Shin gyo so

The first time I heard this term I was fascinated by the sound of it: “shin gyo so”…it sounds so poetic, so mysterious. And then someone tried to explain its meaning to me, and I didn’t understand a thing! Having a western mindset we are prone to learn from textbooks, from theoretical rules which make it difficult to find the “right” meaning for this term. I will try to explain it in my own way. Let me tell you that it comes from old China and has been adapted in Japan for the traditional Arts as tea ceremony, ikebana, shodo, but also in architecture for the structure of houses as well as in gardening layouts. This term can be found also in Karate, Kyudo, Bushido and much more. I think “shin gyo so” is omnipresent in almost every Japanese form of art.

But what is “shin gyo so” really? Well, I am unable to explain it in a philosophical or intellectual sort of way, but from my observations and search, I have come to this interpretation:
Shin = formal, knowledge, elaborate, regular.
Gyo = informal, technique, partly simplified, semi-cursive.
So = free, sensitivity, greatly simplified, cursive.

I found lots of examplesthat can help understand this not so easy concept and although I would like to have more sensitivity in order to learn more, I have to start from the regular basic. My idea of “shin gyo so” is pretty much what Sensei Fukita explained at his Demo/Workshop: “Knowledge, technique and sensibility are the three ingredients for an excellent bonsai artist.” Therefore I see knowledge as shin, technique as gyo and sensibility as so!
pots_shingyoso</a

On the other hand my Sensei Nicola Crivelli explained it to me in relation to the bonsai pot: Shin –formal – for all conifer mostly pine, styles like Chokkan and Moyogi and unglazed pots with rigid lines as rectangular and squared ones can be. Gyo – informal – for deciduous but also some slender, feminine shimpaku junipers; for Kengai and han-kengai style and sometimes also Moyogi; for glazed, oval, soft and sinous pots. So – free – refers for shitakusas and kusamonos but also to bunjin pine, for round and irregular pots.

shin gyo so

As you can see this chart is not complete (some styles are missing, the pots feet are missing, and some other pot forms are also missing), but as a beginner it seems promising and helps me to choose the right pot for my plants.

Shin gyo so can also refer to Shodo (calligraphy) as Shin for regular, gyo for semi-cursive and so for cursive

shingyoso_shodo

In Kyudo (the art of archery) Shin Gyo So can be defined as follows:
Shin means following the truth. It means that the fundamentals of shooting should be diligently and scrupulously followed.
Gyo means carrying out the truth. It means that the shooting should obey true principles.
So means form as nature. It means that the shooting should be natural and in harmony with all things.
(Source: Kyudo Genève)

This is a very rudimental way to explain the principal of shin gyo so (doesn’t is sound great?).

…love, Melanie!

My local bonsai club

consideration and discussion

2013 is my „Bonsai year“! Let me explain: bonsai university, bonsai holidays, bonsai purchase, bonsai writing, bonsai magazines, bonsai plans for next year….do I miss something? Yes, the only thing I missed was bonsai club. Not any more, I found a local Bonsai Club, Bonsaifreunde Emmenthal, that welcomed me on the exactly the same day they had to move in another location. Well at least my new creation from Sensei Fukita has put under the magnifying glass and discussed and considered.
The members are easy going and fun to be with, happy to be part of it.

…love, Melanie!

Bonsai Summer Festival: Part 3

Summer Bonsai Festival 

In my previous post I wrote about the Summer bonsai Festival organized by the Nippon Bonsai Sakka Kyookai Europe (NBSKE) of wich I have been a member for a couple of months and am so excited to be part of. If you missed my previous post go to Part 1 and Part 2 to see more.

The last part of the week was dedicated to the National Congress of the NBSKE. Again the trees and compositions were rearranged, and the focus of this last part of the week went to the real art of Bonsai: Improve your bonsai with Sensei Isao Fukita; how to set up the Tokonoma; demonstration of bonsai technique with the contribution of the expert members of NBSKE and Sensei Fukita; for those interested teacher Fabio Smolari did some Taiji in the morning and prof. Aldo Tollini gave a very interesting conference on the Arts and ways of Japanese culture.
 
Well, since Sensei Fukita was there, I tried to apply my very sparse Japanese to impress, but I grandly failed with pleasant appreciation from his side: I told him “kombawa” instead of “domo arigato”. For the record: good night instead of thank you! He laughed with affection!

Of course the new shimpaku bought at Otti’s nursery had to be restyled, and Sensei Fukita did a great job, well… what else could one expect! Sensei Isao Fukita  was born in 1966 in Hirosaki in the province of Aomori. In 1983 he became a pupil of Sensei Kunio Kobayashi at Shunkaen. In 1990, after the loss of his father, he had to leave Shunkaen and returned home to carry on the family tradition as bonsai Master in Kashoen. At the Nihon Bonsai Sakufu-Ten he received, for three consecutive years (1994-1996) the Association Hana Ippai first prize, Satsuki section. In 1998  he received the award from the Mainichi Shinbun for first style Bunjin at the Sakufu-Ten. In the same year he travels to San Francisco to give Bonsai conferences. In 1999, at the Sakufu-Ten he archives the award from the Japanese Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.

It was nice to see a Japanese sensei at work, he sweated a lot bending two pinus silvestris!
After dinner Prof. Aldo Tollini, a great expert of Japanese culture and our translator, held a really interesting conference about the arts and ways of Japanese culture. “le arti e le vie nella cultura giapponese” the Arts and Ways in japanese culture. Basically; the perfecting of the imperfect, the path of the art brings illumination, the heart searches for perfection in exterior forms, the correct exterior form corrects the heart. The concept of wabi, the Kibishiza drama. Really interesting.
 IMG_5012
Saturday, a very interesting conference/exchange of opinions about the preparation of the Tokonoma. I am sure everybody knows what a Tokonoma is. In English, Tokonoma is usually called alcove (quelle: Wikipedia). For bonsai enthusiasts a display in the Tokonoma should be the ultimate goal while planning the plant. When a composition is finished/styled/restyled or even just preparing for the next show, it should be displayed in the Tokonoma to see the flaws and qualities of the plant, for the choice of the right shitakusa (accent plant) and the kakejiku (Japanese scroll painting or calligraphy), in order to choose the right table or jiita (a wooden or bamboo flowerpot saucer). 11 exhibitors and master members presented their own interpretations in the Tokonoma.  Once more, a very interesting exchange of opinions, and the President of NBSKE Lorenzo Agnoletti recited a poem? Very touching.
 
I travelled home on Sunday and missed the demo of my Sensei Nicola Crivelli and a Yamadori workshop with Lorenzo Agnoletti but my new friends told me it was really special.
This was my 3 part series on the Bonsai Summer Festival. Hope you all enjoyed it and hope I brought you some japanese bonsai culture in your heart and in your soul.
 
I had a wonderfull week, I meet lots of lovely people, I learnes su much about bonsai art, I really had a great time and wanted to thank all the members of NBSKE for organizing such an amazing event. I really hope to repeat this experiance also next week.
 
….love, Melanie!
IMG_4121 

Bonsai holidays in Italy

Summer Bonsai Festival

Tomorow I will be at the NBSKE Summer Bonsai Festival at Fai della Paganella (Italy, Trentino) for a hole week. An entire week only of bonsai: bonsai style, bonsai care, pot for bonsai, bonsai presentation, bonsai in the wild. Lucky me, eh!

First a couple of information about the NBSKE, the International Nippon Bonsai Sakka Kyookai Europe (NBSKE) was created in the year 2000 as a result of the will of Nippon Bonsai Sakka Kyookai Japan, which identified some European partners as suitable to spread the traditional Japanese bonsai tree and its ancient arts to Europe.
To accomplish this goal, the Association organizes activities which concern the study of aesthetics and cultivation techniques of the bonsai tree as well as its exhibition in a Tokonoma, and the traditional related arts.
The Japanese Headquarters support the Association during the main events and contributes to its cultural growth by sending its eminent masters.
As the Association has educational and cultural goals, competition in any form is not included in the activities.
(source: NBSKE Homepage)

During this week I will participate at different workshops, witch by the way are free, and I am really excited about the upcoming week.

On Saturday there will be a Workshop on a Scott Pine (pinus silvestris) with Paolo Giai. I met Paolo at the Swiss Bonsai Show this spring when he made a demo about Kusamono, I already wrote about it in a previous post. I am really happy to meet Paolo again.
On Sunday another WorkShop on shimpaku juniper this time with Nicola “Kitora” Crivelli, my Master and a really talented artist. I wrote about him also in previous posts.
On Monday a Workshop on cultivating a bonsai from a seed with Adriano Nolan. Curious about this one.
Tuesday and Wednesday I didn’t book any workshop but, me and Nicola will make visit at Othmar Auer, another great artist and also one of the founder of the NBSKE.
On Thursday a Workshop on bonsai pots with Ivan Carino. I am really interested in this one because is absolutely the first time ever that I will create a bonsai pot!
On Friday the “piece de resistence”! A Workshop with Japanese guest Mr. Isao Fukita. In this workshop the Master will give advice about cultivation and the artistical choices of the participant’s plants.

ulmus parvifolia

ulmus parvifolia

european beech

european beech

callicarpa japonica

callicarpa japonica

I choosen to bring only deciduous with me: a beautyberry (callicarpa japonica), a european beech (fagus sylvatica) and an chinese eml (ulmus parvifolia). I did’nt understand if I can do all of them or only one. With help of other members and also of my Master I will choose one of the three if necessary.
On Saturday there will be a demonstration about assembly of a Tokonoma with the senior members and the Japanese guest Mr. Isao Fukita. And later on the Assembly of the Association with concluding dinner.

Well, as you can tell there is a lot to work but also lot to learn and honestly, I am really out of my sucks!

I will post after this week some more information but I will be posting on Facebook and Instagram so follow me!

…,love, Melanie!

 

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