Reverse Engineering...The Display

Smoke

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Reverse engineering, also called back engineering, is the processes of extracting knowledge or design information from anything man-made and re-producing it or re-producing anything based on the extracted information.

Over the next several days as I have time I will post the individual components of a display I am producing for a contest. The contest does have prize money, and I am eager to enter.

Accent stand.
The stand on which the accent sits is pretty important to the display. It must have texture, color and gender and a certain amount of formality or informality. Here are some choices to look at and what they each have to offer.

Cut Slab, sometimes called a "plinth" or burl. It is a thin slice of a tree and sanded and polished. Informal and rather feminine in nature. Since it is a slice from a tree, this adds to its naturalness.
plinth2.JPG

Bamboo matt, This type stand is also frequently seen for accent plants. Bamboo is a good choice for a summer display and not really appropriate for spring although used. Bamboo should never be used in conjunction with a conifer display.
plinth1.jpg

Small Tatami, this is also frequently seen with displays. These work well on wood tables or tables covered with a table cloth. They are rather neutral and really have no gender. These would not work well with a Tokonoma and a full size Tatami matt. Tatami on Tatami is redundant.
plinth3.JPG

Wood stand, A wood stand is a manufactured stand on which the potted accent might sit. It should be small and proportional to the accent. A round pot should be on a round stand while a more square or rectangles pot would look correct on a rectangle or square stand. It should be of a wood color that harmonizes well with the whole display. Most stands tend to be rather formal and masculine, unless with very curved legs.
plinth4.JPG


For my display I have chosen the cut slab.
plinth2.JPG
 

Ironbeaver

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Thanks for this, it's the kind of thread that's great to learn from. Unless you're wrong, then it will turn into a crapstorm ;).
 

Vin

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Is the contest a display contest or is it for the components of a display? i.e. the best cut slab.
 

Adair M

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Very good discussion, Al.

Here is another version of a slab, and I'd like to hear your thoughts on it. It is a burl, certainly, but the "bark" is not natural. It's been intricately carved and stained.

image.jpeg
 

Smoke

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It is a display contest. I will post all my parts in conjunction with other choices and why I used them or why I didn't. It will take into next week for all the parts to be shown. At the end all the parts will be shown but not together culminating on a post with my place in the competition. Of course that post will show it all together.
 

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Accent Pots
This is a nice accent pot. Rather low and round. Pinched sides for subtle texture and the yellow oatmeal glaze works well for Spring.
accent1.JPG

This small grey colored pot would also work. Its a little vase shaped and I want a pot a little more grounded. A low center of gravity. The pinched sides work well for texture.
accent2.JPG

Another Gary Wood pot like the previous one. This time in a dark blue green color. Same issue shape wise plus the saturated dark color suggest Fall to me.
accent3.JPG

This pot by Gary Wood is a slab built pot rolled over netting. It is low in its center of gravity and the color is OK due to the yellowish color in the green. Lots of texture and cool shape to boot.
accent4.JPG

This pot by Sonny Boggs is very nice on the color for Spring being very soft blue. Good texture with the cut lines, but the urn shape and small base is not what I'm looking for.
accent5.JPG

This is a nice pot. Good functional shape with good lines and low center of gravity. Color again is too saturated and hints of Fall.
accent6.JPG
 

Smoke

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As soon as I seen this one I thought it seemed to flow well with the slab. Not that my opinion matters.
Of course your opinion matters because I chose it for the exact same reason. I was really torn though, because I liked the first pot too. The oatmeal glaze is one of my favorites and I would love to have a huge oval pot for my trident to reside in. Also the play of color and texture just seemed to flow off the slab.
 

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Of course your opinion matters because I chose it for the exact same reason. I was really torn though, because I liked the first pot too. The oatmeal glaze is one of my favorites and I would love to have a huge oval pot for my trident to reside in. Also the play of color and texture just seemed to flow off the slab.
I appreciate that, I really do. My meaning was directed toward the contest and judges. BTW, the Sonny Boggs pot has an ancient feel to it and also works well with the slab from my perspective, especially the live edges. A question that has always plagued me; what makes these pots accent as opposed to shohin or mame?
 

Adair M

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Of course your opinion matters because I chose it for the exact same reason. I was really torn though, because I liked the first pot too. The oatmeal glaze is one of my favorites and I would love to have a huge oval pot for my trident to reside in. Also the play of color and texture just seemed to flow off the slab.
And I think these pots are sized better for the slab you've chosen. The other pots would look better with a slightly smaller slab, in my opinion.

Interesting, though, how you're reverse engineering it. I would have chosen the accent plant and pot first, then chosen an appropriate slab. Maybe you did, and are writing it up reversed. I don't know. But it's a different take... Carry on!
 

Smoke

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I appreciate that, I really do. My meaning was directed toward the contest and judges. BTW, the Sonny Boggs pot has an ancient feel to it and also works well with the slab from my perspective, especially the live edges. A question that has always plagued me; what makes these pots accent as opposed to shohin or mame?
I don't think these pots could be only accent pots, nor could they be only mame or shohin pots. I purchase things that interest me and have textures and assorted colors. I have boxes of them and probably a pot that would have worked even better may be lurking in the attic of my garage. I bought the Sonny Boggs pot with an intended purpose. I like the shape and what I wanted it for is for a more semi cascade neagari (exposed root) style tree. Its more upright vase shape will lend it to that much more than an accent pot. Many might see the opposite. That's the beauty of display, its so subjective no one is wrong!
 

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BTW, the yellowish oatmeal pot is from a guy here in Fresno throwing pots. He is a potter at the University, and makes these for beer money!

Those are his pots on the right of the table.
DSC_00310031.JPG
 

Smoke

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The Plants
Plants for the accent range from grasses to pond sedges, succulents and wild flowering plants. Traditionally, flowering plants are used for a spring display to show a new flowers bud opening and signaling Spring. I am a firm believer in one flower or plant type in the pot for the accent. More plants grouped in the pot becomes a focal point taking away from the whole. For this display I have broken with tradition due to the nature of the display. As that unfolds that will become more clear.

Some local plants that can be used in accent plants for bonsai:
Greenland Violet
alpine violet.jpg

Brass Buttons
DSC_00020002.JPG

Erodium
DSC_00050005.JPG

Creeping Fig
DSC_00090009.JPG

Creeping Thyme
DSC_00150015.JPG

Elfin Thyme
DSC_00210021.JPG
 

Smoke

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Some other plants:

Chameleon Plant
DSC_00370037.JPG

Rosy Maidenhair Fern
DSC_00390039.JPG

Ghost Fern
DSC_00410041.JPG

Japanese Blood Grass
Imperata-Japanese-Blood-grass-Red-Baron-1.jpg

Pink Knotweed
pink-knotweed_60001.JPG

Rhodohypoxis
RHOD_RosieLee.jpg
 

Smoke

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For my accent plant I have chosen the Chameleon Plant, Arrowhead Violet and Button Fern. If you were to choose based on what you see would this plant be on the right or left of the tree?

accent11.JPG
 

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