Golden State Bonsai Competition

yenling83

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I am very new to Bonsai and the GSBF. I have gone to the last two GSBF annual conventions and absolutely loved my time spent there, but I always wished I could see a sort of, "CA Kokufu" type event. I'm sure this subject has been discussed several times by CA bonsai lovers and I'm sure there are reasons why it has not happend. But, it's something I feel very strongly about and hope to see a large competition someday in the future.

What I would like to see?
*I'd like to see a competition held at the GSBF annual convention each year. I would like to see some decent prize money to be won, but more importanly a very Prestigious award or maybe awards given to a small number of trees each year.

Why I believe this would be beneficial
*Competition brings out the best in many, it gives people a goal and something to strive for. Because I love Bonsai so much, I want to see it improve and evolve and the right competition is one thing we need. What would Bonsai in Japan be like if there were never any competitions? Would an Olympic gold medalist really train as hard if there was no competition for them to compete in?

Why have this at the GSBF annual convention?
1. Geographically Japan is much smaller than the U.S. The US National Bonsai Exhibition is a great show and all the props in the world to Bill V for putting it together. But, the East Coast is so far for us CA Bonsai lovers. While maybe in the past we did not have a large enough Bonsai community to support something only in CA, I think we are at a point were it should be justified.
2. It's already a large enough event, why not charge an extra $10-$30(or more) which could be used for prize money and fees for the event.


I understand alot of issues would have to be worked out and might be difficult i.e. a good judging system, not getting the Nor Cal and So Cal people to kill each other, and all other details. How might you suggest, that I as one unknown, unimportant, young Bonsai lover go about helping to get this ball rolling?

Thanks
 

bwaynef

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As one on the East coast that is, as you say, so far away, what I'd have to say about this competition would quickly be disregarded. I just wanted to say that if you want it to be a competition, I commend you for making it clear that its a competition and not a show. At a show, the trees are the focus. A competition is about the people; what the people can do with/to a tree, but still primarily about the people.

In the FEW experiences I have w/ shows, a lot of egos get in the way because they make it more about the people and less about the trees. I don't particularly care WHO wired the tree, ...or how far it traveled over what ocean in how big of a shipping container. If a tree is better than another, it shouldn't be discounted because the person taking it home didn't do ALL of the work.

/rant.


Good luck.
 

PaulH

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Can't say more yet. But keep 2012 in mind.
 

Smoke

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As one on the East coast that is, as you say, so far away, what I'd have to say about this competition would quickly be disregarded. I just wanted to say that if you want it to be a competition, I commend you for making it clear that its a competition and not a show. At a show, the trees are the focus. A competition is about the people; what the people can do with/to a tree, but still primarily about the people.

In the FEW experiences I have w/ shows, a lot of egos get in the way because they make it more about the people and less about the trees. I don't particularly care WHO wired the tree, ...or how far it traveled over what ocean in how big of a shipping container. If a tree is better than another, it shouldn't be discounted because the person taking it home didn't do ALL of the work.

/rant.


Good luck.

I completely disagree about a judged show being about the people.

So far I have been co chair for the Kazari held each of the last two years at the Clark Center for Japanese Art in Hanford Ca.

This is a judged show based on Tokonoma display. It is about the display and is in no way about the people. It is judged according to Keido rules by Larry Ragle, Kathy Shaner and Adreas Marks, curator of the museum. There is prize money, 2,500 for first, 1,000 for second and 500 for third. I came in second last year with my teacher coming in first. I was up against people like Jim Gremel, Boon, Ted Matson, Peter Tea. If it were about the people I am sure I would not have been in the money since my tree could not hold a candle to any of those artists.

No entry fee and good prize money. About a two hour drive for you Yenling, you should participate next year or at least seek it out and see what real bonsai is all about. Next year the Kazari will be held in the Fall to facilitate Fall/Winter looks in trees.
 

buddhamonk

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I wish I could see what real bonsai is all about...too bad Hanford is so far away from the Northwest...
 

johng

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As one on the East coast that is, as you say, so far away, what I'd have to say about this competition would quickly be disregarded. I just wanted to say that if you want it to be a competition, I commend you for making it clear that its a competition and not a show. At a show, the trees are the focus. A competition is about the people; what the people can do with/to a tree, but still primarily about the people.

In the FEW experiences I have w/ shows, a lot of egos get in the way because they make it more about the people and less about the trees. I don't particularly care WHO wired the tree, ...or how far it traveled over what ocean in how big of a shipping container. If a tree is better than another, it shouldn't be discounted because the person taking it home didn't do ALL of the work.

/rant.


Good luck.


Wayne... Bottom line is that all shows, expo, competitions, clubs, study groups, etc... are about the people and only the people...we delude ourselves if think it is about anything else.. without the people these events would never occur...so how can they be anything but about the people. We may come together around trees, displays, vendors, award money, etc...but it is always about the people. If we could learn and grow from just looking at trees we wouldn't need people to teach us, to open our eyes...but that is just not the case is it?


The beauty is that if you don't like "the people", you don't have to go to the events....you have every right to stay home and whine about and criticize them on the internet.
 

Bill S

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Maybe a limited experience in seeing shows, but the ones I have seen for the most part do not directly tell you who owns the trees. There have been plaquards telling about the tree and pot, otherwise in some cases no plaquards.

The events are about the people coming together around bonsai, to see them done by others, to learn the "craft" from others, to buy trees and supplies brought by others, but regardless it is bonsai, if it's about people for you, I think you ate in it for the kinship, not the trees. I have made friends being involved in bonsai, but as far as shows go( I help to put on the MABS event), I do it to get bonsai info, stock, supplies, and to advance the "hobby" of making bonsai, plenty of people but it's about the trees. There are some self centered folks involved here and there, but they have a way of making themselves known, avoid them if you want, but they are typically somewhere near the trees.

The judging I have seen has typically been catagorized in one way or another, done by pro, done by amateur, done by someone who sold it to you, the shows I have seen have had critiques by traveling artists from around the world. It's about making and showing the trees - Bonsai.

Would you still do bonsai if nobody was going to look at it but you??? Ok I heard you all say yes, then it's about the trees. Now playing to advance the "hobby", do you all put trees into shows, if not you should, they are learning tools as well. I realize that many practice bonsai for themselves, but without input form others involved in the sport, your trees advance very slowly at best.
 

bwaynef

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The beauty is that if you don't like "the people", you don't have to go to the events....you have every right to stay home and whine about and criticize them on the internet.

After this comment, I can see that my recent comments elsewhere about your group's display were not received as I'd intended. I expected that, though honestly I was hoping to spark discussion. (To be clear, there was no whining, and really not a lot of criticizing. Publicly displaying trees should come with the understanding that people are going to critique it, whether publicly or privately.)

I also have a right to an opinion, and my opinion is that it SHOULD be about the trees. So often it becomes about more than the trees.

Al, John just made the point I was trying to make. I agree that it should be about the display or the trees and not about the people, ...but the people make it about the people. Maybe your show is different.


<edit>
ps. Yenling, I apologize for sidetracking your thread.
 
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Hey yenling83,

I had this very discussion (about having a west coast competition) with one of the Japanese “Old Timers” and the response was very interesting. According to him, the Japanese bonsai community didn’t want to have a competition because (at the time John Naka was still alive) there was a hierarchy, and as a result, they would not compete among each other. If the Japanese wouldn’t compete, a true west coast competition would have been difficult.

However, I believe that attitudes on competition are changing (e.g. US National Competition & Kazari) and eventually you might see a west coast competition.

Although I agree that competition does raise the level of bonsai, some of the best bonsai I’ve seen come out of the sensei driven clubs like REBS & Bay Island Bonsai and their shows aren’t judged.

Good thread Yenling, Keep that Bonsai comin'!

JC
 

Jgsbonsai

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GSBF competition

yenling83:

I think that competition is needed for California Bonsai art to achieve the best quality possible. The Kazari that Smoke has competed in has increased the quality of Tokonoma display greatly in just two years. I like your points and I think that when GSBF begins competitive events you can be a great deal of help in starting them. I hope to see you at the GSBF 2010 convention and we can discuss this further. Since PaulH is interested in competition also, GSBF 2012 may be a good time to begin.

Gareth Shepherd
 

Attila Soos

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I agree that a GSBF competition would be a great idea. It would also attract a lot of attention from the West Coast, and would be a great marketing tool for bonsai.

We all know that competitions are controversial, and humans are by nature biased, but nevertheless, it would be fun.
I would only be concerned about the level of fairness. To achieve that, it would have to offer multiple categories, for all bonsai tastes, both traditional, as well as modern. Catering exclusively for the Japanese taste would be a mistake. But I am sure that I am not alone with this view.

I wouldn't even wait until 2012, how about starting in 2011?

By the way, it's nice to win some serious money, but in my view, money would be irrelevant, when it comes to competing for the top spot. Any serious bonsai enthusiast would be perfectly happy with the idea of winning, so the lack of serious money should not be an obstacle. And lets not forget that a winner can make some money later, just due to the fact that his name would gain in respectability and recognition by the bonsai community and beyond.
 
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Bill S

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If you want to do something like this you would need to start now for 2012, having an event like this takes 18 mo.s to 2 yrs if thier is no ground work laid.
 

yenling83

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yenling83:

I think that competition is needed for California Bonsai art to achieve the best quality possible. The Kazari that Smoke has competed in has increased the quality of Tokonoma display greatly in just two years. I like your points and I think that when GSBF begins competitive events you can be a great deal of help in starting them. I hope to see you at the GSBF 2010 convention and we can discuss this further. Since PaulH is interested in competition also, GSBF 2012 may be a good time to begin.

Gareth Shepherd

Wow! I think this response is better than I could have hoped for. I believe that the end goal of putting this together would be to improve the quality of and fuel the growth of Bonsai in CA and the U.S. I don't think the planning of this should be simple and lots of time and thought will need to be put in to make it what it should be. But the philosophy of improving Bonsai should be in the back of anyone's mind with any planning or design for this competition. I would love to speak with you at this years GSBF and will be there Fri and Sat if you have time.

Thank you for all the responses.
 

Smoke

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Wow! I think this response is better than I could have hoped for. I believe that the end goal of putting this together would be to improve the quality of and fuel the growth of Bonsai in CA and the U.S. I don't think the planning of this should be simple and lots of time and thought will need to be put in to make it what it should be. But the philosophy of improving Bonsai should be in the back of anyone's mind with any planning or design for this competition. I would love to speak with you at this years GSBF and will be there Fri and Sat if you have time.

Thank you for all the responses.

I have spoken to co chair of Kazari, Bob Hilvers and curator of the permanent bonsai garden at the Clark center which already comprises the kazari. My intention is to have a judged kazari at the 2011 convention in Riverside. It too will be judged by Kathy and Larry, but still working on details and a room. Kathy is already giving a display seminar at this years convention in Santa Clara. The flollow up will be at next years and the year after that as we move more into toko kazari for stones, which we are working on for the Japanese museum, so stay tuned for that.

Personally, I have been working with Bob on judged displays for GSBF for years. Kathy Shaner is in full agreement. There is a contingent that is very opposed to this so everything must be right. During my five years as a trustee we made much headway and paved a lot of ground. Bob and I have talked about timing and the need for things to go off with out a hitch and the judging be spot on fair. You only get one shot, so if it's botched you don't get a second chance. Just like most things involving politics.
 

Smoke

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Hey yenling83,

I had this very discussion (about having a west coast competition) with one of the Japanese “Old Timers” and the response was very interesting. According to him, the Japanese bonsai community didn’t want to have a competition because (at the time John Naka was still alive) there was a hierarchy, and as a result, they would not compete among each other. If the Japanese wouldn’t compete, a true west coast competition would have been difficult.

However, I believe that attitudes on competition are changing (e.g. US National Competition & Kazari) and eventually you might see a west coast competition.

Although I agree that competition does raise the level of bonsai, some of the best bonsai I’ve seen come out of the sensei driven clubs like REBS & Bay Island Bonsai and their shows aren’t judged.

Good thread Yenling, Keep that Bonsai comin'!

JC

I believe Descanso has a judged bonsai exhibit as I have walked it with Jim Barret as a judge.

Bay Island bonsai is a judged event by the members as there are awards given.The small crystal domes are the awards given. The close up of the maple is followed by the whole presentation.
 

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