Does 8th Place in a regional competition define your talent?

This weekend I was chosen to represent my club at a regional competition. It was a great honor for me to be one of the two chosen to represent the club.

The morning of the event I left at 06:30 to be at the venue in time. I worked the whole day prior to the event till 23:30. I was tired but ready for the challenge. I arrived at the venue before all the other competitors. The stock they supplied for the competition was very good. I have never seen stock like this at a young designer competition before.

The trees were numbered one to ten. We all lined up and drew a number from the bowl. I received tree number 3. I took my time in examining the tree weighing all the positive and negative points. There was one nice curve in the trunk and then in the middle of the tree there was a sharp curve that could not be bend. I knew that the tree must be split just above that point. I did not want to remove the top half. I wanted to come up with another option, but I could not see another way of getting the best out of the tree in the time that I had.

I removed the top part of the tree just above the sharp curve. I jinned the trunk section that was left till just above the top branches that remained. Then I continued to wire the tree from the bottom. Placing each branch as I made my way up the trunk. An hour and a half into the proceedings I was done with my design. I looked around and all the other competitors was still busy. I was done an hour and a half before the time.

I walked around in the gardens were the competition was held, wandering if I had made the right decision by removing the sharp curve in the trunk. It was time for the judges to announce the winner. I thought I had a good chance of winning or at least be in the top three. Third place was called, second place called and finally first placed was announced. I did not make it. I went to the organizer after the awards ceremony and she showed me the score cards. I was placed 8th. The winner scored 36,5 points I scored 27,5 points.

I would have liked to be placed better on the scoring board, but I knew I was taking a risk by remove half of the tree. The trees that were placed ahead of me were all good designs. In my mind, I should have been the winner.

Today I feel a kind of peace about the 8th place I received. The place I got in a competition does not define me as an artist. I’m happy with the result and the tree I have produced. This competition is one part of my journey.  I have learned a lot and will now go back to the drawing board to improve my skills and approach to designing an bonsai in a competition.

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