yesterday I proudly brought in my Ilex verticillata (urban) Yamadori Kabudachi (five trunks) for the international Bonsai show Noelanders XIX that is staged on 3-4 February in Genk Belgium. I had loaded my Bonsai, wooden slab and accent plant early in the morning and secured everything really good to prevent small incidents that could have big consequences for my Bonsai! And left around 12 for the 2.5-hour boring drive to the enormous Limburg hall in Genk Belgium where the show is staged. I luckily and surprisingly had no traffic jams around Antwerpen and arrived around 3 and went straight in to get a trolly for my stuff and to enter my Bonsai officially and get and sign all the paperwork that goes along with such a big show! I was number 5 or 6 in line to get my Bonsai photographed for the commemorative Noelanders Trophy book by old Bonsai friend Willy Evenepoel so in the meanwhile I could admire all the wonderful Bonsai from all around Europe that was standing all around me on trolleys waiting just like me to be photographed. Luckily there was coffee to warm ourselves up because it was really cold and draughty in this enormous hall where the big doors were constantly opened so that Bonsai merchants and artists alike could bring in their merchandise and Bonsai!
Below: here my Bonsai is waiting to be photographed.
After more than 1,5 hours of waiting and a lot of coffee, it was finally my turn to have my Bonsai photographed so I drove inside the makeshift but very professional studio and prepared my composition in between all the lights. It is always amazing to see just how good your own and others’ Bonsai look on the computer screens after it is lit out properly by Willy. He will adjust everything painstakingly until everything is to his professional eye just perfect…only then will he be satisfied with the result! He even noticed a tinny spider wire hidden between two very small branch tips and made a new picture after it was removed…such a professional! After he was finished I lifted the tree and slab back onto the trolly and drove it, and this was a long walk through this enormous complex, to the exposition area where I had to walk past endless rows of long tables to find my spot to make my composition. As usual, I had lost my map with my precise spot on it! And as always in these cases was it in the last row where I looked! 😉
Below: My composition in place and a bid lost in that still empty enormous hall.
Preparing my composition is always a trill and over before I know it! That’s why I nowadays always take my time to enjoy it more and soak in the positive energy of this great honour! Because even after all those years and many shows it is still a very uplifting and humbling experience to be able to show your creations among so many great Bonsai from other artists to so many Bonsai friends from all around Europe and even the world! I am a blessed man in that way! I made a video of it all and I will shoot some more footage next Sunday when I am there the whole day to meet up with old and new Bonsai friends from all around Europe and to watch all the amazing Bonsai on display in this great event! I will post this video as soon as possible…so watch this space!!!
Hans van Meer