If you entered tree for the Noelanders Trophy and on checking you email this morning you should have received an email for the Secretaris Bonsai of the Event. There will be joy for those who have had bonsai selected and disappointment for the rest.
If you have organised a bonsai exhibition no matter what ‘level’ the show be it club or national the selection process is often fraught and difficult. Informing those who have been successful is easy, letting those who have not been less so. So I was very impressed with the procedure adopted by the organisers of the Noelanders Trophy, here is a sample from the email:
“Reasons for not accepting bonsai are very diverse. Some of these bonsai will become good bonsai in the future, but based on the pictures, they were not yet ready for exhibition. This means that we would like to see these trees again in a few years as participant.
Other bonsai didn’t have enough intrinsic qualities to participate in an international contest, in which we want to surprise the spectators with exceptional trees in their best condition. This is not detrimental to your work nor to the joy that you experience with this bonsai.”
The selectors address two issues:
The first being that the tree is not mature as a bonsai and thus not ready to show. We have been too eager to show trees too early, too little foliage, poor ramification or ‘just been styled’ This is a BIG problem for many bonsai shows particularly when traditionally too few people submit their trees for exhibition, should selectors accept a tree to ‘make up the numbers’ or keep the quality high but have fewer trees? This is NOT the case for the Noelanders Trophy as I am aware that it is massively oversubscribed and can afford to be selective, it IS the premier Bonsai event in Europe after all!
The second issue of “Not upsetting the entrant” by letting them down gently! They may well have worked on the tree for many years, paid for an expensive pot, commissioned a handmade table and the tree has not been accepted “This is not detrimental to your work nor to the joy that you experience with this bonsai.”
Let me put the statement: “we want to surprise the spectators with exceptional trees in their best condition.” into context. If I travel over 1000 miles pay for a ferry, stay in a hotel for three nights, take two days off work and all the expense associated I want to be damn sure that the exhibited trees will be worth the effort. That and the quality and range of traders make the journey more than worthwhile.
So if on this occasion you have not been selected go to the event, see the quality and it will give you something to aim for, because you are worth it.
If you were wondering? Yes… I have had two trees selected.