Even a tiny little show display is a LOT of work!

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Eric and I are pulling together a tree display for a local rock and gem show. The Seattle club is presenting viewing stones, and Bremerton is doing the trees. I have to confess... I now have a HUGE amount of appreciation for what has to go into selecting trees for display and then preparing the pots and grooming out the trees. We'll only have a dozen trees on display from four local artists... (Eric, grouper52, Daniel and I) but it's no small task even so. Mind you, I wasn't given much time to prepare, only a few days... but man, it's a task!

To those of you who have planned this on a large and even more formal scale... my hat is off to you! I'll never look at a display the same way twice. I do confess though... I'm having a lot of fun with it, and am very excited. I'll post photos this weekend if it comes together ok. lol And maybe I'll post even if it doesn't, just as a learning exercise. :cool:

Kindest regards,

Victrinia
 

grouper52

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Vic, you and Eric have done a great deal of work on this on very short notice. I spiffed up 5 trees a bit (one didn't make the cut :( ), and just that alone was a lot of work over several evenings.

I have never had much interest in showing my trees, but did put a few in the county fair exhibit last year at our club's president's request. It was a surprising amount of work, along with a surprisingly amount of worry over the safety of the trees, even though they were in a supposedly secure environment. So I agree, Vic - kudos to anyone with the gumption to put such a thing together.

But . . . . Last year I never had any sense that anyone even paid our display or the trees any attention at all. In realistic terms, do people have any idea whether this is really an effective way to promote the hobby or swell the ranks of serious practitioners/enthusiasts?

I'd be curious to hear people's thoughts on this. I've never been very evangelical about this hobby, and I have very mixed feelings about whether it would even be a good thing if it WAS more popular, but I just wonder if this sort of promotional effort does much actual promotion at all. I certainly hope so, after all the loving effort Vic and Eric are putting into it! :)
 

BUBBAFRGA

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grouper52,

I do beleive displays at public events does help get people involved with the obscession but not to a large degree. Out of 1000 people who see the displays (that are not hook yet) I would guess only one or two will get involved in some form with the hobby.

People just don't realize the amout of time that goes into growing and amount prep goes into dispaling trees.

Francis Wilber
AKA Bubba From Georgia
 

Redwing

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But . . . . Last year I never had any sense that anyone even paid our display or the trees any attention at all. In realistic terms, do people have any idea whether this is really an effective way to promote the hobby or swell the ranks of serious practitioners/enthusiasts?

Why is the aim of display to "promote the hobby and swell the ranks"? Is that painter's aim or a sculptor's aim when she displays her work? To generate more painters, more sculptors?

-rw
 

grouper52

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Why is the aim of display to "promote the hobby and swell the ranks"? Is that painter's aim or a sculptor's aim when she displays her work? To generate more painters, more sculptors?

-rw

Well, it's an interesting question. These sorts of displays are put on by clubs, and info about the club meetings are handed out at them, unlike an art showing. I'm not really familiar with any painter or sculptor clubs - clubs usually form around crafts and hobbies and such. This may lead to the old "Is bonsai an art or a craft?" sort of discussion, which I have little interest in re-hashing. For me personally, it is neither an art nor a craft: it is a hobby. I don't consider myself an "artist", whatever the hell that is.

I have stated here before that I have little interest in promoting the hobby widely - I prefer bonsai to stay a fairly obscure little hobby: good wild material (and even field grown material, to a lesser extent) is finite, and the fewer people demanding it, the more is available for those of us who just can't help ourselves in this addiction. :D
 

Tachigi

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Why is the aim of display to "promote the hobby and swell the ranks"? Is that painter's aim or a sculptor's aim when she displays her work? To generate more painters, more sculptors?

-rw

Misery loves company?

or

perhaps because we are such a small niche group that others think that by swelling the ranks it will be come a credible art, craft, or hobby in the US
 

Bill S

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My Take.

Good point RW, I think the answer is to drag more victims into out realm.:D
The more the merrier principal, more people to pay for workshops the cheaper they are, more dues in the club, it's easier to hire talent for demos and lectures, etc.. If you look at "clubs" in the genre of the Shriners, PAV, Amvets, Moose, Elks, even the Scouts have problems these days having a big enough membership to make these clubs possible, the older generation is phasing out, and the younger crowd for whatever reasons don't participate. We are seeing a lot of these clubs closing down for lack of membership, jeez, even the Catholic Church is having problems, and closing churches left and right in this area. So I guess my answer is if you want to continue with a club, membership "drives" can be important, even so, we gain 1 or 2 new members from our show, and maybe a few mor ethru the year when we do demos for differant organizations.

The drive is to get and keep people involved, it helps in a lot of ways.
I am part of the MABS board, and there is a lot of work for a lot of people to put on a show.

Good for you Vic, Eric, Daniel, and Will. Whats the date for next year????;)
 

Redwing

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Well, it's an interesting question. These sorts of displays are put on by clubs, and info about the club meetings are handed out at them, unlike an art showing. I'm not really familiar with any painter or sculptor clubs - clubs usually form around crafts and hobbies and such. This may lead to the old "Is bonsai an art or a craft?" sort of discussion, which I have little interest in re-hashing. For me personally, it is neither an art nor a craft: it is a hobby. I don't consider myself an "artist", whatever the hell that is.

So maybe for someone like you, a model railroad show is a better analogy than an art showing. I've never been part of a model railroad club, but are those done to bring people into the model railroad fold, or just to give the public something fun to see and make a lot of kids and adults smile?

Bill, Tom: I'm sympathetic to the more-the-merrier principle (yamadori notwithstanding). I'd hate to see my local shop go under, and I'd like to see a US market for the sort of high-end field grown material that is produced in Japan. I just wanted to point out that once we define recruiting as a principal aim of our public events, we are already starting to step away from the idea of a show or a display for its own right. If I were to organize a show (lord forbid), I'd be very happy if it was aesthetically pleasing to my visitors and relatively unconcerned if it had no recruiting success. My aim with my trees is to move people to experience emotion, not to move people to take up bonsai.

-rw
 

Klytus

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Can you imagine a world in which the yearly town carnival has a Bonzai float,sponsored by Stihl or something.

It's unsettling.
 

grouper52

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So maybe for someone like you, a model railroad show is a better analogy than an art showing. I've never been part of a model railroad club, but are those done to bring people into the model railroad fold, or just to give the public something fun to see and make a lot of kids and adults smile?

If I were to organize a show (lord forbid), I'd be very happy if it was aesthetically pleasing to my visitors and relatively unconcerned if it had no recruiting success. My aim with my trees is to move people to experience emotion, not to move people to take up bonsai.

-rw

We're probably in the same ball park here, but with a bit of a twist. From my side, I do this hobby because I enjoy it. If my trees bring someone some pleasure when they view them, then I'm happy for them, but it's not the primary reason I do it. I'm not sure what the clubs' motivations are for doing these displays, which is why I posed the question here. If it is just so other people can enjoy the trees, that is one thing. If it is just so the bonsai hobbyist can have the thrill of displaying their trees, then that's another. If it is just in the hopes or recruiting new people to the ranks, then that is yet another. It may be, and most likely is, a mixture of various parts of all of these. I was just wondering, however, how realistic it was to expect such displays to fulfill the third motivation.

My personal motivation in getting some trees ready was partly a combination of the first two, but more importantly it was because Vic and Eric are my friends, and they asked this of me. It seemed important to them, so that made it important to me, whatever their reasons were. They're good friends, and I'm glad to help. :)
 

Attila Soos

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My personal motivation for displaying my tree would be the following:

People look at my tree, and then they look at me (standing next to the tree) and ask the question with a touch of incredulity: "Wow, amazing,...how the heck did you do that!!?"

Yep, that would be a good motivation.:)
 

Smoke

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Eric and I are pulling together a tree display for a local rock and gem show. The Seattle club is presenting viewing stones, and Bremerton is doing the trees. I have to confess... I now have a HUGE amount of appreciation for what has to go into selecting trees for display and then preparing the pots and grooming out the trees. We'll only have a dozen trees on display from four local artists... (Eric, grouper52, Daniel and I) but it's no small task even so. Mind you, I wasn't given much time to prepare, only a few days... but man, it's a task!

To those of you who have planned this on a large and even more formal scale... my hat is off to you! I'll never look at a display the same way twice. I do confess though... I'm having a lot of fun with it, and am very excited. I'll post photos this weekend if it comes together ok. lol And maybe I'll post even if it doesn't, just as a learning exercise. :cool:

Kindest regards,

Victrinia

There is nothing like the satisfaction of organizing an event and then having it all come together and people are amazed. Congratulations on your first undertaking. Many kudo's to you.

Think how I felt last year trying to organize 15 of the most anal retentive bonsai artists from California into one place, arrange displays according to Kei Do rules, judge it and award prizes. All this in three days. We get to do it all over again in April and I can hardly wait.

http://bonsaistudygroup.com/advanced-display-discussion/bonsai-deconstructed/
 

bisjoe

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I think the fact that mallsai are being sold at home centers and discount stores is evidence that bonsai, that is having them around, appeals to a lot of people. We all know how friends, relatives and even strangers are often impressed with trees that people wouldn't show here or on other forums because they are either in early stages of development or just nothing special. I'd guess that many people will ogo to a show or exhibit and enjoy the bonsai very much but never actually get into working with them
or even buying a mallsai. I'm reminded of the NW Flower & Garden show which always had an exhibit of nice trees from area artists on display, and some worked into display gardens (including Dan Robinson's.)

Plenty of Oohs and Ahs and photos taken but I doubt that a sudden boost in bonsai sales at local nurseries results.

For me the reward my own satisfaction in the results of my work, especially when it comes out the way I hoped, but more importantly the strangely relaxing effects of the time spend working on them, regardless of success or failure.

Still, as in any art, some will find their greatest satisfaction in the pride of showing off their best work. I don't think there's anything wrong with any kind of motivation, it's just different for different people.


Since I'm not active in any groups that exhibit I can't say if they are trying to lure new members or enthusiasts. I have told many people about the hours of enjoyment I get but I never try to talk them into trying it. I'd really like to hear from some people that do try to encourage people to get started in bonsai, to help answer the question of their reasons.
 

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Bisjoe,

I agree and that is a good sentiment to have. It's what makes and keeps you happy that is the driving force in staying with the art.

Always keeping in mind that many a first introduction to bonsai is an artistic photo of a bonsai display or running into a bonsai exhibit by mistake.

Long term perveyors of bonsai are usuallythose that have sought out bonsai on their own and gravitate towards finding out all there is about it. Those guided into bonsai will usually fall away fairly fast because of the long time periods needed to get to the more finished state.

Cheers, Al
 

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Joe! Great to have you joining in here! I appreciate your sentiments voiced above. Your own contributions online, making space for people to display their trees and enjoy the hobby through a virtual venue, have been extensive. I've never actually heard you speak of the satisfaction you get from working on your trees, but I think that's just because it's sort of an assumed thing between us, and between most people in the field. Nice to hear you actually put a voice to it so eloquently, though.

How have you been? I spaced out on answering your last email eons ago, so I've lost a bit of touch with you. Those Ponderosas, and a few beers, are waiting for you any time you by this way - one of the trees was crying out to you the other day, if I understood it correctly. :) /threadjack

Will
 

Yamadori

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My personal motivation was because Vic and Eric are my friends, and they asked this of me. It seemed important to them, so that made it important to me, whatever their reasons were. They're good friends, and I'm glad to help. :)

That is the best reason of all. Honoring friendship. Respect for fellow bonsaiists.
 

bisjoe

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How have you been? I spaced out on answering your last email eons ago, so I've lost a bit of touch with you. Those Ponderosas, and a few beers, are waiting for you any time you by this way - one of the trees was crying out to you the other day, if I understood it correctly. :) /threadjack

Will

I don't have much time these days with work and business and my cyber duties, but I saw your post and had to respond. After the holidays I'll be going up to my Mom's for some pruning and tree planting
and will plan on stopping by or meeting you some place.
 
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So the show went well from a complete display noob's perspective. I think one of the long time members was a little mortified that we didn't have everything on stands. But you know... with little time, and few assets in the vein of display stands... we had a GREAT time... everyone loved the trees... and we encouraged the interest of a lot of people who have obviously been on the fringes for a while. But I think the most fun was the kids. They were just amazed by the trees, and that was the most fun of all. Seeing one little guy authoritatively declare to his friend that "Bonsai! Bonsai are AWESOME!" was worth the work and the time.

:D

Deepest thanks to grouper for lending great trees, and display items. Couldn't have pulled it off without you my friend!

V
 

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grouper52

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Thanks, Vic. Glad it all turned out so well. You two sure put in a lot of last minute work!

Not a great quality photo, but I like your two smiles!
 

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