Getting Ready for the National Exhibition

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Re: Getting Ready for the National Exhibition

Post  AJ on Wed Jun 16, 2010 4:52 pm

Rob Kempinski wrote:
Banquet is over.

Great news - Best Tropical went to my co-pilot, Richard Turner's Portulacari afra, Elephant Bush.

Best conifer was a Pondarosa Pine by Scott Elser (Scott won the same award at the last show.)

Best decidious was a Japanese Maple by Harvey Carapella.

Best shohin went to a very creative display by Pedro Morales of Puerto Rico with amazing small trees. Pictures won't do it justice.

Best tree went to a Japanese White Pine by Suthin Sukosolvisit.

The Yoshimura spirit award went to another bunjin pine similar to your tree Mike but I forgot the owner's name.


There were a few other minor awards. The judges must of had a hard time as the trees were consistenly special.
(emphasis added)

I was a little taken aback when I read the above statement. I had no idea that there were "major" and "minor" categories of awards given out at the 2nd US National Bonsai Exhibition. I was in attendance at the banquet when the awards were presented, and no mention was made of some being officially designated as more significant than others. I went back and looked at the promotional literature and information on the web site and could find no mention of "major" or "minor" categories there, either. It would seem strange that such designations should exist and it not be made public knowledge.

Unless... such designations did not really exist at all and that idea was simply someone's personal opinion, casually or carelessly cast out into a public forum in a way that suggested it was a statement of fact. I'm not sure why anyone would denigrate the accomplishments of others in that fashion.

Here are the awards that were left out of the list in the above statement:

Certre Award - Finest Bonsai & Container Combination
Ho Yoku Award - Finest Creative Western Formal Display
ABS North American Bonsai Award - Finest North American Native Species Bonsai

Each of these awards seem legitimate and important, to me. The awards focusing on Western display and North American native species bonsai are particularly relevant, in my view, because this is the US National Bonsai Exhibition, and those awards make a point of helping to establish a bonsai aesthetic that is specific to our part of the world. Of course, the critical importance of the bonsai and container combination to the total effect of the presentation of any given bonsai is understood and acknowledged by most people, and deserves recognition, too.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that a display that I designed and built was given the Ho Yoku Award for the Finest Creative Western Formal Display. I was honored to receive that award and did not think of it in any way as a minor achievement, but my bias there is obvious. I could not possibly have the same clear-eyed objectivity about it as I might have, had I won nothing.

For those who may be interested, here is a photo of the minor award winning exhibit:



The tree is an Eastern Redcedar, the container is the work of NC potter Robert Wallace, the bear is a piece of authentic Southern Appalachian hand-craft, carved out of Black Walnut wood and displayed on a piece of local stone, the tree stand is of Tuliptree wood, custom made by a local woodworker, and the painting is acrylic on masonite panel, designed specifically for this display and made by me working late hours in my dining room at home.

Hats off to Bill Valavanis, for orchestrating this outstanding and historically significant event. And hats off to all the people from all over the country who went to the personal expense and made the effort to bring out their best bonsai so the show could happen, whether they won a major award, a minor award or no award at all. The 2nd US National Bonsai Exhibition was a resounding success. I thank Bill for all his work, and look forward to participating in the next one.


Last edited by AJ on Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:38 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : correct omission)

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Re: Getting Ready for the National Exhibition

Post  peter krebs on Wed Jun 16, 2010 5:01 pm

Hi Rob,

beautiful secret garden.
Expressive bonsai, I wish you the first prize. Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

Best regards
Peter

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Re: Getting Ready for the National Exhibition

Post  Victrinia Ridgeway on Wed Jun 16, 2010 5:13 pm

What a lovely and creative display Aj.... congratulations on your much deserved award!!!

Kindest regards,

Victrinia

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Re: Getting Ready for the National Exhibition

Post  Randy_Davis on Wed Jun 16, 2010 6:23 pm

AJ wrote:

I was a little taken aback when I read the above statement. I had no idea that there were "major" and "minor" categories of awards given out at the 2nd US National Bonsai Exhibition. I was in attendance at the banquet when the awards were presented, and no mention was made of some being officially designated as more significant than others. I went back and looked at the promotional literature and information on the web site and could find no mention of "major" or "minor" categories there, either. It would seem strange that such designations should exist and it not be made public knowledge.

Unless... such designations did not really exist at all and that idea was simply someone's personal opinion, casually or carelessly cast out into a public forum in a way that suggested it was a statement of fact. I'm not sure why anyone would denigrate the accomplishments of others in that fashion.

Here are the awards that were left out of the list in the above statement:

Certre Award - Finest Bonsai & Container Combination
Ho Yoku Award - Finest Creative Western Formal Display
ABS North American Bonsai Award - Finest North American Native Species Bonsai

Each of these awards seem legitimate and important, to me. The awards focusing on Western display and North American native species bonsai are particularly relevant, in my view, because this is the US National Bonsai Exhibition, and those awards make a point of helping to establish a bonsai aesthetic that is specific to our part of the world. Of course, the critical importance of the bonsai and container combination to the total effect of the presentation of any given bonsai is understood and acknowledged by most people, and deserves recognition, too.

Hats off to Bill Valavanis, for orchestrating this outstanding and historically significant event. And hats off to all the people from all over the country who went to the personal expense and made the effort to bring out their best bonsai so the show could happen, whether they won a major award, a minor award or no award at all. The 2nd US National Bonsai Exhibition was a resounding success. I thank Bill for all his work, and look forward to participating in the next one.

AJ,
I have to agree with your sentiment, particularly regarding "major" and "minor" awards. On the same line of thought, It seems to me that this Exibition is rather an exclusive afair only for those who were able to attend and not one that promotes Bonsai in our part of the world openly. It's rather disengenuious to say that it is significant and historical when only those who fork out the money to buy the published book of the event will be exposed to what are supposed to be "the finest bonsai in the US" bah humbug. I find this event to be nothing more than an exclusive "club" that has nothing more than a profit motive at it's core and in no way encourages bonsai in the US except for the chosen few.

Just my 2 cents, and I won't be buying the book of pictures.

Randy Davis

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Re: Getting Ready for the National Exhibition

Post  Dale Cochoy on Wed Jun 16, 2010 6:41 pm

AJ wrote:[The tree is an Eastern Redcedar, the bear is a piece of authentic Southern Appalachian hand-craft, carved out of Black Walnut wood and displayed on a piece of local stone, the tree stand is of Tuliptree wood, custom made by a local woodworker, and the painting is acrylic on masonite panel, designed specifically for this display and made by me working late hours in my dining room at home.

Of course, the critical importance of the bonsai and container combination to the total effect of the presentation of any given bonsai is understood and acknowledged by most people, and deserves recognition, too.

.

Arthur,
....and the Container?
Appears to be Robert Wallace?


D.

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Re: Getting Ready for the National Exhibition

Post  xuan le on Wed Jun 16, 2010 7:43 pm

John Romano wrote:Mark Arpag for an Eastern White Cedar that he collected about 20+ years ago.
John Romano

Anyone who has the magazine International Bonsai (issue #4 year 2009) and missed the show can see this tree on page 33.

Xuan

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Re: Getting Ready for the National Exhibition

Post  Randy_Davis on Wed Jun 16, 2010 8:13 pm

xuan le wrote:

Anyone who has the magazine International Bonsai (issue #4 year 2009) and missed the show can see this tree on page 33.

Xuan

That's nice, but what about those that don't have it. Seems to me that bonsai enhusiasts shouldn't have to buy something to see what is supposed to be an event that encourages bonsai in the United States. See, it's nothing but a profit motive for a selected few.

Randy

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Re: Getting Ready for the National Exhibition

Post  Victrinia Ridgeway on Wed Jun 16, 2010 8:25 pm

Randy_Davis wrote:
I have to agree with your sentiment, particularly regarding "major" and "minor" awards. On the same line of thought, It seems to me that this Exibition is rather an exclusive afair only for those who were able to attend and not one that promotes Bonsai in our part of the world openly. It's rather disengenuious to say that it is significant and historical when only those who fork out the money to buy the published book of the event will be exposed to what are supposed to be "the finest bonsai in the US" bah humbug. I find this event to be nothing more than an exclusive "club" that has nothing more than a profit motive at it's core and in no way encourages bonsai in the US except for the chosen few.

Just my 2 cents, and I won't be buying the book of pictures.

Randy Davis

This show is not a money making opportunity, in fact I'd be stunned if it managed to pay for itself. Bill charges next to nothing to attend, and incurs a lot of expenses in pulling it all together... but it is an opportunity to have a "Kokofu-ten"-ish show in the US. Photos are not allowed there either... and the annuals which are published for them are far more expensive than the US Exhibition annuals. The motivation for us all should be to aspire to create wonderful expressions of bonsai by Americans and have it accepted in the show. Aj's contribution is a classic of this example, he has many hours in thought and preparation which went into his display... I know I did as well. I didn't get to go either, but I was very glad to have contributed something to the show. I was very encouraged, and frankly learned a lot from the experiance. I shared it in every way I could with those around me, and got a lot of people excited about the progress of bonsai in America. I'd do it all again in a minute... and hope to again.

Just the expense of hauling trees to the exhibition is over $225 per tree. The math will tell you my $50 entrance fee doesn't remotely come close to paying for that. And I'm not sure if you have ever served on a convention commitee before... but the costs of demonstrators, venues, food, set-up, and advertising is great. The book is the one place where he has any chance of recouping anything or remotely paying for his time... which is also considerable. I've also been involved in a book project and know what the costs are there as well... he'll be lucky to get $10 a book... after deducting production/printing/shipping/distribution costs... if that. Putting out a book is also not a money making opportunity. He has everything to lose and little to gain... because he has to put out a huge amount of money up front just to get it to the printer.

So why does he do it? I am not Bill... so I can't say for sure other than the only thing which has been evident to me from the start... passion and pride. Passion for the art he has dedicated his life to in every way, and pride in the progess and artistry of American Bonsai. If we were not ready as a nation... he would not have bothered. But he, more than almost anyone else, knows what's here tucked into gardens most of us will never even see... and he has coaxed these trees out of those gardens for the purpose of giving us all a chance to see them. Whether we take that chance is entirely up to us... but he has done twice, what no one else has ever attempted. To take representative trees from the breadth of one of the world's largest countries, and for two days give everyone access to them.

I'm not getting on you persay... I'm just unwilling to let any inference of insincereity on his part be unanswered. My comment is to provide balance in this conversation for others who might also read it.

On a personal note... having nothing to do with bonsai at all... Paducah KY is a wonderful place to live... ThumbsUp I've only been through there a couple times, but fell in love with it's charms.

Kindest regards,

Victrinia

PS... pardon the bad spelling. Wink

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Re: Getting Ready for the National Exhibition

Post  fiona on Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:17 pm

I know nothing of how this particular exhibition is organised so am not prepared to comment or even hypothesise on that aspect. I will however comment on the wider issue of the "book of the show" as it is a phenomenon that is not restricted to this event or even that continent.

I personally have long been unhappy with the "no photography" rule that is applied to some shows and which seems to serve no practial purpose other than to bestow upon the show a sense of its own importance that it may or may not deserve. My reasons for objecting to the bar on photography are several: first, these are to all intents and purposes amateur events to which people have contributed their trees and time, and the viewing public not only has given the event its entry money but has also often travelled a distance to support the event. To get to the best events in the UK, I can expect to travel between 100 and 400 miles (distances which are minor compared to that travelled to shows within Nth America), and I would expect a little come and go on taking a few pictures for that commitment. I would most certainly expect to photograph any tree of mine that is in the exhibition - some shows do not even allow that after the exhibition has started.

Second, the notion that allowing photographs to be taken during a show means that the aisles will be clogged with people snapping away is quite frankly ridiculous. Are we so inundated at these events that the stewards can't manage that aspect? It would be nice to think so but it isn't the case. If the stewards cant manage it, then the issue surely is with the orgnaisation.

But most crucially, the idea that if you allow people to take photographs they will not then buy the official book of the show is, in my opinion, flawed (and not just in that it gives rise to the accusations of money making that we have seen in this thread.) Of course some people will adopt that stance but to me the crucial difference is this: taking pictures during the event in most cases will amount to nothing more than a handful of snaps - a personal keepsake of one's visit to the event. The book of the show adds to the overall artistic integrity of the event in that it contains exhibition quality trees being artistically displayed and being then photographed artistically by a top quality photographer. I personally am quite happy to pay for that as long as it is in addition to the happy snaps I run off in the course of the exhibition - snaps which, incidentally, I often take to get a close-up of a particular detail or feature and which would not normally appear in the official book.

I would liken it to most of the visits I have made to places like cathedrals and even art galleries. I will take pictures for my own purposes as I go round but I will also buy the official book so I can get the "professional" photos as well.

Unless there is a significant risk of danger to the artefact being photographed, I see no harm in allowing amateur photography. I can however see danger in not allowing picture taking, especially at events that are intended to promote and foster interest in a hobby/pastime/art form or whatever you want to call it, as it may well lead to people not attending.

We need to promote our art as widely as possible and to disallow photograhy for such spurious reasons is to an extent shooting oneself in the foot.

All this of course merely IMVHO but based on having been part of a national show committee which allowed photography and which also promoted a book of the show. I can't see that it did any harm at all.



Please also note that this post is not intended to diminish or criticise the exhibition being referred to in the thread. I am sure this was a great event and one which took a huge amount of time and effort on the part of Bill and his team. I said in an earlier post that I wished I could attend shows like this one across the pond. That was at the time of writing and remains now a genuine sentiment.

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Re: Getting Ready for the National Exhibition

Post  AJ on Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:35 pm

Dale Cochoy wrote:

Arthur,
....and the Container?
Appears to be Robert Wallace?


D.

Yikes! A bad omission on my part and a good catch on yours, Dale. Thanks for the prompt. Yes, that's a wood-fired container by Blue Ridge potter Robert Wallace. My apologies, Robert!

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Re: Getting Ready for the National Exhibition

Post  Victrinia Ridgeway on Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:39 pm

I can totally see your point about the photos... I don't disagree with you at all. It would be nice.... but I don't think it makes the Exhibition less for the fact that it's not. There were areas you could take photos... just not the formal exhibition area. And yes, exhibitors were allowed to take photos of their own displays prior to the opening of the exhibit. Since I wasn't there, Bill did it for me... after I nagged him for a few days...lol

Macros of tree's are always a highlight, I think it would be groovy if shots like that got in the annual as well besides the formal shots. Smile

Kindest regards,

Victrinia

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Re: Getting Ready for the National Exhibition

Post  fiona on Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:00 pm

Victrinia Ridgeway wrote: but I don't think it makes the Exhibition less for the fact that it's not.
It doesn't make the quality of trees on display any the less, for sure. But it does lend an air of the show being too full of its own importance and that can and will put people off attending. This thread suggets that that very perception (I choose the word deliberately) may very well have prevailed and that can't be good for American bonsai, as is also the case for UK bonsai when it happens over here.

Victrinia Ridgeway wrote: Macros of tree's are always a highlight, I think it would be groovy if shots like that got in the annual as well besides the formal shots.
These shots may very well on occasion make it to the book - especially if there is a need to fill space or if the occasional tree has an outstanding feature. And therein lies the rub: I want to take pics such as you mention so that when I get home I can look at them in detail and analyse the feature. It is for me all part of the bonsai learning process. At a show you simply cannot digest everything that you see, and if you are rotten at drawing as I am, then I have no way of recording what I have seen and wish to analyse at a later date.

As I said, as long as there is no risk to the exhibit, why do we need to prevail with this restriction?

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Re: Getting Ready for the National Exhibition

Post  Victrinia Ridgeway on Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:37 pm

I don't think it's a bad question to ask... why it persists... but again, I think we've also become quite spoiled by the access we have to information and images. There is a certain "entitlement" attitude which prevades objectors. Mind you, I'm not speaking of you... but there is that sense of expectation. And frankly it isn't the first, nor the last time, that this discussion will happen.

I don't have any expectation that I am entitled to see photos of the exhibition. It's always a pleasure when one can... but I don't see it as an inherent right as a devotee of the art. It also leaves it up to the exhibitors to post their photos publically or not. Every exhibitor has the right to show their tree as it was displayed in the exhibition, I have no doubt that Rob will show his - when he gets home, even as Aj has shown his. It occurs to me that I did not show mine... so I'll add it here as well. Wink



I think we have forgotten that in the not long distant past, that our access to tree images at shows we did not attend, was largely in the hands of magazine offerings. We bought those magazines... and so we got to see the trees. Now with instant access to information, all of the magazines we once supported suffer greatly. And of course, over the years the costs of attending these shows has also increased greatly... so if I am spending $400+ on admission to attend a show with my husband, it seems pretty natural that I would get to take photos... in a show that only cost $25 (or something like that) for the weekend... I think we need to remember we get what we pay for. At this point, Bill still keeps it all accessible, by keeping attendance costs very low... where else could you have seen masters of such renown as Kobayashi and Marco etc etc... for $25...? But the catch is you have to pay to have an annual. I don't know that that is such a bad deal. Even for the annual and the admission, it's still LESS than an average weekend show admission.

V

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Re: Getting Ready for the National Exhibition

Post  GaryWood on Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:41 pm

Fiona, there has been an ongoing discussion on another forum about the "direction" bonsai is taking in the west with emphasis in the U.S. You make some good points about availability of photos but more important is one show arbitrarily trying to set a standard for this direction without any commentary. Arthur's award is a good example. Whether you like it or not is not an issue but what it conveyed to the judges and why IS. There will probably be dialogue but will it be accessible? Will anyone learn from this? On one end of a balance is Entrepreneurship and the other is Altruism and it would be nice to see them in the middle.
Wood

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Re: Getting Ready for the National Exhibition

Post  jgeanangel on Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:49 am

AJ wrote:

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that a display that I designed and built was given the Ho Yoku Award for the Finest Creative Western Formal Display. I was honored to receive that award and did not think of it in any way as a minor achievement, but my bias there is obvious. I could not possibly have the same clear-eyed objectivity about it as I might have, had I won nothing.

What???...you won the local yocal award Laughing You know I am just kidding...I have been meaning to send you an email this week!! Congratulations!! I expected no less from you!! I very much appreciate the thought and talent that went into your display.

So, do you think next year that in addition to designing the tree, the display, painting, and hauling it all up there and setting it up you could also manage to make the pot, the stand and carve the bear...it would truly be your display at that point:)

Lets go take a walk!!
John

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as to the pictures...

Post  jgeanangel on Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:04 pm

If you want a show that allows people to take pictures quit talking about it and do it. That's all Bill did...no, I don't ultimately know all of Bill's motivations but here is the bottom line. Bill took the initiative to put on this show so the decision about the photography and everything else is his. For me, given Bill's propensity for Japanese Bonsai the decision seems quite understandable.

If you want to make the rules, step up to the plate and organize your own show...otherwise a lot of this sounds like nothing more than a bunch whining.

I haven't made it to either show but I bought two copies of the book from the first show and I will probably do the same this time. I feel it is the very least I can do to support Bill and his efforts.

John

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Re: Getting Ready for the National Exhibition

Post  mike page on Thu Jun 17, 2010 4:36 pm

jgeanangel wrote:If you want a show that allows people to take pictures quit talking about it and do it. That's all Bill did...no, I don't ultimately know all of Bill's motivations but here is the bottom line. Bill took the initiative to put on this show so the decision about the photography and everything else is his. For me, given Bill's propensity for Japanese Bonsai the decision seems quite understandable.

If you want to make the rules, step up to the plate and organize your own show...otherwise a lot of this sounds like nothing more than a bunch whining.

I haven't made it to either show but I bought two copies of the book from the first show and I will probably do the same this time. I feel it is the very least I can do to support Bill and his efforts.

John

John, I agree with you 100%. I went to the first National and would loved to have been able to use my camera. However, I can understand the rule. Bill went way out an a limb to sponsor the show and needed to be able to sell the book. If images were posted all over the internet, sales would have suffered, and I'm sure the publisher had a large minimum number of copies that Bill had to agree to buy. I can also imagine the aisles crowded with photographers. I've been guilty of that.
I'm sorry I couldn't make it to the 2nd National, but I will buy the book as soon as it's available.

Mike

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Re: Getting Ready for the National Exhibition

Post  Rob Kempinski on Thu Jun 17, 2010 7:17 pm

mike page wrote:
jgeanangel wrote:If you want a show that allows people to take pictures quit talking about it and do it. That's all Bill did...no, I don't ultimately know all of Bill's motivations but here is the bottom line. Bill took the initiative to put on this show so the decision about the photography and everything else is his. For me, given Bill's propensity for Japanese Bonsai the decision seems quite understandable.

If you want to make the rules, step up to the plate and organize your own show...otherwise a lot of this sounds like nothing more than a bunch whining.

I haven't made it to either show but I bought two copies of the book from the first show and I will probably do the same this time. I feel it is the very least I can do to support Bill and his efforts.

John

John, I agree with you 100%. I went to the first National and would loved to have been able to use my camera. However, I can understand the rule. Bill went way out an a limb to sponsor the show and needed to be able to sell the book. If images were posted all over the internet, sales would have suffered, and I'm sure the publisher had a large minimum number of copies that Bill had to agree to buy. I can also imagine the aisles crowded with photographers. I've been guilty of that.
I'm sorry I couldn't make it to the 2nd National, but I will buy the book as soon as it's available.

Mike

I'm with John and Mike. If someone invests money and has a chance to make money, that's great. Bonsai needs such entreprenuers and these investors need to be compensated. Keep in mind in order to attract great trees Bill offered prize money - over $8,000 if I recall.

I don't intend to post any tree portraits - I can wait for the book. The last book was very good.
One interesting consideration is the effort entailed in photographing all the exhibit trees. There is no way a hand held camera with ambient lighting is going to adequately convey the beauty of the exhibit trees. All weekend during the show, the exhibit team worked hard to professionally photograph the trees. They had a separate room for the photography, multiple strobe lighting, large backdrop and a large format digital camera body hooked up to a PC.
The photos were superb. Definitely worth the value of the book.

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Re: Getting Ready for the National Exhibition

Post  John Quinn on Fri Jun 18, 2010 12:45 am

Victrinia, I echo your comments on this topic. I hope Bill does make some money for his efforts, though I suspect no one in the US is rich from Bonsai.
Arthur, and all award winners, congrats! cheers


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Re: Getting Ready for the National Exhibition

Post  Ed Trout on Fri Jun 18, 2010 1:10 am

My congratulations to all the exhibitors & award winners. To get trees ready for something like this, and spend money on transportation, and spend the time to get them there is commendable. I planned for month's to have trees there, but things here at home prevented me from going at the last minute. I personally know the hard work and time that Bill put into this Exhibit, and no matter what the financial gains ( or losses ), he made the effort to promote Bonsai in America. I will buy the book, maybe several, because it shows the historical progression we have made in the Art of Bonsai, it shows the beautiful trees of many of my friends, and that makes me proud !

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Re: Getting Ready for the National Exhibition

Post  William N. Valavanis on Wed Jul 07, 2010 11:20 pm

Attached is a link to a YouTube video review of the successful 2nd US National Bonsai Exhibition.

I hope you enjoy the video and that I can welcome you to Rochester in June 2012 for the 3rd US National Bonsai Exhibition.

Bill
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDHALrvp2CI






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2nd US National Exhibition Video

Post  Robert J. Baran on Wed Jul 07, 2010 11:40 pm

Great video, Bill!

Thank-you for letting those of us who couldn't make the show see this wonderful summary. I've also linked the video to the 2nd Exhibition's entry on our Conventions page, http://www.phoenixbonsai.com/Conventions3.html#USNBA .

Thanks again.

Robert J. Baran
Bonsai Researcher and Historian

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Re: Getting Ready for the National Exhibition

Post  Dustin Mann on Wed Jul 07, 2010 11:50 pm

Thank you so very very very much Bill. That video was fantastic, energy- had goosebumps.. Dustin Mann Very Happy Very Happy

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Re: Getting Ready for the National Exhibition

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Thu Jul 08, 2010 1:07 am

Will there be a book?

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Re: Getting Ready for the National Exhibition

Post  William N. Valavanis on Thu Jul 08, 2010 1:34 am

Billy,
Of course there will be a book, just like there was for the 2008 1st US National Bonsai Exhibition which is nearly sold out, but still available ($65). Information on a special pre-publication ($50) offer is attached.

Bill


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Re: Getting Ready for the National Exhibition

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