*Display Critique* National Show 2018 Entry

This incredible Ponderosa, with a custom container made my Ron Lang, and custom stand created in collaboration with Austin Heitzman, will be Ryan’s entry for the National Show this fall.

For all you Mirai Live diehards - This unique stand is the result of the collaborative session seen on one of the very first live streams -Art of the Stand. Watch the stream to see how bonsai display collaboration goes from idea to reality with Mirai’s incredible collaborators.




What do you all have in the works for the National Show? How do you go about creating an incredible display. What do you look for in a stand to compliment your tree?


Very cool tree and pot, one of my favorites.

I plan on submitting a tree for the National Show, but I haven’t made a final decision on which one yet.


What a Ponderosa! I have needle envy. Amazing pot and stand. It’s a show stopper for sure. Just flat out wow.


I think I can get the general size of this tree from the picture, but @Kendall, do you have any rough estimates?

My thoughts on the composition (as a beginner in the art of display) is that the notion of this tree clinging to the side of a cliff face is very apparent in the display. The pot pairing seems perfect! Such a great compliment to the complex and rugged nature of the trees nebari and bark.

When it comes to the stand, it is almost like an M.C. Escher drawing in where you wonder how it is even structurally sound! That’s super interesting to me. That visual instability compliments that idea of a tree clinging for dear life to a cliffside.

My only critique would be if the stand’s colors are too bold for the composition? The sheen to the stand does contrast the very rough textures present in the pot and bark nicely, but to my untrained eye, I would almost like the stand to be a little less glossy and a more matte finish. Also maybe without the lighter highlights on the stand’s base the color might seem better to me.

Again just my observations as a noob, in no way am I questioning Ryan’s decisions. I had to get really nit picky to find anything to critique. Honestly I love how certain parts of the composition look “unstable” , with the overall visual weight of the composition being balanced!



Really interesting critique! Yeah it was amazing to finally see this stand in person after listening to the two of them talk about it for so long. Austin can be avant-garde, but an incredible craftsman for sure.

If you watch this stream, you will see how big the tree is in comparison to Ryan and Austin. https://live.bonsaimirai.com/archive/video/art-of-the-stand Its around the last 3/4 of the stream that they start talking about designing the stand for this tree!


Awesome will do! Thanks!

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I’d have to agree to risco on this one. Watching the video that you posted Kendall, the slabs of wood on the floor in the workspace (lighter colored ones) seem more in line with the feeling and aesthetic of the container vs. the shine stand. The container appears, to me, to have a very Wild West feeling of age, color and shape that would be accompanied greatly by a stand of unfinished wood—adding to the composition a sense of a world without technology and great advancement. Additionally, I imagine the tree and container’s world to be one of high amounts of dust and grit. The current stand jars me from that feeling. That said, neither are wrong and it looks great. Just my artistic opinion on the story I want to tell vs what Ryan is telling.


This is the kind of thing that makes me cringe. I don’t like critiquing a well thought out design but hear goes. I have to agree with risco and Kip. My eye keeps looking at the color and shining gloss look of the stand. Maybe its just the way the lighting from the picture is making it look more glossy. Maybe a more matt finish and lighter wood could work. The thought behind it is so spot on though that its hard to critique.

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I guess i just don’t think avant gard enoigh. The stand feels to me like it is barely fighting the weight of the rustic pot and masculine tree. Being so fagile in contrast it consistantly makes me want to reach in and take the weight off its shoulders before it colapses. I jst don’t see the balance discussed. Help me out with some pointers, guys. Where am I missing out?


If I recall correctly from that stream, there was a discussion of center section on the front of the pot simulating water, or evidence of water running down. If my recollection is correct (and it is possible it is not, or was in a different stream, I don’t have time to rewatch at the moment), perhaps I can see the the wood grain, gloss, and coloring to be a continuation of the waterfall effect in the pot. Especially the lighter (highlighted) areas narrowing the darker portion, designating it as the ‘water’. But it definitely draws the eye; as far as its compliment or distraction to the design…I am undecided. Great tree, great pot, great stand.

I love the stand, container, & tree combination.

The texture of the container, tree’s bark, pairing is wonderful. I love how the shape, angles, and trunk movement of the tree and display stand dance together. I love how the display table provides life and movement to the overall composition. The gloss people are mentioning provides a brilliant contrast. The stand provides movement, life, almost like energy to match the trunk movement The overall composition is more dynamic.

If I had to give a one word judgement it would be that I like it. Tree, pot & stand. If I had to criticize the stand however, I would say that maybe it is a bit too shiny and that steals some of the spotlight from the tree and pot. Also if the live edges were running all the way down on the sides, not just back it would add some harmony to the roughness of the tree and pot. The overall shape of the stand is great.

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I didn’t see this display in any video’s or pic’s. Did it go to Nationals?

No, he had a tall pine, limber I think. I haven’t seen any photos of the tree but it might be “limber pine 2” on the mirai gallery page. Hopefully someone from mirai can confirm or let us know which tree it was.

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I agree that the stand was too shiny ( and brown). The age of the trunk and the pot warrants a stone slab base for me ( more of a natural look, not avant garde).

Here is Ryan’s entry: