Noelanders Trophy 2013-

I just came back from a European tour and wish to share some of the wonderful energy I saw over there. I did a workshop and photo shoot in Germany, went to see the Noelanders Trophy in Belgium, and worked out an article about the Portland Bonsai Village for Bonsai Focus at their studio in The Hague. And I went to see two operas in Vienna with my aunt. Long trip, but I’ll be posting the bonsai parts of it on the blog in parts over the next week-

It was great to talk with some of the bright lights of the European bonsai world, including David Benevente, Peter Warren, Marc Noelanders, and Mauro Stemberger, and also some of the upcoming artists of the next generation like Michael Tran. Thanks to my friends from the magazines Bonsai Art (Ivo, Tom, Stephan) and Bonsai Focus (Farrand, Rene), and the bonsai studio Bonsai Centrum (Ingo and Wolfgang) all of whom made this trip a delight. Most especially thanks to Heike van Gunst who put together the German leg of the trip. (Heike was the translator of my book Post-Dated into German, which was run as a serial in Bonsai Art magazine; it was very nice to meet her in person.) So it was a great trip to meet some of today’s most wonderful artists, and to also personally thank those who have been working with me virtually on the web for some time now-

It was great fun to be with Ryan Neil for the last part of this trip at Bonsai Focus where he was doing a photo shoot (I did not document that out of respect for Farrand and Rene who will be sharing that in their magazine soon!) So the trip ended up as yet another Portland Bonsai Village experience—thanks, Ryan, once again for being such a sociable and fun companion and for sharing bonsai thoughts about the show, and seeing how it compares to our ideas for the Artisans Cup in Portland this October-

For starters, here’s some photos of some of my favorite trees in the Noelanders Trophy this past weekend, along with some of the more playful elements that make it such a delightful as well as serious show to attend:



  1. Wood says:

    Sir Hawthorne, Oh what fun! Thanks for sharing with us. The bar has been set pretty high with Marc, Boon and Bill, can’t wait for Artisan cup.

  2. Al Polito says:

    That little kingfisher statue caught my eye. Very interesting presentation on many of these beautiful trees. Wondering if the nicer junipers are Shimpaku or native European varieties like Sabina. Any input on that?

    • crataegus says:

      There was a mix of the junipers; for some reason my ‘caption’ option on wordpress was not working as I was trying to give some of that info. There was a mix of sabina and chinensis, about four sabinas in the show in total. Yes, some of the nicer ones were sabina. The first pine was a scots pine collected and styled by David Benevente. The beautiful kingfisher was cast bronze—and we’re trying to get the artist, Henk, to vend at the Artisans Cup!

  3. Thank’s Mike for feeding our need for bonsai doings. I have always enjoyed
    the very creative containers made by ‘Atelier Bonsai Element’ which can be seen on pic 18 from top or 3 from bottom. His blog shows other container made by him.

  4. John DeMaegd says:

    Very cool, and wow! it’s nice to see the inovations that are coming to light in some of the non-oriental Bonsai shows. The art can and should accept the inovations wich are showing up.

    • crataegus says:

      Innovation is essential. This show had a good balance with that and traditional work, I thought. The tricky part is that tradition is and should be a wary animal; a large percentage of artists need to accept a particular innovation before it becomes part of the language of the tradition. My opinion is that this is as it should be. And so there is a lot more experimenting going on than will ever be fully accepted, but that only means we should keep experimenting!—-As long as we’ve done our time learning the tradition, and that is where some may disagree with me. I think the tradition is a gift, and to start experimenting before we’ve spent some time learning it is a disservice. This show had a nice balance with avant-garde work and traditional, which is what I hope we’ll see at the Artisans Cup in Portland this October.

  5. Graham says:

    Welcome back Michael, This was a great tease …….but like many I’m sure…I look forward to the next posts of your trip.
    I enjoy and respect your thoughts on innovation vs. tradition….unfortunately many of us miss out on the traditional aspect 🙂

  6. I think the innovation will catch on if enough people are moved by it, and if it reflects some level of mastery even in its novelty.

  7. Tim Burke says:


  8. Tony Tickle says:

    Michael, great to meet up with you over the pond. Loved your sense of humour and take on our European way of doing stuff. Henk is one amazing bronze artworker, take a look at the time I stayed with hime here:

  9. Sounds like you had a great trip Michael. Can’t wait to hear more about it.

  1. […] Hagedorn has some great photos from the show on his Crataegus Bonsai, including this one where the components seem to be suspended in air. Unfortunately, […]

  2. Lost & Found says:

    […] one that we didn’t show on our now vanished post (see below). The tree was on display at the Noelanders Trophy Exhibition and the image is courtesy Crataegus Bonsai, as are all the images in this post. I don’t know […]

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