Recreation Visual Arts

Carolina Bonsai Expo

Leading bonsai expert and instructor Bjorn Bjorholm. Photo courtesy of The North Carolina Arboretum

The North Carolina Arboretum hosts its 23rd annual Carolina Bonsai Expo on Saturday, October 13, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, October 14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event features juried bonsai displays, workshops, free demonstrations and bonsai plants and supplies available for purchase. This year’s guest artist is bonsai expert and instructor Bjorn Bjorholm, owner of Eisei-en Bonsai Garden in Nashville.

“I am honored to be this year’s guest artist,” says Bjorholm. “I remember watching demonstrations at the Expo as a kid and being in awe of the artists’ talents.”

Bjorholm spent six years as an apprentice under Master Keiichi Fujikawa at Kouka-en bonsai nursery in Osaka, Japan, before receiving certification as a bonsai professional by the Nippon Bonsai Association. After his apprenticeship at Kouka-en, he spent three years as an artist-in-residence at the same location, making him the first and only foreign-born working bonsai professional in Japan. During his time there, Bjorholm’s works were shown in many exhibitions, including the Kokufu-ten, Sakufu-ten and Taikan-ten.

The Carolina Bonsai Expo features programs for both the bonsai community and the general public, including a Main Event guest artist program on Saturday (registration required) and a free tray landscape demonstration on Sunday. The Asheville Chapter of Ikebana International will host an ikebana exhibition throughout the weekend, as well as an ikebana fl ower arranging demonstration on Saturday.

“The Expo offers a unique opportunity for attendees to see native southeastern US plant species developed as bonsai and for bonsai clubs to experiment with display in a way that most shows do not allow,” says Bjorholm. “The friendly rivalries that have emerged from the competition have created a positive environment that has helped increase the quality of bonsai in the US over the past decade and a half.”

The North Carolina Arboretum is located at 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville. For a full list of program offerings and times, visit Admission to the Carolina Bonsai Expo is free; standard parking fees for non-members apply.

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