International Bonsai Art & Culture Biennial 2014

Valavanis Bonsai Blog



Today we visited the opening day of Robert Steven’s International Bonsai Art & Culture Biennial 2014 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. There were lots of beautiful bonsai displays to appreciate in a large exhibition hall, which was divided into about ten smaller galleries, plus a Robert’s “Thinker’s Secret Studio” complete with “peep holes.” Each gallery displayed several different styles and forms of bonsai and displays. Most of the compositions were labeled belonging to Robert, but other exhibitors were listed as well.


This was not an exhibition where one goes to study the form, trunk, and roots leaves and the bark of a bonsai. The beauty of each tree was creatively used to present a new use of bonsai artistically, unlike anything that I’ve seen before, and I loved it! Although I’m accustomed to seeing bonsai displayed in Japan with a quiet and refined taste, these bonsai were dramatic, creative, exciting and innovative…

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Capel Manor 2014

Thanks to Dan for sharing these photos from the Capel Manor Show last weekend. The exhibition is hosted by the Enfield Bonsai Group.

Here are some of the winning trees, displays, club displays and even a few from the John Armitage demo. John did a demo on 2 trees, Juniper was made from £25 material showing what you can achieve for not much cash. The 2nd tree was a cork bark elm, again affordable material – work was done with an aim to air layer into a clump in the spring.

A final note to pass on my condolences regarding Ray Ward from Sussex Bonsai who was also Vice chair of FOBBS, who sadly passed away on Wednesday this week. He did an amazing job creating their club display  at the show and was a prominent and much liked man in the British bonsai community.

A Visit To Shunka-en Bonsai Museum

Valavanis Bonsai Blog



I spent Thursday morning on my way to Narita Airport en route to Indonesia at Kunio Kobayashi’s Shunka-en Bonsai Museum in Tokyo, Japan. I’ve had numerous opportunities to visit his beautiful garden with the many bonsai tours Kora Dalager and I lead to Japan and also when photographing for our large-format book Fine Bonsai. However, it’s not often that I have the rare privilege to just wonder around his garden, alone, uninterrupted attempting to appreciate, study and absorb the beauty of Mr. Kobayashi’s bonsai, distinctive alcove displays and to look for new ideas to adapt to the western bonsai community.


Formal display of Japanese black pine bonsai


As always Mr. Kobayashi arranges eight formal alcove displays along with several others in his museum to visitors can sit and enjoy the beauty. Ever see me just sit and study a bonsai display?


Informal display of Japanese paulownia




A very simple and elegant…

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