2016 Alabama Bonsai Society Spring Show part 5! What we learned

In addition to the work that is done on the trees to get them ready to show, behind the scenes work is done which rarely shows…unless it’s done wrong.

We’ve historically done a good job with tables; extending the legs with PVC pipes to bring them up another 15″ makes a big difference. Tablecloths, felt runners, and sojii screens transform the space into a great exhibit hall venue.

This year, Kathy Shaner helped us take it up another notch. I served as grunt labor just to stay close to the tips and tidbits she’s always offering to those willing to listen. She’s a great and experienced teacher. Here are a few thoughts that stuck in my mind.
Make straight and even rows:




Make a big statement at the entrance!


Arrange trees to point directionally toward the center of the row.


Arrange smaller trees as 3-point displays. Even if they’re not by the same owner.



Place trees with some presence and visual interest, visible in the far corners, to pull people into and through the display area.

Group smaller trees together so they’re not overpowered by or lost in larger trees. And take it a step further by varying heights and species along the display:



Don’t be afraid to leave some space! Crowded trees are hard to appreciate individually.



Black or brown Sharpie markers are good for touching up ends of bamboo bundles and cuts on new growth.


For consistency, we used dark bamboo cane dividers between displays in the center section, and lighter colored canes around the perimeter.




4 thoughts on “2016 Alabama Bonsai Society Spring Show part 5! What we learned

  1. And your table toppers don’t have any ripples in them. This is one thing that I see that distracts me a lot. I saw quite a bit of it in the pics of the Nationals, and I thought it was unfortunate.

  2. I have viewed many other shows of larger places (on line), and always thought… hummm… the Birmingham show was just as nice and most of the time Better! You all do a Great job!

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