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Still have much to learn in the art of displaying..
I also have much to learn. There is not much written in English on displaying bonsai. It tends to be very underemphasized because only a small percentage of people ever show their trees, and even a smaller percentage use displays when they DO show them. Most of what I have learned about bonsai displays I have gotten from Japanese sites - more importantly, from interviews or discussions with people who have won display awards. It makes sense when you hear someone explain it, but it is not always obvious when you see a lot of displays at a show.

Many people learn about displays by trying to copy what they see instead of trying to copy what they feel. So they see a display as a series of elements - a bonsai, a silk wall hanging, a plant, a stand, etc - and they try to copy it while changing one or two elements. They might go to a show and see a craggy old pine displayed on a raised platform and try to use the same platform to display a weeping Japanese maple. Or they might have a favorite wall hanging of birds eating berries in the Spring, and they might try to use it with a quince that is heavy with fruit. This will not work.

The best displays are ones where people use unusual elements that still remain consistent. For example, suiseki are most often representative of mountains, but some suiseki can represent flowers, or spring ponds, or ice, etc. Likewise, you can use an accent other than a plant if you know what you are trying to achieve. I saw a Fall display with nuts used once that was very effective and stole the show - it was so different it caused people to stop and ask "why did he use nuts" and then they saw how the entire display tied together.

Thank you for sharing I really enjoy looking at displays. I look forward to your next one :)
 
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Hans,

The accent should be in front of the front edge of the stand the main tree is on, in other words, if one was to draw a straight line along the front edge of the stand the tree is on to the left, the front edge of the accent should be in front of this line. I know that in using a bi-level stand, this is impossible, it might be better if you placed the accent on a slab, mat, or stand of its own to accomplish this. Tradition display is based on Japanese principles, remember the Japanese artists used levels to suggest depth, the closer objects were on the bottom (your accent) the further away abjects were in the middle (your tree) and the furthest away objects were at the top (your scroll). By placing the accent and the tree on the same linear plane, even though one is lower, they visual combine.

Also I think the centered scroll causes some visual problems with this display, try moving it to the right so that the lower branch of the tree just barely touches the edge of the scroll...

The following very poor virtual is for explaining what I meant in placement of the scroll only.

Will
 

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Thanks Rick, not quite, although you did bring the accent toward the viewer, it now teeters on the edge of the stand. With the two stands Hans has shown with this display, it would be difficult to properly show the display traditionally. I imagine that this is why slabs or mats are so often used for accents, not only to lower them, but also to separate them visually from the main tree, creating the three point display.


Will
 

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My opinion when displaying shohin is that scrolls should not be used when useing racks, be they bi-level or other. Scrolls should only be used when showing a tree on an individual stand with an accent on a slab or matt.

Part of the problem with this display all along has been the fact that the tree table is very far forward on a very deep table. The scroll visually is too far back on the wall. The camera picks this up and visually seperates the scroll from the display by pushing the scroll too far back. Try moving the stand back on the table and photograph the image by cropping some of the table. I think this will help to ground the scroll within the composition. I would also like to see a photo of the composition with the stand now farther back on the table and no scroll. Just as a two point.

(display contest Will? soon?)

Regards, Al
 

Hans Vleugels

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Two new attempts..

First one still with the scroll. But let's see what happens without the scroll.

I also decided to add a slate and a couple of deers...

Regards,
Hans
 

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Rick Moquin

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Much better Hans, (without the deer that is). A three point display as discussed is something that takes time and practice. I will allow the better learnt enthusiast comment on the intricacies.
 
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I like the first of the last set of pictures you've posted, this seems very much more visually appealing.

Below is just me playing with the pieces, I hope you do not mind.



Will
 

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Perhaps I am missing something, but the first thing that struck me was that the tree definitely moves to the right. It should be displayed on the left side of the grouping, no?
 
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If you are talking about the second display, I have to disagree with the movement. The tree is communicating with the accent, as it should be...



Will
 
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If you are talking about the second display, I have to disagree with the movement. The tree is communicating with the accent, as it should be...
Will
I'm not sure I understand "communicating with the accent." I'm pretty sure I have never heard that phrase used before. One of the conventions of display is that the movement should be toward the center. The accent should move toward the primary and the primary toward the accent.
 

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