Thursday, 30 October 2014

Sadness as Shiten Standards Slip - StoneMonkey & Sam's Slippery Slope to Seclusion

Houston we have a problem, it seems that despite the best efforts of the founders of Shiten (a contradiction in terms we know) the new comers continue to disregard our principles of bonsai not being taken seriously.

Despite my misgivings as Chair of Shiten we did open membership to two others, Stonemonkey and Spanglish Speaking Sam.  They have been in membership for only a couple of months and already they are damaging out reputation.

First of all Sam gets selected to represent the UK at the EBA new comers competition in Vilnius next September, I ask you how can someone who hardly speaks proper English like wot I do represent the UK, maybe he should be flying the Gibraltar flag as a compromise!!

Now we are informed that our Shiten pot maker has been accepted to compete at the prestigious Gafu-Ten* in Japan, he has been accepted to enter some of his Shiten pots in the glazed and unglazed sections of the exhibition. 
As a consequence of these actions the senior members of Shiten must consider if they are excluded from membership this wonderful Club.  It seems that these 2 “lost souls” do not realise what privileged company they are in as we are getting daily requests to be “converted to Shiten”.  Maybe we should return to our roots as the two original members.

We will see how things progress but keep a watching brief on their future behaviour as we have Shiten Standards to maintain.

(*When I first heard about this I thought it was “Gaff-Ten” – the Bonsai equivalent of the Razzies)

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Shiten Senior Storey Shows Scousers Some Style, Shiten's Shropshire Stalker Swoons!

As part of Shiten’s outreach teaching programme, Leader Les selflessly (or so he says) brought his wisdom, and the Shiten Way, to an unexpected audience! 
While he was on a family trip oop norf, Shiten's Chairman deigned* to visit the Wirral Bonsai Society's workshop at the Gordale Garden Centre where he was able to preach his Shiten teaching to unconverted or uninitiated in the ways of Les-o-Storey.  Unlike the radicalized clerics in the news, Sensai Storey preaches our love and passion for the trees, not trouble.  Egoless (a bit like Legolas but not quite as pretty) and cast free from his political chains he helped restore the “Inner Bonsai Karma” that many hobbyists lack these days.  Shiten from the Gob-shite, powerful voodoo indeed!
For those of you who thought that Beatle-mania was a thing of the past the Screaming Sixties were once again with us as one of Shiten's groupies from Shropshire was delighted to meet her Scouse God texting “I’ve met Shiten’s Les Storey!”  Once this poor lady’s pulse had steadied our Shiten Sensai gave her his opinion and design thoughts on a Scouse Olive that she had brought along to get advice/work on. Once the headiness of meeting her idol had worn off (about 25 seconds so I heard) it was hard at work and below is a few shots her hard at it!

*For those of you, like me, who had no idea what this word meant:-
    verb   do something that one considers to be beneath one's dignity.

All photos “kindly” robbed from Jim the Lad, WBS official photographer.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Sceptics Surprise at Successful Shiten Securing Second Season

Look who’s 1 today! Although it was an uncomfortable pregnancy and a painful birth we made sure that by hook or by crook we arrived on time so as not to let Mark & Ming down at their wonderful Heathrow Bonsai Show in 2013. Although let down by Emperor Baldytine (possibly suffering from post-pregnancy blues), Simon and “Shiten Sam” (on loan from the MBS at the time) flew the flag that marked the start of the Shiten Revolution!

The arrival of the SBS wasn’t all plane sailing and although a slight departure from the norm it has proved a runway success. We seem to have “struck a chord” within the Bonsai Community in general and of late the gates have opened with many International and Domestic arrivals checking in on our Facebook page. Although there have been delays and cancelations along the way we have stayed on course and true to our flight plan which in these turbulent times for the hobby is a real achievement. Starting with what could have been an aborted take-off, cruising to success on far away shores and keeping our passengers amused with their in-flight entertainment Captain Cranium and Stewardess Simone have piloted the SBS to new horizons in Bonsai. Who needs complimentary nuts when you have them two?

Fear not, we will not be flying high on the wings of our successes but trying harder than ever to produce trees and ceramics to our exacting and high standards whilst remaining faithful to the Shiten Way.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Sensei Simon Shows Shiten’s Senior's at Shiten Summer Skule, & Spanglish Shef Sam Serves Spanish Specialty!

It has become very apparent of late that SOME members of the SBS have been taking the hobby a wee bit too seriously than is healthy for them but, for a sense of balance, the more senior members thought that they’d put together a workshop to see what all the fuss is about. 

Three of Shiten’s “Bonsaists” were in attendance (one of the Potters couldn’t even be bothered to make an appearance!) along with members from the Folk-e-stone Bonsai Massive and a few from Maidstone Bonsai Society. As we know Shiten’s interests within Bonsai are vast and the event was more than just trees with 2 days of fine dining* included which caused a few to want a siesta after lunch – not a bit of it though! 

Our teacher for the weekend was one of the “free spirits” of UK Bonsai, Mr Simon Temblett, and his approach to teaching was very much to the SBS mantra “laid back and with a twist of humour” and his drawings for the students were absolutely fantastic and a great reference for some of us with many, many years development of their trees to come. Plenty of banter and character assassinations took place (mainly concerning the non-attendees & Bonsai pantomime villains!) and as can be seen below we were a busy and happy little bunch. 

Once again our guest chef kept us fed and entertained but had to spoil it by producing the best tree of the weekend and rumours were circulating on the Sunday that this could well be his last outing in Shiten colours. As with many walks of life it’s the minority that spoil it for the majority and it seems that Sam is hell bent in trying to force us to his way of thinking. This is being viewed as undemocratic and borderline bullying by some members within the Club. Some are even calling for tough action, including expulsion, but this is a subject for another day.

The verdict:- It does seem that taking a slightly more “serious” approach to our hobby does have it benefits but this has to be tempered with our overall enjoyment and appropriate amount of abuse. We are not openly opposed to change but the students studying under Shiten’s Study Group need to respect the traditions of our esteemed Society. That said the SBS have invited the Suffolk Inquisitor “Blacksmith Baddeley” to our workshop next year so as they say “never say never”! 

*Special thanks must be extended to the “serious” Storey family members (as well as guests) keeping the students fed and water over the weekend – thank you ladies!