I am a constant student of everything considered art, and still trying to define what it means to be an artist. No medium has so totally
captured my interest and imagination as the art of sculpting living material. I wonder if the art is simultaneously sculpting me. The journey is fascinating and exhilarating and I would be selfish
not to share it. Thank you for joining me. My deepest wish is that we all can learn to grow. ___________________________Michelle
is the only thing which we can really rely on. I actually believe in transformation.
Changes are unavoidable; the more we trust changes, the better we feel.
If an individual is afraid of changes, it is only about a feeling, it doesn't
have a real background. There is no reason to be afraid at all. One has
to collar the fear."
imaginary arena one can play with all possible ideas, in order to find
out what really obstructs us in such a way. The only way to fasten all
these suppression moments and handicaps is simply to continue what would
be possible, because then all obstacles inevitably become apparent. If
I speak of the reality of the androgynous I mean if we accepted that male
like female beings experienced suppression from the beginning, that girls
such as boys are squeezed in behavior patterns then we would encounter
the fact that there is a time ' before' it and that we must understand
this period as a time of innocence, liberty and infinite possibilities.
Even if it was only a short time we all carry this memory in us,
a real memory, which is situated before the time of knowledge of what is
male and what is female, the time of humanity."
My last post was one hundred forty nine days ago. I was out of the blogging business that long. I guess I just needed something interesting enough to talk about to spur me back to it. I just returned from one of the most enjoyable weekends I have had in ages! The National show hosted by Bill Valavanis in Rochester was AWESOME! Here are some pics:
Getting there really is half the fun. Photo taken on the plane...
...and a few stops along the way, the first photo was taken at Croton Gorge Park in Westchester County, and the second needs no explanation ;o). (Mets fans please do not send hate mail.)
Thanks to a dear friend for the Legends Suite hook up, we had an amazing time, even though Tampa Bay spanked the Yankees.
The entrance to the show.
One of three azaleas in full bloom during the show, placed by the entrance on Saturday.
Here I am with my exhibit and the impresario himself, Bill Valavanis. My hat is off to him, and his 'army' of helpers that came together to create a truly magnificent event.
These three guys where integral to that success. They drove my trees, along with many others entirely across the country and back in an enormous white refrigerated truck. Visit Peter's blog for a play by play. From left to right, Zac Shimon, Peter Warren, and Ryan Neil.
At the Awards Dinner on Saturday night Ryan announced an exciting new development for Bonsai in the U.S. He and Michael Hagedorn, are hosting the Artisans Cup of Portland in October 2013. All the details are on the website: http://www.artisanscupofportland.com/ By having this show at the Portland Art Museum and with careful attention to detail and expert eyes of these very talented professionals behind it, the level of bonsai artistry in this country will be officially and unequivocally catapulted to fine art status. I have no doubt this will be history in the making, and I am already thinking about which trees I might be able to submit for the selection process.
From left to right: Jim Doyle, me, Jim Gremel I was sooo happy to see so many friends there. I had a chance to make some new ones as well. It was such a pleasure to finally meet Wayne Schoech of Bonsai Bark (his blog just keeps getting better!) and Stone Lantern.
The second biggest highlight of this weekend was watching Marc Noelanders, of Belgium, transform this juniper in JUST 3 HOURS! on Saturday...
And the first biggest highlight was when Mr. Noelanders himself gave me a critique of my exhibit. It was a serious big moment for me. As soon as that tree comes off the truck I'm improving it with the suggestions he made. It was a spectacular learning opportunity.
Because Mike is Judging 'Best in Show' at the Westminster Kennel Club next February, I may be able to tie in a trip to the Noelanders Trophy if the dates work out.
I picked up some great Ikebana tips from renowned artist Jerome Cushman.
We had such a blast and can't wait for the next National Show!
Just back from the L.A. Arboretum... another amazing show hosted by Baikoen (Bonsai Kenkyokai, est. 1964).
Kay Komai (on the left) has been there for the whole journey. The history of this club is fabulous - for another post. Dave Woodall is on the right.
My two favorite exhibits were created by Cheryl Manning (left) and Elliot Farkas (right).
Flowers opening on the Ume.
Elliot's Twisted Pomegranate.
Accent shown with the Pomegranate.
...given the title of this post, if you didn't expect to see trees with no clothes, er, I mean leaves on, what did you think trees wear to sleep in, yesterday's leaves perhaps? not when brand new fresh leaves are right around the corner.
Just Kidding! I didn't forget about you all, even through it has been soooooo LONG.
It's New Year's Eve and I have big plans for 2012 starting to fall into place: The Shohin convention in Santa Nella is a month away, then there is the California Bonsai Society's 55th Convention in Anaheim in April, then June will be the biggest frenzy heading to the 3rd U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition in Rochester, NY, then rounding back to the BCI 50th Anniversary Event in Denver, Bonsai in the Rockies, (almost a homecoming since I grew up in Denver and Colorado Springs,) then September in Portland, then GSBF, and I'm already getting excited for the 2013, April 19th BCI Convention in Yangzhou, China (我学习汉语很多!）。
I have not been idle the last year, even though I've neglected to post. Photos of my bonsai trees will be added to this site regularly next year, since I've been working so diligently on them I really want to share them. I also finally learned how to shoot and edit quickly decent videos with my little Sony HD camera, so expanding my Youtube Channel will be a fun activity for next year. Bjorvala bonsai studio has set the bar very high in quality bonsai offerings the last few months.
I've been playing mad scientist in my lab, I mean studio, and reorganizing things to be more productive in making many pots in larger quantities and sizes. I'm still making a few occasional pinch pots, but not very often. I'm switching to slab-building and other methods to meet the goals mentioned above of larger output. I have a dedicated e-commerce site in the works, but more on that later ;o).
I recently had a lot of fun conducting a well attended workshop on all things pinch pot for the Bonsai & Beyond Club that meets at the San Diego Botanical Gardens once a month:
And my little ball of fur known as Kibou is all grown up, at least in dog years:
Wishing you a Safe and Happy New Year's Eve.... SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!
I know it's been eons since I posted anything on this blog... I'm redesigning my mental workspace, doing some internal remodeling, and generally gearing up to head in a new direction. Artistic journeys, take just as much planning as physical trips, and without the help of Expedia. I've also been very distracted the last 3 months while learning Mandarin Chinese, and with my latest fury project:
I hope this posting finds everyone well, safe, and hopeful for the new year of possibilities just around the corner.
* * * * * * * * * *
Here is an excerpt from the Prologue of the book I have been working
on for the past year, BONSAI TEN, which will be available in the Summer
"Bonsai is a direct and personal study of life. It
appeals to our fascination with what is immeasurably small and
inconceivable large. Through the art of bonsai, a connection is made
between artist and tree, an individual and eternal nature, the infinite
mind and the persistent voice of our interconnected souls. Bonsai is a
small but powerful illustration and visual embodiment of many things
including ecosystems, natural processes, energy exchange and work,
dedication, applied knowledge, perseverance, humility, kindness,
selflessness, compassion, and appreciation. Bonsai contributes to the
goal of sustainable peace.
"Learning to decipher and listen to
these instructions, messages, and insights through the art and practice
of bonsai has been a deeply spiritual experience for me and I want to
share it with you. Bonsai gave me an education. When I entered this
strange and mysterious artistic phenomena I was unaware of all the
rules, the history, the tradition, the undercurrents, the methods, the
science, the philosophy… it became a life-seeking quest for answers. It
is a fascinating journey and the purpose of this book is to ‘bring back
to the tribe’ (The Writer’s Journey) some of the answers that I have
found that seem to me to resound with truth.
"Ten years ago I
was living in a second floor, north facing condominium near the ocean.
The unit had a small balcony. After visiting a botanical garden I fell
in love with a grove of ancient Gingko Trees and wondered how I could
capture that moment of calm and euphoria that I felt surrounded by those
majestic trees, without access to land or a garden with sufficient
space to plant my own. The local nursery had a small gingko seedling
with maybe 7 or 8 leaves on it planted in a bonsai pot that I
immediately brought home and tried to grow… that’s how innocently it all
starts. You, my dear reader, have been warned.
my life. I made every possible mistake. I read every available book. I
talked to every possible ‘expert’. I suggested to my husband that I
could be more successful if we just had a real yard, and if I went to
Japan to study bonsai I might figure out all the little things that
seemed to elude me (both of which he agreed to). In the years that
followed I stumbled into a natural process of learning and subsequently
learned a way to live my life through answers I would not have come to
know otherwise. For example, time cannot be made to speed up so the tree
will grow faster. Patience. Time passes quickly enough. Time cannot be
made to slow down so the tree will die slower. Acceptance. Making a long
term commitment and then sticking with it was a sound lesson for me to
learn. Bonsai is a microcosmic textbook to the universe, and offers
encouragement for the possibilities for the future. It illustrates that
learning is a lifelong enrollment. The teacher is the student, the
student is also the teacher. Equilibrium. Balance..."
I have just posted a bunch of photos on my facebook page of the Not so New faces that were strolling around the recent GSBF Convention in Santa Clara, and a couple of New ones...
Now that I am finally on facebook (about 3 years later than everybody else, but maybe just fashionably late :o)... please find me and send me a friend request because who doesn't want to have lots of friends, and I love seeing what everyone else is doing. It's so much fun to 'meet' other bonsai fans! (Although facebook is a great way to lose an entire afternoon that should be spent doing something productive, I have found. When will the site post a warning label that it may be hazardous to your occupation?)
Here is a picture of my Vendor Table: (some of the pots may look familiar)
It was a really great Convention, and it was so good to see so many friends together in the same place. I received wonderful feedback on those new pots. I think I'm going in a direction that is worth pursuing. Back to the studio...
(A 'behind the scenes' look at this photo shoot...)
To see some of the pots made in 2008, click here or on the image below.
-- a few from 2007... click here or the image below.
-- a few pots made earlier this year:
are now in the collections of Shirley Kavanaugh, Jim Doyle, and other
bonsai artists who attended the 2010 Shohin Convention.)
of these pots are one of a kind, originals - made, photographed, and
published here by Michelle Dougherty. Please do not "borrow," "copy," or
"steal" any images without first requesting permission from the artist :
I'm not usually an advocate of shortcuts or 'instant' anything, but this is just too fun not to share. A wonderful group of folks get together every month and trade ideas about making tray landscapes - everything from Hon Non Bo, Saikei, Succulent Art, trough gardens, topiary, anything that grows in a pot or represents a living landscape. At the last meeting a talented artist, Nancy Reisman, brought to everyone's attention her recent discovery - Home Depot is selling 4" pots of Meyer's Asparagus Fern (Asparagus meyeri) for $3.47 and when trimmed and incorporated next to a rock or landscape feature they look for all the world like Italian Cypress, with no additional work and coming in at about 3 - 6" tall in little groupings, the similarity is uncanny... so I raced over to HD and bought a few...
After about 20 minutes:
Embarrassingly I will admit I'm still putting together that promised posting of more of Jim Mueller's work, but in the meantime he sent me a most inspiring photo:
I asked him for more information about how he did this and he responded:
"As you might imagine, the process of creating the mountain compositions for my tray landscapes generates a fair amount of stone fragments. In the spirit of resource conservation, I've tried using them to build cairns like this one. The larger stones are held together with hydraulic cement, and smaller ones with silicone aquarium sealant. Happily, the resulting compositions have lots of cracks and internal voids that act as sounding chambers for the falling water. With a little tuning, they can be very musical instruments.To stabilize the stones and maintain the composition while transporting,cleaning, and repotting, I often glue them to a deep blue or green Corian base (salvaged from a neighbor's kitchen countertop business) shaped to fit the bottom of the container.
"I make my cranes with very long legs, so that they can be set deeply into soil, moss, or holes drilled in the rock, as the one in the photo. I was as pleased as you with the effect of this photo. It was taken last Friday at sunrise over Seneca Lake, the largest of the finger lakes in upstate New York. As you can see, it's an inspiring place. I've gathered mosses there,along with lots of ideas for sculptures like this one."
Thanks so much Jim! Here's a preview of that next installment...
And finally, an apology to the email subscribers - the last email was very confusing because the new video was not part of the email, and I made it worse by putting a link to the old video, so please click here to see the New Video (Saikei Made Easy) - Thank you for understanding.