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  • Writer's pictureTom Lau

GSBF Riverside Convention 2017

Its been a whirlwind of a month! Work and VEX Robotics Competitions have been taking up most of my free time. But, I'm still alive and posting when I get a chance to sit in front of my personal laptop.

With a VEX Robotics Competition on the same weekend of GSBF Convention all hopes of visiting on Friday, Saturday and Sunday was pretty much out the door. So I made a deal with my students to let me have Thursday off so I could come down to Riverside for the half the day to see what was going on.

Big Joe and I arrived to the convention center around 7:00am and when to a local cafe for breakfast before the big show. When we arrived we were greeted by some familiar faces. Janice Hale and Fred Miyahara. We quickly got the lay of the land and started to just walk into the courses as they just started.

Peter Macasieb just started his talk about shohin Trident Maple in his full session. Not much as in terms of wiring and shaping but more the overall lessons to maintaining and timing of Trident's in Southern California and the overall care for shohin size. Not bad for one of the first courses.

Next door was Boon Manakitivipart from the Hayward area. I been following Boon for several years now and had the chance to visit his nursery this past summer. But he was not in that time. He was doing a bring your own tree session. Its always fresh to get another perspective on your tree with a master's eye. It was good size session as I just sailed through.

The exhibit area was just setup as we started to visit. They were still photographing some of the trees as we walked through.

Clark Bonsai Collection - California Juniper

Memory of John Naka - Japanese Black Pine

Richard Ota - Shimpaku Juniper

David Nguy - California Juniper

David Nguy - Deadwood Upclose

Michael Sykes - Serissa

Michael Sykes - Procumbens Nana Juniper

Michael Sykes - Composition

Rene Chan - Japanese Black Pine

Cora B Tran - Prostrata Juniper

Cora B Tran - Live Vein Upclose

Carol Roberts - California Juniper

Louis Camerota - Satsuki Azalea

Michael Jonas - California Juniper

Jason Chan - California Juniper

Tom Vuong - Cork Pine

Peter Macasieb - Black Pine, Itoigawa Juniper, Princess Persimmon, Pyracantha, Burt Davii, and Tosho Juniper

Peter Macasieb - Princess Persimmon

Peter Macasieb - Black Pine

Peter Macasieb - Tosho Juniper

Soung Shin - Protrata Juniper

Patrick Shiao - Japanese Black Pine

Frank Goya - Saikei

Boon Manakitivipart - Shimpaku Juniper

Bob Shimon - San Jose Juniper

Hank Faucett - California Juniper

Elaine Okine - Chinese Elm

Hong Pham - Prostrata Juniper

Soung Shin taking photos of the exhibit trees.

Tak Shimazu - Shimpaku Juniper

June Nguy - Olive

Yamaguchi Nursery - Japanese Black Pine

Richard Ota - Shimpaku Juniper

Cary and Steve Valentine guards for the Judged Exhibit. Cary had someone carve this pumpkin for this event. I think its really cool. When we arrived 90% of the trees were not ready yet. I know so other people got good photos of this area.

Heading to the vendor area, I found some familiar faces. Happened to walk into Lindsay Shiba, Ed and Linda Clark from Lindsay California. The Clark's are the greatest nursery host that I know of. If you have a chance you should go up and visit them. Be forewarned you will not come back emptied handed.

New at GSBF for the first time is American Bonsai Tool from Florida. Cullien Mariacher in red is the founder of the tool company. Its great to know that this company all started with finding quality tools he could obtain at an affordable price range.

Here are some of the selection of tools he had during Thursday. By the time I left on Thursday afternoon, I had a feeling he would be close to selling out before he left the show.

Some of the concave cutters he had. Some straight ones and rounded ones.

What really got me at the whole show was this business card. You all have that diameter of wire you always use and of course you bought like 2Kg of it years ago and now you lost the size tag and need more! Cullien's card is a lifesaver! I quickly got one and put it into my wire caddy at home.

What really stood out in his table was acutally not the tools but the sharpers he had. Sharpers really haven't changed much since sword making days. And of course those rounded concave cutters are a pain in the butt to sharpen or even hone. But Cullien's design of this rounded sharper is the ideal tool! Big Joe is a tool man and quickly picked one up. I'm probably going to write a blog article about it once he experiences it.

Quick photo of Jim Gremel from Northern California doing a session on Cedars.

A newer vendor at this year convention was Dung Nguyen. He been selling on Facebook and other online resources. If you are looking for imported akadama or Kaneshin brand tools this guy is the man.

Another staple at show is Barry Altshule of Legacy Oak was also selling at the show. He was selling a variety of plant material.

In the back ground is Javier Vallin also vending with Barry at this show. You can tell these guys are interested at this pine in the foreground.

Just walked up and Bob Hilvers making faces for the camera. You know I can't say "No" to candied photos!

Howie Kawahara was just setting up as I walked by. Howie has been selling a variety of tools in the bonsai circuit for a bit. Howie usually has pretty good prices check him out next time when he has a table.

I'm not to sure who this lady is but I know she was helping out Richard Ota at the show. These plants really pretty spot on for well taken care trees.

These guys....Its amazing that everybody has so much fun even at the vending areas. Gary Ishi, Mel Ikeda and Lindsay Shiba hanging loose.

Tom Kakita from Chikugo-en Nursery holding down the fort until Gary gets back.

Yes, I'm tiny compared to 7+feet Nathan Simmon. If he does not have a pot for you it can be shipped for a price. Nathan had one of the largest pot selection I have ever witnessed in a long time. Sadly, to say Nathan did not have a long unglazed rectangular pot for a Dawn Redwood I have ready for a bonsai pot.

Gary Lai another local cornerstone of the vending world. Gary has some of the most beautiful Burt Davyii I have seen. If you looking for a Burt Davyii go call Gary he has them.

David Knittle from back East is a stand maker for us bonsai folks. I been following David for a couple years now and almost ready to pull the trigger for a 3 point shohin display stand. Hey David, I'm going to call you soon!

Bob Shimon from Mendocino Coast area. Bob is known for collected Redwood which you see next to him and pygmy cypress some photos below.

I inquired about two of his redwoods. But with some probing I have a feeling they may not do too well in my microclimate of Southern California. They do look pretty and for the price was not too crazy to try one out.

What I really wanted was a pygmy cypress pictured above. He had a total of 8 of them at the show and I wanted to take one home with me. The problem is that none of them spoke to me. Usually, one tree cries out to me saying, "take me home with you!"

One of my favorite local potter is Dick Ryerson. He has probably some of the best cascade style pots in the area. The size and balance just right for those larger size semi cascade or cascade trees. He also has some of the prettiest blue-green glaze that not Oribe tone.

One of the last vendors I visited was Scott Chadd and Bolet Salvador from Lotus Bonsai in the Sacramento area. He had one really need fused Trident Maple with about 150 saplings all fused as one trunk. I hope that tree found a new home at the show.

Tom Vuong and Doyle Saito are the craziest two people that was willing to take a selfie with me!

Tak Shimazu and his wife finally together long enough for me to snap a photo of them. I literally stood around for 35minutes waiting for both of them to show up at the booth together. Mel help round them up for me.

Ran into Ted Matson on the way out. He was about to start his session on shohin Japanese Black Pine. By the way, thats "Big Joe" so to be called "Medium Joe".

The last showmen I saw was good olde Michael Sykes. He was next door to Ted as I ran out. He had some of the best Foemina prebonsai material I have seen in along time. He actually started all 5 trees from 15+ gallon containers about 5 years ago. These trees are ready to become superstars.

So much things left to see, but sadly my time at the convention was short due to work related obligations. But, I know there are other people have already posted some great photos of the Judged exhibit the Suiseki Exhibit and the Headlines of the convention. Maybe I'll have to make a run at next year convention back in Sacramento!

I'll leave you guys with something I learned from the convention. Above is a photo of toyonishiki quince from Tak Shimazu. Toyonishiki is a variety of quince that has a natural possibility to have 3 colors on its petal. (red, pink, and white)

Here we have nichigetusei quince which looks identical to toyonishiki. Tak explains that toyonishiki variety white flowers has the ability to slow change from white to pink. While the nichigetusei flower variety colors will stay the same and will not change as the flower petal ages. Pretty neat huh?!

Yes, Tak Shimazu was selling both variety at the convention! Only 4 pots rolled up as I happened to show up to take Tak's photo. You know one of them came home with me. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this long post. Until the next outting!

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