Author Topic: Golden State Bonsai Federation Convention XXXVI at the Burbank Marriott Hotel  (Read 5390 times)


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GSBF Convention XXXVI – “Bonsai Outside the Box”

Ready for something different in a bonsai learning experience? GSBF Convention XXXVI — “Bonsai Outside the Box” will deliver on October 31 through November 3, 2013, at the Burbank Airport Marriott. As you can guess from the theme, co-chairs Bob Hilvers, Ted Matson, and their crew looked at the traditional schedule, and added some new twists.

That starts right with the nature of our activities. Convention XXXVI will introduce a new concept called the “Artist’s Studio.” The idea is to showcase the full range of our headliners’ talents, skills and knowledge in a series of more intimate, focused interactive activities that offer greater learning opportunities for participants. And, with Peter Warren, Dave DeGroot, and Suthin Sukosolvisit, our headliners are truly outstanding, with each bringing something very different to the program.

One of the new wave of bonsai apprentices, Peter Warren is dedicated to clarifying and refining our understanding of bonsai fundamentals. As he was brand new to bonsai when he started his 5-year apprenticeship with Kunio Kobayashi, he didn’t have to “unlearn” years of doing things the wrong way, but got right to learning classic Japanese bonsai technique. Today, back in his native Britain, he operates Saruyama Bonsai and consults extensively on both bonsai and suiseki. For his Artist Salon, Peter will focus on helping us learn and understand the true Japanese fundamentals of bonsai.

If we had a Ph.D in bonsai, it would be Dave DeGroot. His vast knowledge of the horticultural, artistic and cultural aspects of bonsai set him apart. Best known as curator of the Weyerhaeuser Pacific Rim Collection since it was established in 1989, he is a noted bonsai designer, author (his Basic Bonsai Design is now in its fifth printing) and international lecturer. He began his study of bonsai in 1972, and has sought out the likes of Yasuo Mitsuya, Tatemori Gondo, Hayata Nakayama and Uhaku Sudo in his pursuit of learning various aspects of bonsai technique, design, horticulture and display. For his Artist Salon, Dave will help our own understanding of the how’s and why’s of this art.

Suthin Sukosolvisit: The guy does bonsai on another level. His talent and artistry are truly amazing. A recognized bonsai artist since 1970, he owns and operates Royal Bonsai Garden in Stoughton, Massachusetts. While possibly best known for his shohin, it is really his understanding of and attention to detail that sets Suthin’s trees apart from the rest. (He’s won many major awards, including US National Exhibition Awards for Best Shohin in 2008 and the Grand Prize for a magnificent white pine in 2010.) He not only sees the most interesting lines in trees, he has the skills to manipulate his material to create or enhance them as well. For his Artist Salon, Suthin will help us learn how to achieve a greater level of detail and refinement in our bonsai.

Over the course of our weekend, each featured artist will have a “room” where they will conduct morning and afternoon sessions. These will include both open and closed workshops (with material provided and also BYO tree consulting/work sessions), seminars (covering relevant topics related to technique, horticulture and/or bonsai culture as each artist determines), and critiques (detailed analysis of select trees from the convention display, as well as participants’ trees). The schedule will be set so convention registrants may choose to stay with one artist for multiple sessions, move between open sessions by different artists, or select a mix of sessions with different artists.

Even our feature demonstrations will have an added twist in that we will stage them as part of our dinner entertainment. On Friday evening, our feature artists will outline their design concepts to launch our dinner service. (As another twist, we’re moving all GSBF and convention “business” to our lunches, so our evenings are devoted purely to entertainment—e.g., the demo—and raffle.) The following day, each artist will fulfill those design concepts in their own studio setting. This will allow more thorough, detailed work, along with added opportunities to watch the artist up close.

Now, while the spotlight is on our headliners, we also plan to offer a number of additional workshops, spontaneous demos and interesting seminars, with the goals of providing the highest quality materials and useful learning opportunities. We are very fortunate to be able to feature some extraordinary talents in these added activities, including Italian bonsai artist, Mauro Stemberger, who will be conducting two programs, either two workshops or a workshop and demo, so more people can experience this rising European bonsai master. We also will feature Kathy Shaner, who will give a seminar on “How Bonsai Are Judged.” Dr. Tom Elias will be conducting a seminar on his unique collection of chrysanthemum stones, as well as a comparative critique of Japanese and American suiseki from our display. And, for a real “out of the box” experience, Sean Smith will be conducting a hands-on seminar on how to build kiri-bako, the decorative boxes that are used for precious items like special pots or suiseki.

So, not only will there be chances to add a great piece of stock to your collection, you’ll also have a chance to refine some important skills through classes on wiring by John Doig, soil science by Ryan Nichols and others.

We also will feature an exhibit of selected California masterpiece bonsai, along with a display of trees in the second annual GSBF Judged Bonsai Competition. Our exhibit will also include an extensive display of suiseki and viewing stones that highlight a range of aesthetic tastes in this art. And, for the very serious, we will offer pre-convention collection trips on Wednesday, October 30, one for stones to the Yuha Desert east of San Diego, and one for California junipers near Mojave.

In addition to all this, GSBF Convention XXXVI will also feature a super bonsai vendor bazaar, critiques, styling competitions, collecting trips for California junipers and desert viewing stones, free days at The Huntington, and a Halloween costume party on a party bus tour of Hollywood Macabre. We have a beautifully updated and—at $99/night—very affordable setting at the Burbank Airport Marriott (so it’s very convenient for fly-in attendees). And, only steps away, we’ll have the spacious Convention Center completely to ourselves for everything, including all social functions. We hope you’re ready for something new and exciting in a bonsai convention. Join us for “Bonsai Outside the Box!”

Please print and take to club meetings!!!!!!!


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« Last Edit: April 22, 2013, 08:37 PM by bsgAdmin »


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Sounds like a great affair.


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That sounds AMAZING.  Now I just need a (decent) excuse...


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For those that follow "Social Media" sites. We have started pages on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. They are all still a work in progress but please start visiting and liking/following them.

Like us on Facebook:

Follow us on Twitter:
hashtag: #gsbfcon

Follow us on Pinterest:


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One more update:
Registration opens July 1st. The workshops, seminars, collecting trips and critiques will fill up fast so sign up early!!!


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OK all,
Registration begins at 12 a.m. tonight.
Here is the link:


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GSBF Convention XXXVI: “Outside the Box”

A Unique Experience Awaits You in the Bonsai Artist Studio

Have you ever been disappointed in just how little you can see and learn by watching a bonsai demo
done on a stage?

Tired of paying for a convention and being able to observe only a couple of demos and workshops while
missing out on learning opportunities?

Ever wanted more chances to watch a bonsai master up close, ask questions directly, and interact over
the course of a couple of days vs. a few hurried moments in a typical workshop?

Are you looking for more real focused education on bonsai, including the most current information on both traditional and new training techniques, design theories and horticulture?

Are you looking to broaden your bonsai experience and gain a better understanding of things like stones
and other arts and crafts related to bonsai?

Want a chance to see emerging talents, like Italian bonsai artist, Mauro Stemberger, who will work his
magic on a tree and on his students in both a demo and a workshop?

Want more chances to bring your own trees in for working sessions with a master?

Just want more out of your bonsai convention experience?

This is what we’re going to offer with our headliners, Dave DeGroot, Suthin Sukosolvisit and Peter
Warren, along with the many other talented bonsai artists and teachers who will join them at the Burbank
Airport Marriott on October 31- November 3 for GSBF Convention XXXVI. It’s not too late to register, so
sign up now at either our GSBF or convention websites, as well as via social media.


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3 Days and counting!

Exhibition prep has begun!

[edit: off-site images removed]

More pics here:

For those that can't make it, we will be uploading photos daily to our facebook page so please visit and "like" our page for updates.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2013, 08:16 AM by bsgModerator »

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