Bonsai exhibition at N.C. Research Campus Dec 7-8

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 22, 2013

KANNAPOLIS — On Saturday, Dec. 7 and Sunday, Dec. 8, the artistry and beauty of bonsai will come to Kannapolis for the first Winter Silhouette Bonsai Exhibition.
The exhibition will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. both days in the event room and atrium of the first floor of the David H. Murdock Core Laboratory building, 150 N Research Campus Drive on the North Carolina Research Campus. Admission is free.
The event is sponsored by Steven Zeisel, MD, PhD, director of the UNC Chapel Hill Nutrition Research Institute, with additional support from the NC Research Campus and the Cabarrus County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“This is the first major show in the Charlotte area, and the only show in the region that is being held in the winter,” Zeisel shared. “In a winter show, many of the trees have lost their leaves. So you can see all of the branch structures and how delicate they are. You will be able to see the careful work that goes into creating a tree.”
Zeisel is proud to welcome American Bonsai Master William Valavanis as a special guest artist. Valavanis is an internationally recognized bonsai speaker and author. He is also proprietor of the International Bonsai Arboretum in Rochester, New York and the publisher of International Bonsai magazine.
Valavanis will be giving a demonstration from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7 showing how to create a Japanese maple bonsai, and he will be choosing the exhibition’s “best of show” on Sunday morning. Ed Lauer and Harold Johnson of the Triangle Bonsai Club will demonstrate the process of creating a bonsai on Sunday afternoon from 2 to 5 p.m. The Valavanis and the Lauer/Johnson demonstrations are both free and open to the public.
More than 30 exhibitors from throughout North and South Carolina, Virginia and as far away as New York will be displaying their bonsai. Many of them will be representing the bonsai clubs that are active throughout the Southeast.
Of his collection of 80 trees, Zeisel has chosen a few that he will be showing at the exhibition. “Bonsai is part art and part gardening,” he said. “When people come to the show, they will see several bonsai designed as forests to be more like a scene. The rest of the bonsai will be individual trees that portray an image of a larger tree that you might see in nature.”
People attending the exhibition can also vote for their favorite bonsai. The People’s Choice Award will be announced Sunday afternoon.
For those who are in need of bonsai supplies or who want to try bonsai for the first time, several vendors will be on hand with tools, trees and pots. There will also be a banquet Saturday night that will give bonsai enthusiasts, exhibitors and vendors time to network. The banquet is $20 per person. Reservations are required and can be made at
“We are hoping that people from Kannapolis, Concord, Salisbury and Charlotte will come to the exhibition and get a feeling for what bonsai is,” Zeisel said. “If you like gardening, art and enjoy working with your hands, it is a nice hobby to have.”
To find more information, see the full agenda or make banquet reservations, visit
Bonsai is believed to have started as penjing in the Han Dynasty of China (206 BC to 220 AD). The Japanese adopted penjing creating their own school that became known as Bonsai. The Japanese style of bonsai was influenced by Zen Buddhism and evolved into a more structured and formal art. Bonsai, which means tree in a shallow pot, seeks to depict trees in miniature as they would appear in nature using specimens of full-sized trees that are grown using techniques like pruning and root reduction to keep them dwarfed but yet reflective of their full-grown counterparts. Bonsai trees can take years of attention and design before they achieve the bonsai artist’s vision. There are many Bonsai traditions in Asian countries, and the art continues to gain popularity throughout the world.