If I were America’s Funniest Bonsai Blog, I might say that my own association with this club for the last five years has been very good to them. However, as in my marriage, I know I did very well by finding Bay Island Bonsai and Bonsai Boon. I am not officially a member of the club, as I cannot meet the attendance requirements, light as they are. Until I can make nine half-day workshops a year (which I could do in 5 weekends a year), I won’t be able to call myself a full member of the club.
And yet, this has not kept the club from taking me into their hearts and treating me with all the love they give regular members. Maybe more, since it’s so much like a family and I’m not there all the time to get on their nerves!
This year, the club asked me to take the responsibility (ha! I had the easy part) of being auctioneer for the club auction. I have to tell you, if you could have seen all the auction trees, you would wonder what was in store for the exhibit!
We went through the usual steps of loading the trucks with backdrops, trees, stands, and paraphernalia, and driving them to Hayward, CA. Nothing happens, though, until Morten gives his safety speech, in which we learn to walk at a normal pace, never carry more than one tree at a time (and always have both hands on the tree), etc. Then it’s work, work, work.
We would stage the trees in an area close to the truck, where Boon could see what he might want next, as he assembled the jigsaw puzzle in packing the trees so that nothing touched, and nothing moved in transit.
Once at the hall, the auction trees were staged in one area, show trees in another (where people could smash their nut socks with hammers and rub them on the pots), stands underneath, while the backdrops were assembled and the tables draped. Folks, this is no small undertaking for over 100 trees and 73 exhibits! Everyone pitched in and jobs were well delegated. Each job had a “master” and many helpers.
As the setup progress continues, the displays are coming together as final adjustments are made:
The shohin section now occupies the entire first table of the exhibit. Its place of honor makes it the first thing a visitor sees as they come in the door. Inge Woelfel does a wonderful job assembling the exhibit using a combination of her own and others’ trees. She frets a good deal about it but always does a fantastic display.
Photographing a show like this is a real challenge for an amateur photographer like me. Using a borrowed tripod (thanks, Scott!), and camera settings (thanks, Dennis!) I was able to get fairly clear photos without the shadow and washout caused by a flash. Professional photography of all the trees and each display was ongoing throughout the two day event, so the book is well worth waiting for.