What should a Bonsai Planting Accent say ?

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What should a Bonsai Planting Accent say ?

Post  Bolero on Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:23 am

What specifically should a Planting accent say ?

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Re: What should a Bonsai Planting Accent say ?

Post  Jeremy on Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:49 am

Hi,
Personally, my practice is to try and have accents within my presentations that have a seasonal feel. In fact all the items within the piece also attempt to allude to the season, usually very slightly ahead of the actual season.
Pretty flowering plant are sweet, but for me that is not enough.
Accents for me should be some what restrained, and allude to, not shout.
To get it right take a lot of thought and play.
Enjoy the journey.

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Re: What should a Bonsai Planting Accent say ?

Post  Leo Schordje on Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:04 pm

In addition to time of year, the accent can also be used to create perspective, to help set place also. A grass planting accent set to one side but forward of the stand for a tree can imply the tree is in the distance. Similarly a fern and flower planting set at the same line made by the front of the main tree stand can imply a forest tree at a near or middle distance, accent well behind the stand of the main tree implies the tree is close to the viewer. The species used for the accent implies or suggests the landscape the tree is set in, mountains, open park, savanna, a forest, a cottage yard.

The Japanese have extensive rules for how to use accents in formal Japanese displays. these rules are worth study, and then adapting to the context you want to display in, for example the USA National Bonsai Exhibit show follows Japanese formal display rules. The Milwaukee Bonsai Society show encourages inventive displays with local Wisconsin sensibilities.

And what and how we choose to display in our homes is entirely up to us.


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Re: What should a Bonsai Planting Accent say ?

Post  dick benbow on Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:42 pm

Great question and one that can be approached numerous ways as suggested by the previous posters. You have to ask what is a kusamono (grass thing), an accent plant or a companion plant.

Most of what i see in area displays are something selected and recently planted from nursery stock that is currently "showy". Hence could be called an "accent". To me you can see the newness to the creation, glaring at you from their new shiney pots.

I find this approach shallow and with little meaning. I prefer to see companion plants that you'd expect to find growing as companions
to the featured tree in the wild. Stuff that has been in the pot awhile. The pot aged and in tune with the tree.

Here's a tip that will help you get away from that new planting new pot sydrome...(you can thank me later) also for use with new bonsai pots for use wih old trees!

Take your new highly glazed pot and brush on a product called Glass etching creme.( check with your local arts and craft hobby shop) Allow it to adhere to the outside of the pot for about 20 minutes. You need to be careful working with the product, so wear latex gloves. After the time allotted rub the creme in well with your gloved fingers and rinse and clean off with soapy water. You'll notice the bright glazed look is gone and in it's place and older,softer look is portayed. If you plant the pot about 3 months in advance, both the pot and plant look as if they've been there for awhile and fit more naturally with the prized tree.

My opinion is based on my strong like and intense study of... tokonoma display, where accent plants are more considered as companion in tune with the bonsai and the season..

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Accent plants

Post  logan3 on Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:18 pm

Last Sat. 2/21 Kora Dalager gave a demo at my clubs monthly meeting ( Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai ) on the difference between kusamono and shitakusa as well as other aspects regarding the best way to use accent plants in our displays. She also talked about the use of scrolls, but that's a whole different story. With our annual show coming up at the end of March this demonstration was perfect.

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Re: What should a Bonsai Planting Accent say ?

Post  dick benbow on Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:29 pm

Your very fortunate to get kora as a speaker. So much of her traveling has been to japan and knows her display. Good teacher_!
I'm anxious to get some feedback on the shared pot ageing technique....It came to me via a friend who got it from kathy Shaner ( another capable lady and sensei )


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Re: What should a Bonsai Planting Accent say ?

Post  jgeanangel on Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:54 pm

Whatever it says, it should be in a whisper.

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Re: What should a Bonsai Planting Accent say ?

Post  Jeremy on Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:15 pm

jgeanangel wrote:Whatever it says, it should be in a whisper.
I like that, can I use it. Wink

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Completed Bonsai Landscape

Post  Bolero on Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:39 am

Here is my finished Bonsai Landscape with an Accent, not sure if the Accent is appropriate...

New Laptop with new 8.1 OS a real PIA to learn....

5 Japanese Cedar "Tansu", 2 Japanese Cypress "Sawara", 2 Juniper cuttings, Misc Pine seedlings, Chinese Ying Rock, Chinese Glazed Ceramic Pot 18" x 14" x 2"...
Comments and Critiques welcomed...





Last edited by Bolero on Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:00 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: What should a Bonsai Planting Accent say ?

Post  dick benbow on Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:12 pm

curious of why you chose the green colored pot? Most evergreen trees are considered formal* and are placed in unglazed pots. Thought the layout was VERY nice work.
I think your accent plant was not dissimilar enough from the main display. using the same
wooden slates for both is a no-no. In fact, I had a member of our club who makes pots, form some thin
round , oval, square shapes for jittas and glaze them black. They work well in display, both inside or outside in the weather. I could see a round one under your
"accent". I suggest finding a wooden figurine (tenpai) informal to go with green glazed pot of a human gathering wood
or maybe an animal, like a woodchuck or bunny.( do not use a bronze or metal tenpai as is formal and would not go with informal glazed pot)

* literati or bunjin pine a notable exception

If for any reason you chose a bunny for accent you could use a scroll of a hawk circling.....because of the presence of stone in your main display, you'd probably want to stay away from
a suiseki accent or mountain scene in a scroll as too repetitious


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Re: What should a Bonsai Planting Accent say ?

Post  jgeanangel on Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:16 pm

Jeremy wrote:
jgeanangel wrote:Whatever it says, it should be in a whisper.
I like that, can I use it. Wink

of course:)

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Re: What should a Bonsai Planting Accent say ?

Post  jgeanangel on Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:02 pm

Bolero wrote:Here is my finished Bonsai Landscape with an Accent, not sure if the Accent is appropriate...

New Laptop with new 8.1 OS a real PIA to learn....

5 Japanese Cedar "Tansu", 2 Japanese Cypress "Sawara", 2 Juniper cuttings, Misc Pine seedlings, Chinese Ying Rock, Chinese Glazed Ceramic Pot 18" x 14" x 2"...
Been working on this Landscape since December 2014, $190.00 invested...
Comments and Critiques welcomed...




Hey Bolero!

Ok...I like both pieces!! but I am not sure they work together for a couple reasons...
1. I think the proportions are off...big one is far view and the little one is near view...
2. they are too similar...
3. the accent doesn't add anything that the larger piece is not already saying...

Perhaps a photo or scroll that gives a seasonal hint or time of day hint may be more appropriate accessory to go with your beautiful landscape.

I also wonder if a landscape even needs an accessory??? its not like it is a single isolated tree in a pot that might need more context to make statement in a display...JMO

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Re: What should a Bonsai Planting Accent say ?

Post  DougB on Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:22 pm

Bolero: I agree with JohnG, should not have the accent plant. Also the Saikei is good, however I my eye gets confused as I look at it. Please take several pictures, then explore removing some of the items. It just seems to complex. But start a new thread and keep us up to date on the progress.

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Re: What should a Bonsai Planting Accent say ?

Post  Jeremy on Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:16 pm

This comes to mind.
"Whatever it says, it should whisper"
"Reserve and restraint"
Less really is more.
Allude to perhaps, rather than making obvious.

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Landscape response...

Post  Bolero on Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:16 am

Thank you all for your compliments and comments, all taken seriously...

Dick, the Green Glazed pot was a financial decision... it had hairline cracks so I got it for $15.00 and super glued the cracks and I read in a Penjing book that Glazed pots were permissible as long as not silly looking.

jgeanangel, I am going to do away with the accent planting, taking your advice.

Doug, I am considering removing the 2 Sawara from the Landscape.

Jeremy, Yes, Less is More, thank you.

Again, thanks to all for commenting, critiquing, it is appreciated.

Chas

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Re: What should a Bonsai Planting Accent say ?

Post  M. Frary on Thu Feb 26, 2015 12:09 pm

I'm with the tree. If it weren't for him I wouldn't be here.

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Re: What should a Bonsai Planting Accent say ?

Post  kevin stoeveken on Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:54 pm

Leo Schordje wrote:The Milwaukee Bonsai Society show encourages inventive displays with local Wisconsin sensibilities.

havent had the time to fully peruse this thread, but leo, your statement jumped out at me...

just wondering how you came to that conclusion, or what you based it on, or how they allegedly "encourage" inventive displays ?

sorry, but i could not come up with a way to ask that without sounding sardonic... Wink

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Re: What should a Bonsai Planting Accent say ?

Post  Leo Schordje on Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:13 pm

beer city snake wrote:
Leo Schordje wrote:The Milwaukee Bonsai Society show encourages inventive displays with local Wisconsin sensibilities.
haven't had the time to fully peruse this thread, but leo, your statement jumped out at me...
just wondering how you came to that conclusion, or what you based it on, or how they allegedly "encourage" inventive displays ?
sorry, but i could not come up with a way to ask that without sounding sardonic... Wink  

One good example is your own display, the Ficus you put in the October 2014 show. They did not make you take it down, you even got a ribbon, not a first, but a ribbon none the less. Your display with that fun scroll made by your young niece was not at all in the formal japanese style.

Ok, maybe I overstated by using the word ''encourage'', but they do allow us all to pretty much do displays the way we like. (as long as it fits in the space allowed). Tolerates might have been a better choice of words. The old guard, that really know their stuff, like to just sitting back and watching the reactions to new ideas. There is a small vocal minority (2 or 3) that would protest, but none of the old guard would back them, so unconventional displays remain in the show.

The point I was making in this tread was display context and local show rules govern which type of accent can be used.

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Re: What should a Bonsai Planting Accent say ?

Post  Leo Schordje on Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:27 pm

Dick, Kaikajiu or someone knowledgeable please correct me if I am wrong. (copied and pasted from my web pages)

A Bonsai term referring to a planting of grasses or herbs grown to be displayed with a bonsai, or for appreciation of itself in its own right.  Kusamono 草物 is the most often used term, and the most generic, the name can be used regardless of the use of the planting. When the grass or herb planting is displayed alone, as the primary focus of attention the term Sanyasou 山野草 is often used in Japan. The term Shitakusa 下草 specifically means an under planting, and should be only applied to accent plants that are used to represent the grasses and herbs growing under the main tree. Usually the tallest point of the shitakusa will be below the top of the stand of the main tree. Hence, not all Kusamono when displayed with a main tree are Shitakusa.

Accent planting is a better term to use in the west, when used with a tree, as it is generic.


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Re: What should a Bonsai Planting Accent say ?

Post  dick benbow on Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:48 pm

Looks like you spelled it out very well. I do think it is important to understand the different terms and what they EXACTLY mean. It used to drive me cracy in my koi hobby with the japanese terms for colors/kinds of red. It didn't translate to english very well, yet made a world of difference in understanding the selection of little koi and how the color would change as they aged.
I'm very fortunate to have Maples-san as a teacher and have learned to respect his knowledge of display.

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Re: What should a Bonsai Planting Accent say ?

Post  kevin stoeveken on Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:58 pm

leo - i think it would be a triumph of the spirit to be asked to take down a display because it was too unconventional !!!

you once mentioned mapplethorpe here on the forums and boy-oh-boy, but a mapplethorpian display would really raise some hackles on the old guard !!! but of course the tree would have to be rock-solidly flawless in order to pull something like that off.

just something to shoot for Twisted Evil Wink

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Re: What should a Bonsai Planting Accent say ?

Post  Leo Schordje on Fri Mar 06, 2015 7:32 pm

beer city snake wrote:leo - i think it would be a triumph of the spirit to be asked to take down a display because it was too unconventional !!!

you once mentioned mapplethorpe here on the forums and boy-oh-boy, but a mapplethorpian display would really raise some hackles on the old guard !!! but of course the tree would have to be rock-solidly flawless in order to pull something like that off.

just something to shoot for Twisted Evil Wink

ah, Maplethorpe,
Wink what is the correct naked body part to display with a shimpaku?

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Re: What should a Bonsai Planting Accent say ?

Post  kevin stoeveken on Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:31 pm

dick benbow wrote:Here's a tip that will help you get away from that new planting new pot sydrome...(you can thank me later) also for use with new bonsai pots for use wih old trees!

Take your new highly glazed pot and brush on a product called Glass etching creme.( check with your local arts and craft hobby shop) Allow it to adhere to the outside of the pot for about 20 minutes.

dick - i hope you check back on this post as it is starting to fade...

i want to ask you what brand of glass etch you used ?

after reading your tip i immediately went to a craft store and found that the brand they carry was almost $40 for a small 20oz jar Shocked

i then checked amazon and found a brand that was less than $30 for a large bucket, but had very mixed reviews...

thanks !

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Re: What should a Bonsai Planting Accent say ?

Post  dick benbow on Tue Mar 10, 2015 6:47 pm

I looked for my notes during Eric's class where I did get the name brand, but sorry to report I seemed to have misplaced them. I did talk to another who attended the class at the recent stone juried show. He said he was going to Walmart to get a product which would be cheaper than the hobby shops. I did talk to an sdditional individual
who said because of the strength of the product he bought he did have to run a particularly bright glaze thru the process 3X to get the soften effect desired. Hope some of this answer is helpful.

I looked again for my notes before sending, and lo and behold I found them. The brand he was using was called "armour Etch". Smile

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Re: What should a Bonsai Planting Accent say ?

Post  kevin stoeveken on Wed Mar 11, 2015 12:03 am

thanks dick !

the armour etch is the one w/ the consistently good reviews and the one that is used by glass etching hobbyistststsss
so it figures that the one that works is the expensive one Wink

but today i stumbled upon a 40% off coupon at hobby lobby which is where i saw the armour etch

based on the reviews, i bet the cheap stuff i found on amazon (XIM 44082 Etching Cream) is the same stuff your guy used that took 3 apps...

cheers !

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Re: What should a Bonsai Planting Accent say ?

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