on 7 and 8 June, the annual meeting of the Danish Bonsai Association was held in Aalborg, in Northern Jutland (Denmark). I was invited to do a demonstration on the Saturday and a workshop on Sunday. After just a short flight, I arrived early in the afternoon on the Friday before the event, in Copenhagen airport. I was picked up by my Bonsai friend Klaus Buddig and together we started the 5 hour trip to the North of Denmark. Which included a 45-minute catamaran ferry crossing to Jutland. This boat trip was anticipated by me with some horror because I get seasick even writing about it! But I have to admit it was a lot of fun to race across the water on this bed out of hell! And I have to be honest: there is not much that 2 cold beer cant fix!
Above picture: me on the back of this large speedboat (the things I have to go through for this hobby).
Above picture: Klaus Buddig relaxing on the back of the boat.
Above picture: Those mighty twin turbines, created a water spray over 30 meters long, leaving a foam trail that can be seen from an aeroplane!
After a long but pleasant drive, during which, many bonsai talks was spoken, we arrived in Aalborg, one of the main cities in Northern Jutland. The TOMTOM brought us safely to the “Huset” (which means “The House” ) where this event would take place. My dear friend Morten Albek showed use were to park behind the large old building and after we sad our Halloo’s, he let us through a big old gate into a big courtyard like square, that was completely surrounded by this beautiful ocker coloured square shaped building. We arrived right around dinner time and the smell of the barbecue that was going on made my mouth water, but first a beer! There was a large stage were musicians were setting up their instruments for the show that would start in a few hours and in front of that stage, scattered around the square, local people were having a nice dinner, sitting under old Linden trees, that were planted in a circle (like a doughnut). These stunning trees provided some picturesque shades in the setting sunlight and having your dinner under need them observing the atmosphere of the place while listening to some light Jazz and Blues was a real treat for me! It proved to be a great start to a great weekend.
The “Huset” picturesque inner courtyard seen from above. I shoot this picture from a second-floor window where the Shohin exhibition was staged.
Above: picture: The local folks enjoying a lovely dinner, while waiting for the band to start playing.
Above picture: How nice it that on a warm summers night?!
Above: Both pictures above where shoot by me from the Aalborg camping were we stayed, not a bad place either!
After the dinner and some light refreshments, we only had to drive a couple of minutes to reach the “Aalborg Camping” where we all would stay during this weekend. After we enjoyed some more refreshments while sitting outside in the still setting sun, we all went to bed very tired. Next day, it was early out of bed to enjoy a lovely breakfast and then it was off to the “Huset” to start the show!
Above picture: An equally lovely friend dressed in a traditional local dress who helped here during the weekend.
Above picture: This is the tent where the new talent competition was held. It was next to the tent where I was giving mine demonstrating, so every now and then I could catch a glimpse of all those eager, enthusiastic and nervous bonsai lovers at work. This made me smile and it worked very inspiringly for me.
The new talent contest winner was a very new talent, Julie Isager from Keyaki Bonsai Club in Copenhagen. Julie is 26 years old and started to practice bonsai only six months ago. She is a student of my friend Klaus Buddig. The second place was taken by Finn Christensen from the bonsai club Kita in Aalborg. (No third places was chosen, only first and second).
* Above picture: Here I am posing with Klaus Buddig in front of his Yamadori Pinus Sylvestris he so kindly entrusted to me to demonstrate on. In the middle, you can see the design I made for this future Bonsai.
Above picture: The design I made for this old pine.
Above picture: Explaining my plans for this tree to the audience.
*Picture above: I like demonstrations, like this one, where the audience can walk right up to me and ask me questions and see hands on what I am doing. You can see here than the cascading branch is all ready brought down the trunk. The future top section is here still reaching for the sky.
*Above picture: Concentrated and hot at work.
*Above picture: It is always nice to have an extra pair of hands! Erling Klysner did a great job helping me wiring the top and bending it into place. So we could all go to dinner in time!
*Right picture: The finished pre-bonsai for now. The cascading branch needs a sharper bend to the right, just where it appears from behind the main trunk! But because this is it first styling and the branch had come such a long way from where it was originally before all the works started, that this will be don in the future, when the tree is fully recovered from all this stress! The tree’s health should always come first, even in demonstrations!
* Above picture: And then there was Coffey!
On Saturday I had the hard task of judging the bonsai on display in the show. And during the dinner, I was invited on stage to present the award and give some comments to all the winners. I myself was honoured with some lovely words and a bottle of some of the best Cognac I ever sipped (half empty already)! They all sure made me feel very much at home here, really special people indeed!
Above picture: During a break in the gala dinner on Saturday night, a proud Morten Albek received the first prize award for the best Shohin composition in the exhibition.
Winner of the best bonsai in the exhibition was won by Martin Nielsen with a beautiful Juniperus Chinensis.
Below: I had a couple of hours to kill Before the Sunday workshops would begin. So Lona Rasmussen asked me if I would style one off here Yamadori Pinus Sylvestris, she brought along for her own first demo, that she would give that afternoon. So while everybody was busy for a few hours at the annual club meeting on the other side of the venue, I had some nice quiet bonsai time on my own, while working on her little tree in the morning sun with some coffee.
Below: Lone’s Pinus Sylvestris before work began.
Below: Wired and ready to style.
Below: The finished sweat little Literati Pine.
Below: Me and happy Lona Rasmussen with here Pine.
*Picture above: The tent where the Sunday workshop was held.
*Above picture: Here I am working together with Julie Isager on here Yew, she is the winner of the new talent competition. I am sure she has a bright Bonsai future ahead of her!
*Above picture: Aase Wiberg working on here big garden Juniper.
*Above picture: Helping with some final wiring.
Above picture: Peter Landerloos working concentrated on his Yamadori Pine.
*Above 2 pictures: During this Sunday workshop, Klaus Buddig enjoyed himself very much working on the deadwood of his Pine, that I had worked on during my Saturday demo! And I liked to add: he did a really beautiful job!
Then before we all knew it, it was time to say our goodbyes already! I had a great time and made a lot of new friends and was thrilled to spend this long weekend with some old friends! I am sure that this was not the last time I visit beautiful Denmark to do bonsai! Infect: I have already been asked by Morten to do a show he is staging next year!
After the 5 hours long trip to Klaus his great house, I had a good night rest in his famous Bonsai guest room, where many well-known artists have spent the night before me! On Monday we had a wonderfully relaxed day in his garden, enjoying the Sun and each others company, just a brilliant day to finish my wonderful visit to Denmark!
Above picture: For our dinner, Klaus took me to a posh and very exclusive sailboat club in Copenhagen. The view there, overlooking the Sea was really stunning, and the food and cold beer were not too bad either!
Above picture: A beautiful Acer buergerianum raft in Klaus his garden.
Above picture: In Klaus his large garden, I had a great time playing with young “Sheva” a rare Bergen Pichard lady dog….YO SHEVA behave !! I said LADY DOG!!!
Above picture: That’s much better! Isn’t she pretty!
Then it was off to the airport to fly home, another wonderful Bonsai memory came to an end, up to the next one!
Here are the links to the site of the Danish Bonsai association where you can see more pictures of this unique event, my demo and workshop.
*Pictures with a star by Morten Albek.
Hans van Meer.