Kathy Shaner and the display seminar

Smoke

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On Sunday after the Kazari Kathy Shaner did a two hour seminar on formal bonsai display. Kathy was one of the judges as well as Larry and Nina Ragle of Southern California and Andreas Marks, curator of the Japanese Museum.

The seminar consisted of two parts, a full critique of all the displays by Kathy as well as a hands on display workshop. the seminar was purchased in advance and consisted of silent observers and active participants. there were only three participants in the seminar and about 25 silent observers. I guess the others were chicken as I couldn't wait to get my crack at another one.

As we got to the participateing part, Kathy wanted the participant to pick a display that was in need of an obvious overhaul. I was the first to jump up as I had mine picked out from the get go.


I brought all the stands, accents, slabs and scrolls for the seminar. we had the scrolls hanging in a part of the museum not being displayed in and could hang them our for easy view and change them out rather quickly.
 

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Smoke

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Kathy started out by asking me to explain what I found either right or wrong with the display, and what provoked me to try to improve it.

in my words....

"What I found wrong with the display since there was not much right with it was the tree was facing the wrong way. While not apparent in the photo the apex of the tree almost touched the wall. It was facing backwards. The scroll was wrong for spring since it depicted a hot blazing summer sun. The sun was nearly centered in the scroll both vertically and horizontally.

the accent was shown in a very rustic hand made pot and displayed on a rustic rock. The trees is correct for spring with it's new leaves and soft lines. The accent was far too harsh for this lush tree.

The tree was planted out in a very heavy Dick Ryerson pot, and while the pot was OK, the pot looked heavy when seen against the dark line of the redwood of the bottom of the Tokonoma. Putting the tree on a slab is not the correct image for spring and a deciduous tree should never be shown on a slab as the main tree."


The photo below is the before...
 

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Smoke

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This is how I would have presented it.


Kathy said this was probably the most dramatic improvement she had seen. She felt that the stand I chose when I picked it up was going to be wrong and thought I had chosen wrong not going with the heavier stand but I told her I felt the tree was light enough and soft enough to compliment the softer table. She agreed when I was done.
 

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Yamadori

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Yes Yes Yes, nicely done. Was Ralph there? I bet he would like it too.
 

Smoke

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No....he was not. I am still amazed at the wealth of information that is given away for nearly nuthin..$15.00, and still no one comes.
 

Yamadori

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It is probably more about time than $$. I would have loved to have been there on Sunday as well, but it would have been too much for domestic tranquility.

Next year I will do what I did last year and choose the Sunday workshop rather than the Saturday events. I loved the peacefulness last year for the Hideko Metaxis workshop. We were all in a Keido bubble in the middle of farm fields. None of the hustle and bustle of Spring Festival crowds.
 

Smoke

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This year was much more relaxed. Kathy is laid back and not so rigid. I had the chance to speak to her about last year. She has seen my kusomono from last year. She had a photograph made of it and looks at it from time to time. She asked me how I came up with such an evocative image. She said had she judged last year there may have been different winners based on the photo's from Golden Statements.

I was blown away with what she said about my stand. She told me we will talk later....I wonder what that means?
 

Smoke

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It is probably more about time than $$. I would have loved to have been there on Sunday as well, but it would have been too much for domestic tranquility.

Next year I will do what I did last year and choose the Sunday workshop rather than the Saturday events. I loved the peacefulness last year for the Hideko Metaxis workshop. We were all in a Keido bubble in the middle of farm fields. None of the hustle and bustle of Spring Festival crowds.
I totaly understand your dilemma with being 75 miles away. What I didn't understand is that he had to be there to pick up his display anyway?????
 

Brian Underwood

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Wow, quite a difference Al. When switching between the photos it is almost a sigh of relief viewing the photo with the improvements you made. I wish I could have been there but I had to work, and Jim sent me the email with links this morning...
 

rockm

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Um, if you're being a stickler about seasonality in scrolls, the scroll with the grasshopper and fruiting grasses screams autumn-not only in Japanese imagery, but in natural tone. The tree is in full green spring leaf. It's a bit contradictory...

I found the most distracting thing about the sun scroll was its scale. It was vastly too small--if there were another 24 inches of white space added onto the bottom of the painting I think it would work a bit better than the grasshopper scroll...
 

Smoke

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Um, if you're being a stickler about seasonality in scrolls, the scroll with the grasshopper and fruiting grasses screams autumn-not only in Japanese imagery, but in natural tone. The tree is in full green spring leaf. It's a bit contradictory...

I found the most distracting thing about the sun scroll was its scale. It was vastly too small--if there were another 24 inches of white space added onto the bottom of the painting I think it would work a bit better than the grasshopper scroll...
Agreed....Kathy let us know that the exercise was one of mechanics and not so much apprpriate for the current display. Putting things in the correct order.
Thinking about spacial relationships and things like that. Actual use of the correct scroll would have been impossible with what was there. I just don't have enough scrolls that say spring. That is a problem for everyone it seems.
 

rockm

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"Actual use of the correct scroll would have been impossible with what was there. I just don't have enough scrolls that say spring. That is a problem for everyone it seems."

Nothing $3,000 and a trip to Japan won't cure.

Seriously, I think you've pointed out a problem with trying to put displays together. So much depends on having the right images available. Spring images, for some reason, are particularly hard to find. I've got a one with frogs (spring peepers), but that's about it.

Did Kathy say anything about the size of the scroll initially used here?
 

Yamadori

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Last year Hideko told us that it is said, "to truely practice Keido, one must have 100 scrolls". Then she admitted that she didn't have 100 scrolls.
 

Ang3lfir3

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@rockm on the topic of purchasing scrolls I have had great pleasure and success in purchasing custom scrolls from Paul Geoff in england.... the scrolls are beautiful... the man a true artist... and the customer service amazing.... I believe we have two large scrolls and 1 smaller scroll with something like 6-7 inserts ..... prices were certainly reasonable
 

Ang3lfir3

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@Smoke what a great opportunity and something rarely available in the bonsai conventioning world.... I REALLY wish i could have been there (was running around all over MSFT campus with a bunch of geeks.... plus i was REALLY far away) .... would have been amazing especially to get the chance to learn from Kathy.... what a truly lucky devil you are....

ohhh btw.... beautiful stands and scrolls.... as always Super Jealous
 
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WOW......................... I reaaaaaally did not care for that display. But your improvements were vast, and I enjoyed seeing that a LOT.

I think I might have to go to this event next year (assuming it's an annual thing). I would be willing to travel for this... it's the one thing Daniel can teach me absolutely nothing about.

Eric can go be a geek... I'll go play with toko.... :D:D:D

V
 

rockm

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angl,

I've managed to get very nice Japanese scrolls via ebay. You'd be surprised what comes up there and what you can sometimes manage to get it for.

I tend not to like western artists' paintings on scrolls. This is all personal and subjective, but I think they tend to be too literal, overly colorful, or somehow forced into an alien format.

Paul goff's work, however, is an exception to that. I've seen a couple of his scrolls here in the US. The painting is outstanding, but restrained.

However, the scroll construction is a bit on the rough side--at least compared to the traditional Japanese scrolls. They're also relatively expensive compared to what I've bought on Ebay from Japanese sellers. That, of course, depends on how bidding and shipping goes, though.
 

Smoke

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"Actual use of the correct scroll would have been impossible with what was there. I just don't have enough scrolls that say spring. That is a problem for everyone it seems."

Nothing $3,000 and a trip to Japan won't cure.

Seriously, I think you've pointed out a problem with trying to put displays together. So much depends on having the right images available. Spring images, for some reason, are particularly hard to find. I've got a one with frogs (spring peepers), but that's about it.

Did Kathy say anything about the size of the scroll initially used here?
ah yes....I will get into that as I put names to each display.
 
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