|2008 ABS Joshua Roth New Talent Contest|
American Bonsai Society
2008 ABS Joshua Roth
New Talent Contest Winner
By Harold Johnson Jr.,
Thanks to the movies, the “Joshua Roth New Bonsai Talent of 2008” winner discovered bonsai. Seeing bonsai on the screen so fascinated Vladimir Foursa that he began experimenting with material he collected. His first “bonsai” was a Schillings holly which received so much of his attention that he says he worked it to death. Fortunately Vlad met Mary Miller, who urged him to join a bonsai club and accelerate his learning. He not only joined “a” club, he eventually joined two clubs plus two study groups: the Lighthouse Bonsai Society of Boca Raton, Florida; Gold Coast Society, Plantations, Florida; the Chichiki Gawa study group of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; and the Asago study group of
What attracted Vlad to bonsai and keeps him interested in the art form? He says that it is that one can capture the essence of a mature tree in the wild, the age, character and beauty, and present it in a table-top size. He believes studying bonsai does not have an end point. He not only learns from two clubs and study groups, he attends as many visiting artist lectures, demonstrations and workshops as possible. Vlad advises anyone in bonsai always to listen to what others have to say, beginner or well known artist. You can learn from everyone. He does credit Mary Miller with having a significant influence on his development of skills related to bonsai.
Vlad, his wife and two daughters live in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida where he is the general manager of a diversified company which clears land in preparation for building, recycles vegetation, runs a plant nursery and installs landscapes. Could it be that Vlad has plants in his blood?
What would prompt someone to prepare a photo portfolio of their bonsai in hopes of being selected to participate in a competition that required them to travel from Florida to San Antonio, Texas to design and style a juniper into a beginning bonsai? Vlad says it seemed like an interesting challenge that he was ready to undertake and besides, it was a way to test his bonsai skills on a national level.
What’s Vlad’s bonsai collection like? He says he probably has one of everything that will grow in South Florida but there are nine trees that he is most proud of. He looks for trees that present him with an interesting challenge, especially Podocarpus, because it has characteristics of conifers and broadleaf trees so it’s the best of both worlds. He manages to spend four to five hours a week working on his bonsai but like the rest of us, wishes he had more time. Vlad offers a bit of advice that anyone new to bonsai should remember: there are no perfect trees, so don’t try to change the tree into a bonsai pictured in a book. Go with what the tree offers.
All the symposium attendees voted for their favorite tree, and Vlad also won that honor.
What are Vlad’s plans with bonsai after winning the new bonsai talent award? Use the prize of round-trip airfare to attend Kokufuten in Japan. Others who were selected to compete in San Antonio are Donna Dobberfuhl, San Antonio, TX; Gregory Frech, Virginia Beach, VA; Kenneth Lakin, Fuquay-Varina, NC; Tom Lee, Clinton, CT; Collin Murphy, Austin, TX; James Nolen, San Antonio, TX; and Trent Voigt, San Antonio, TX.
The Joshua Roth New Bonsai Talent Competition awards a runner-up prize of Joshua Roth tools that was won by Donna Dobberfuhl.
No one ends the competition without tangible recognition for earning a spot in the final eight. Each competitor is awarded with a significant discount on a Joshua Roth tool order.
Watch the ABS web site for the announcement and details of the 2009 Joshua Roth New Bonsai Talent Competition.