Bonsai are intended to be viewed. Growing your bonsai is simply one aspect of the joy of working with these plants. A poorly exhibited bonsai will never be completely appreciated.
The art of exhibiting bonsai does not have to be complicated.While there are numerous concerns to consider, three key elements should always serve as your guide:
- The bonsai is the centrepiece of the exhibit. Every other display decision should be driven by the display's primary focus: the bonsai tree.
- The bonsai exhibit should evoke a sense of natural harmony.
- Each part of the show should be deliberate. Nothing in the display should be a last-minute addition.
To expound on these principles, we have provided a comprehensive guide on creating the most compelling bonsai display.
Getting Down to the Basics
Your objective should be to create an overall landscape that showcases your bonsais distinctive beauty. At the very least, your display will have a pot for the bonsai, a space for the bonsai, and a piece of furniture on which the bonsai will stand.
Most bonsai displays, however, contain additional items known as companion objects. Some common companion objects include scrolls, mountain stones or "suiseki", tiny floral plants, small figures of animals or other natural features.
Aside from the specific selection of the bonsai and its companion objects, positioning all of these pieces relative to each other is an important consideration. Typically, you'll want to construct an asymmetrical triangle with a dimension that contributes to a unified, natural setting.
Packing Your Essential Items
Because bonsai is centred on a celebration of nature, all your element and placement choices should be focused on what best represents nature. This requires careful selection of the bonsai plant, which should exhibit some features of its beauty appropriate for the current season.
You may start thinking about the pot after you've chosen your bonsai. The colour of the pot should complement the state of the bonsai. The appropriate width for the container is the breadth of the bonsais branch spread. The container should appear to have grown naturally from the breadth of the bonsai.
The optimal depth of the container is determined by whether or not the bonsai cascades. The depth of the container for a non-cascading bonsai should be about the size of the bonsais root, just above its flare. The pot for cascading or semi cascading bonsai should be no deeper than half the height of the cascade.
Laying out Your Stand for the Display
Because bonsai are best viewed at eye level, the usual table will be too low. A bonsai stand, often known as a "shoku" can be either a floor or table stand.
The stand should not be so ornate that it detracts from the bonsai. The colour of the stand, like the container, should complement the state of the bonsai. Dark woods are appealing to most bonsai, while a lighter wood may be more appealing to a blossoming bonsai. Ideally, the space you choose should have three sides to give a natural framing for the display. The entire exhibit should be positioned in the middle of this area, while individual parts are sometimes placed at varying distances from the walls. The spaces background should also not compete with the display. It should be gentle and neutral in hue. Remember that a clean, white wall is generally too bright and harsh to complement a bonsai exhibit.
Exhibiting bonsai is an art form, but it's an art form that's fundamentally driven by nature. What you see as beauty is an expression of natures harmony. You can emulate this harmony by allowing your plant to dictate your design choices.
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