Great times in Czech Republic - A Personal View
by Enrique Castano Photograph by Walter Pall
This year I was invited again to be a demonstrator for the Czech Bonsai Association (CBA) along with others like Walter Pall as a key speaker and demonstrator, Vladimír Ondejčík, Uwe Krötenheerdt, Kestutis Ptakauskas, Tomaž Kovcza, Lukáš Sirotný, Josef Soukal, Luboš Masař, Milan Karpíšek a Erik Křižovenský.
The event this year was very well carried out and organized by Václav Novák, the president of CBA. The exhibit had very interesting material with a good mix of sizes and styles from very talented individuals. I would highly recommend this event for anyone, which is always held in a different city to keep all clubs in the Czech Republic quite happy.
But what is the tale to tell?
Well for me it started traveling from Prague to Decin, the city where the event was held. I took my wife and baby soon to the event, which meant taking two big suit cases for all. The travel was done by train and once we arrived to the city it was an easy walk to the hotel.
Once at the motel, I got a call from my friend Václav to see if all is well, and to let me know that he forgot his tools, if I needed to use my own. Well, since I did not had a tree at that point, no really. So after feeding a hungry child we walked to the exhibition where everything was being set up. I chose a small juniper that had a hidden structure and would require few tools, mostly requiring just some pruning and wiring and wiring and wiring.
Later the Inauguration took place and a good transformation of everyone from shorts into suits took place in just a few minutes. Very nice classical guitar music set the mood for all to come in and join in and after a few minutes we started with some wine while we walked through the exhibit.
The next day was already a long day, with many demos by the people from the Czech Republic. It also gave me a chance to go through all the trees, which we would have to judge later on. Walter had a nice system for the judging and after some running around we had a winner. It was interesting that we all selected a shohin as the winner. Rarely are they chosen, but I was very happy with this. First the detail work was clear, the trees were well exhibited and everything gave a good feeling. Also, all the hype these days is on larger trees and people are forgetting how great small bonsai can be.
Of course that day I began having an eye infection. By the next day it was not so good at all. I told Václav that my demo tree would be more of a two dimensional piece! For the demo I knew that the main problem would be setting all the branches, and that the allotted 4 hours would not be enough time to set everything in a relaxed manner. Walter went around and, since everybody brought rough material, he mentioned that at the end of the demo my tree should look the best as if it had some work done already. "thanks Walter!!"
Time passed by very quickly, as always when one is having fun, so when I soon noticed I had only 10 minutes left to finish, I set the branches, moss, clean the pot etc. I then took two steps back, and that was it. People were happy with it and so was I. Walter came around and mentioned that as he predicted it was the best looking tree after the demo. "Thanks Walter!!!" Of course this was a small tree with some potential, and most of the other big monsters will develop a lot more in years to come and will become good bonsai.
After that it was time to change and get everything ready for dinner. After the demos and all the official duties we were half starved! We had our food and I left early, but I'm told it continued well into the early hours of the next day. Surprisingly, everyone was there on time at 9am!
I have been going to this exhibit for the last few years and I must say that a lot of talent is coming out of the Czech Republic. I look forward to the future in bonsai for this country.The ExhibitPhotograph by Enrique CastanoPhotograph by Enrique CastanoPhotograph by Walter PallThe BonsaiPhotograph by Enrique CastanoPhotograph by Enrique CastanoPhotograph by Walter PallPhotograph by Walter PallPhotograph by Walter PallThe PeoplePhotograph by Enrique CastanoPhotograph by Enrique CastanoPhotograph by Enrique Castano**For more photographs of this exhibit, see Water Pall's Travelogues at: http://walter-pall-travelogues.blogspot ... chive.html