Bill Valavans' 50-years-in-bonsai celebration

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Bill Valavans' 50-years-in-bonsai celebration

Post  JimLewis on Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:41 pm

I spent last weekend up in Rochester, NY attending Bill Valavanis' celebration of his 50 years in bonsai.   It may have been one of the best bonsai meetings I have attended in my 35-40 years in the sport, despite a few health issues on my part.

There were the requisite workshops, on the first day -- black pine (Dennis Makishima), juniper (Ryan Neal with some tremendous, large material), Chinese elm (David Degroot with also great and huge material), Chinese Quince (Kathy Shaner and smaller, but very nice plants), and shohin-size Satsuki (Peter Warren).  Kora Dalager conducted a workshop on Companion plants and Kusamono).  They all later presented very informative demonstration-lectures on those topics.

I think one of the highlights of the "Colloquium," as Bill called it, were sessions on Japanese display and aesthetics.  Each of the guest artists -- and Bill -- using the same tree each time, set up and explained their ideas for a two- or three-point display.  These were followed by detailed and entertaining "Technical Seminars" on various aspects of putting bonsai together -- Light, water and soil, pruning, wiring, winter protection (which I, living in an area of relatively mild winters, skipped -- sorry, Bill), and potting and transplanting.  These discussions were well above the basics.

There were, in addition, five or six rooms of vendors offering pots, stands, trees and stones.

But the centerpiece of the event was/were Bill's trees.  I have never before been to a show where ALL of the display trees represented the work of one person.  Unfortunately, the well-presented display wasn't ideally set up for photographs of individual trees -- particularly trees the size of some of these; you simply could not get far enough away to take them all in.

I did manage to get a few photos, however.  Unfortunately I got none of the display seminar shots, that being a day when I was not able to move to a good spot for pictures.

A few shots of the vendor areas:






 
Some shots of Bill's trees. 


A Chinese quince


Cotoneaster


Dawn redwood


A display setup.  Juniper, I think.


Dwarf Scots Pine display


A grove of Alberta Spruce


Hornbeam


One of several Japanese maple


Another


A juniper


Another


Satsuki


Shohin


Reeds


Companion


These shots were as close as you (or I) could come to an overall shot.




And finally a glimpse of the trees offered at auction the night of the banquet.







Last edited by JimLewis on Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:39 pm; edited 3 times in total

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Bill Valavans' 50-years-in-bonsai celebration

Post  JimLewis on Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:22 pm

And for anyone who wants to see more of Bill's trees, I can highly recommend his newest book:  Classic Bonsai Art - A Half Century of  Bonsai Study.  See: www.internationalbonsai.com

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Bill Valavans' 50-years-in-bonsai celebration

Post  coh on Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:32 pm

I believe the unknown grove in your 9th picture was Ezo spruce.

Tree before it (labeled Ezo spruce), pretty sure that is the dwarf Scots Pine 'R.A.F.'

coh
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Re: Bill Valavans' 50-years-in-bonsai celebration

Post  FrankP999 on Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:33 pm

JimLewis wrote:And for anyone who wants to see more of Bill's trees, I can highly recommend his newest book:  Classic Bonsai Art - A Half Century of  Bonsai Study.  See: www.internationalbonsai.com

I agree - this is a great book to have in your collection.

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Re: Bill Valavans' 50-years-in-bonsai celebration

Post  kenduncan on Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:45 pm

Thank You Jim.
I enjoyed your post very much.
I have been to Bill's many times in the past and always learned so much and we had a great time also, Bill is a real pro.
I only wish I could have gone to this one, sounds like the best one yet.
Ken


Last edited by kenduncan on Thu Jun 13, 2013 4:50 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Bill Valavans' 50-years-in-bonsai celebration

Post  MikeG on Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:48 pm

Beautiful trees. Bills work has been a great inspiration to me over the last few years. Hope to see his work in person one day. Rochester isn't that far. Just gotta get a new passport and convince the wife that it would be good place to vacation at. Looking forward to checking out the new publication.
Happy 50th anniversary!

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Re: Bill Valavans' 50-years-in-bonsai celebration

Post  JimLewis on Thu Jun 13, 2013 1:34 am

Happy 50th anniversary!

While I do know who your wishes were intended for, by some kind of a coincidence, the day after I returned from Bill's get-together was Jackie and My 53rd wedding anniversary.  We went out for an excellent Japanese dinner, since we met on board a ship bound for Japan a few years even farther back, in 1953.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Bill Valavans' 50-years-in-bonsai celebration

Post  LSBonsai on Thu Jun 13, 2013 1:59 am

Thanks for posting these Jim. I really feel silly for not making it out there. Crazy time of year though.

I would love to know how much that ginkgo ended up going for at the auction.

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Re: Bill Valavans' 50-years-in-bonsai celebration

Post  coh on Thu Jun 13, 2013 2:47 am

I think I heard Dave DeGroot say that he purchased the gingko for the Pacific Rim Collection, but I wasn't at the auction so I have no idea what it went for. Maybe Bill will find this thread and let us know if I'm remembering correctly.

Here's a few trees Jim didn't post that I got good photos of:

1. Another Chinese Quince



2. Korean Hornbeam



3. Japanese Maple (I think it's Deshojo but not sure)


coh
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Re: Bill Valavans' 50-years-in-bonsai celebration

Post  William N. Valavanis on Thu Jun 13, 2013 1:27 pm

Jim,

Thanks for joining us for the International Bonsai Colloquium, and for posting.

The photo of the vending area was, however, taken a few years ago of my friend's vending area. The reason I know is because I purchased both of those trees and one is still in my garden, but good photo.

I'm pleased you enjoyed and learned from the programs. I tried something different this time and since I "retired" from organizing symposia, I needed to change the name to colloquium. Much though went into arranging all the workshops, technical seminars, display seminar and demonstrations so they would all fit together to present a comprehensive view and educational program.

Yes, it was difficult to take photos, however, the room was designed to allow for two more feet of aisle space. The hotel switched the tables from 30" standard tables to using two 18" classroom table widths, a total of 36"! They all heard about the error too... But, I was able to get some photos, which I'm attaching to this post.

I would have posted earlier, but Owen Reich, new bonsai professional recently returned from Japan stayed a few days after to help install a new drip irrigation system for my sales and nursery area, not my good bonsai. The garden has been dug up and looks like a war zone, but we put it all together last evening and it seems to be running well. Can't really tell because the rain is coming down in buckets, so I do not need to water today, perhaps tomorrow either.

The Ginkgo sold for $850, which was way below value. The tree was not purchased by David DeGroot. Over 20 years ago, Sharon Muth purchased a Gingko from Brussel at my symposium for the Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection, it was the first tree in that collection. Many of the bonsai and item prices in the two auctions were low.

If you were not able to attend, nearly all of the 35 bonsai on display are featured in my new book, complete with photographic history and information on how they were developed through the decades.

Bill

PS: Happy Anniversary Jim!


Overall view of the "50th Anniversary Valavanis Bonsai Exhibit". One of my tallest friends, Will Hebert, took the photo, and he stood on a chair too!


Dwarf Alberta spruce bonsai originally deigned by my teacher Yuji Yoshimura. His bronze bust was used as the companion. There were many different display composition concepts featured in my special, once in a lifetime-and last, exhibit because I wanted to show the diversity of display.


Ezo spruce forest displayed with a distant mountain stone. With this display I wanted to show an unusual composition which I studied and liked from an old Kokfufu Bonsai Exhibit from the 1930s or 1940s. Here, the distant mountain stone is the main object of display and the bonsai forest is the accessory, yes, even though it is larger. The table height is important. There were several other interesting displays.

Since there was no formal critique (on purpose) I wanted to show many different display concepts showing my personal taste which was developed during the past half century.

William N. Valavanis
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Re: Bill Valavans' 50-years-in-bonsai celebration

Post  Russell Coker on Thu Jun 13, 2013 2:01 pm

Congrats Bill, beautiful show!

Yellow pots make me smile Very Happy.

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Re: Bill Valavans' 50-years-in-bonsai celebration

Post  coh on Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:16 pm

William N. Valavanis wrote:The Ginkgo sold for $850, which was way below value. The tree was not purchased by David DeGroot. Over 20 years ago, Sharon Muth purchased a Gingko from Brussel at my symposium for the Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection, it was the first tree in that collection. Many of the bonsai and item prices in the two auctions were low.


Thanks for the clarification. I guess I misunderstood his comments at the meeting Monday.

By the way, just wanted to say it was a really enjoyable and educational weekend. And the exhibit was beautiful.

coh
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Re: Bill Valavans' 50-years-in-bonsai celebration

Post  William N. Valavanis on Thu Jun 13, 2013 10:42 pm

Attached is a photo of the educational display I had at the Colloquium. It shows the development of four bonsai originating from the same plant. The poster in the background indicates the location of the three air layers and where they were taken from the original plant.

Of course additional photos and detailed information can be seen in my new book.

Bill


Koto Hime Educational Display

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Re: Bill Valavans' 50-years-in-bonsai celebration

Post  abedini on Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:09 am

But the most important here is Happy for yours 50th Anniversary and for sharing your knowledge without restriction.
Thanks again 
Best regards from South America

abedini
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Re: Bill Valavans' 50-years-in-bonsai celebration

Post  my nellie on Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:55 pm

Best wishes from Greece for your 50th Anniversary in bonsai art, Mr. Valavanis!

Best wishes for your marriage anniversary, Jim! (...we celebrated our 40th two days ago). Thank you for informing about this special event.

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Re: Bill Valavans' 50-years-in-bonsai celebration

Post  Hundred21 on Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:47 pm

An inspiration to one and all, best wishes on your 50th anniversary from Malta...

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Re: Bill Valavans' 50-years-in-bonsai celebration

Post  fredtruck on Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:13 pm

Congratulations, Bill. 50 years in bonsai at a very high level is an amazing accomplishment.

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Re: Bill Valavans' 50-years-in-bonsai celebration

Post  Twisted Trees on Sat Jun 15, 2013 3:21 pm

I also had a great time at the colloquiem and met a lot of great new people.  Congrats to Bill, my teacher, on 50 years and a great show.

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Re: Bill Valavans' 50-years-in-bonsai celebration

Post  William N. Valavanis on Sun Jun 16, 2013 12:27 pm

Thanks for all the good wishes!

I was able to finish a few more display photos and wanted to share them.


Korean Hornbeam display


Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper in the collection of Marc Arpag


Chinese Quince display


Dwarf Scots Pine display


Rock Cotoneaster display with a water buffalo


Last edited by William N. Valavanis on Sun Jun 16, 2013 12:30 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : duplicated photo, so added another display)

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Re: Bill Valavans' 50-years-in-bonsai celebration

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