The week leading up to our Azalea show was very busy. Michael James, a few volunteers and I worked all week to get the trees prepped and on display. I have been learning a great deal about properly displaying bonsai–in this case, Azaleas at peak bloom.
When displaying bonsai, the artist must take many factors into consideration. He or she must consider the natural movement of the tree, how the eye follows it, and which stand would best accentuate the elegance of its flowers. We must also consider the perfect height at which to view the bonsai in order to best highlight a strong base (“Nebari”) and natural taper. Bonsai are often displayed with small accent plants (“Kusamono”) as well. At the museum, Young Choe composes all our Kusamono, and she composed all the accent plants at our Azalea show.
We placed our three most spectacular Azalea trees at critical points of the display: the first tree of the display, the first tree you see when you turn the corner, and the last tree of the display. We then placed the other trees in the exhibit according to their height, styles, and bloom shade. We then placed Kusamono strategically throughout, adding a finishing touch. When the display was fully assembled, it was a truly spectacular sight.