The 2015 Shohin UK event was a resounding success at the weekend and delivered clear evidence that the standard of the smaller sizes of bonsai has yet again run itself further up the bonsai flagpole in the past twelve months.
The village hall at Failand near Bristol attracted nearly 200 visitors from as far afield as Paris and Paisley to see this quietly understated but nevertheless highly professional exhibition. This throng (which had significantly increased since two years ago) were augmented by ten traders all offering visitors a fine range of trees, pots and other bonsai items.
The stars of the show were of course the bonsai. A total of eighty trees were on show, spread among twenty six displays.
And what superb displays they were too.
It was interesting to read the “mission statement” on the BSA’s banner which states that we intended to push the standard of shohin bonsai in the UK up. There is no doubt that this has happened and I’d like to think that the BSA and now the BSB has played a major part in that.
With professional hands at the rudder in the form of Marco Invernizzi, John Armitage and Peter Warren, the shohin ship has hoisted its sails in all sorts of new ports of call. And it has picked up crews along the way of seasoned hands and new conscripts alike. Those who now take up the king’s shohin may be a mixed bunch, but all seem determined to set a course for excellence.
But the success of smaller sized bonsai in the past few years has also been due in some considerable part to Mark and Ritta Cooper. I cannot remember when I first became aware of their presence in the bonsai armada, but I have absolutely no uncertainty about their impact. If Messrs Warren, Armitage and Invernizzi are the captains, then the Coopers most certainly are the admirals of the fleet. Their high level of knowledge, the sheer quality of their trees combined with their drive and enthusiasm is a catalyst for all things good in shohin circles. It is no accident that Shohin UK has set itself up as a beacon.
As yet there is no promise of a repeat event in two years time, but I am sure everyone in attendance – exhibitors, traders and visitors alike – sincerely hope that we see a Shohin UK 3.
But enough of this merry badinage and on to the pictures from the show so all you poor ratings who weren’t able to make it can at least live the show vicariously
And before anyone asks, I have absolutely no idea why I have elected to use so much sea-based imagery in this article. I must have had too much time to sit and contemplate my naval today.
And the winners are…
John Armitage’s Best Shohin Display
John also won Best Shohin award for this superb juniper
Kit Bowns Best Mame display
Award for Best Mame went to Kit Bowns for this larch
John Pitt’s fabulous Best Chuhin display
Steve Tolley’s sublime Itoigawa juniper – winner of Best Chuhin
Steve McKee’s Best Tress and Pot combination (with the artist lurking in the background)
The Runners Up
Award of Merit – Shohin Display went to this exhibit of Andy Jordan’s
Martin Shepherd’s Award of Merit in the Chuhin category
Thanks to Mark R Cooper for the pics – mine were all rubbish