A busy couple of months or so…

Posted: March 5, 2013 in Shows and Exhibitions
Tags: , , ,

It’s been a busy couple of months or so, with a visit to Belgium to see the Noelanders trophy to start off with.
It was my first visit to the event which turned out to be quite an eye opener. The general quality of the trees were superb and it was very well attended. Almost too well attended if you know what I mean because I certainly felt like a sardine fighting my way down the aisle’s but, it was awesome all the same. For that reason I felt the friday/setup day was the most enjoyable in a lot of ways. It was great wandering around watching people setting up and it felt a little surreal seeing so many great bonsai artists from all over europe & the world you see on the internet. The plus bonus was it was possible to get a table in the restaurant/bar there on a friday. The beer was excellent and went down very well after the long drive getting there. Whilst sipping a beer I was fortunately introduced to a Mr Steve Tolley. I was great to meet him, he’s lovely guy and a real good laugh.
Steve’s blog is certainly worth a read and I highly recommend it.
The winner’s of the prizes were certainly worthy of the awards. The best tree was a fantastic spruce that used to belong to Mashiko Kimura and the best deciduous tree was a massive white beach that used to belong to Saburo Kato. It was wonderful to see the UK rubbing shoulders with the european elite in the shohin category as well. Mark and Ritta Cooper took first and second prize with their two great exhibits which was certainly well deserved.
All in all it was a great long weekend and I can’t express how much it is worth going to and recommend it to anyone.

Before I knew it Swindon show was upon me and I was up at the crack of dawn with my mentor to help set up his display and sales pitch up their. Once we were set up I had plans to really go round on my own and study the trees in the exhibition but, my plans were soon scuppered. I started off ok, looked at about a quarter of the trees but, soon got interrupted with talking to acquaintances. I soon got a call that I was needed back at base because my mentor needed to do some judging, so I made my way back and held the fort. I did manage to get back around but, only to do some much-needed shopping before all the best stuff was sold. Strictly pots were on the agenda and most were gifts.
The attendance seemed as high as usual if not more. I’m not sure of the exact figures, whether it was more or not but, there was definitely that buz about the place.
There’s only a couple of things that let the show down. The first is the lighting in the main hall, which is sodium lighting. It’s not good at all but, I guess some sacrifices have to be made and it can be lived with. The second were the uninvited traders in the car park. I think it’s totally wrong them being there. The people inside the show had paid good money for pitches to sell their and people loading up vans full and driving their just to sell outside should have been moved on in my opinion.
That beside it is a wonderful show which is setting a bench mark in UK exhibitions and I thoroughly enjoyed myself as usual.

Soon after the Swindon show the auction of Manuel Gonzalez’s tree’s in Bournemouth.
Manuel-1
I can’t say that I really knew Manuel personally. I only met him briefly a couple of times at some shows but, hearing what people have to say about him and how highly they speak of him he was a great guy & a hell of a character.
It was an early start, a nice day and the sun was shining brightly (when it came up). We had a good trip down and were there pretty early. We started looking round at the potential lots and comparing them to the photo’s online was a huge contrast. The photo’s certainly didn’t do them justice at all and I think a lot of people were re-thinking their bidding strategies. It was a good turn out and there must have the best part of 150 people their.
Bidding got underway and lots soon started flashing by. Chris Thomas was auctioneer for the day and a did a great job. The tree’s sold very well overall making more than I would have thought and were definitely priced out of trade range. I think many people were after a ‘Manuel tree’, which certainly boosted the prices made. The larger most expensive trees probably could have done better but, I think that it is a reflection of what bonsai buying trend’s seem to have taken plus, lot’s of money is not about at the moment. People seem be going for smaller trees these days if not shohin at least chuhin. I think it’s mainly down to an ageing UK bonsai community, a high percentage of people doing bonsai in the UK must be 50 plus. People can’t carry, move and manage what they used to. Popularity for Shohin has certainly increased as well and is still yet to peak in this country yet I think but, we are getting there.
All in all the smaller trees certainly made up for any short fall the larger trees might have had, plus a bit more I think. I hope that Manuel’s family were pleased with what the trees made and how the auction went. It was certainly one of the UK’s finer bonsai moments.

Now coming up is the shohin show that is at Failand village hall on the 24th of March.
shohin13
I’m really looking forward to this event and I think the attendance will be high. It’s my first time exhibiting and I’m a little nervous yet very excited about it. I’m pretty bad at remembering my camera and takeing photo’s but, I will definitely take it for this one and I’m trying to make an effort to take more for other posts.

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