The idea for the tokonama emerged when Simon Temblett, renowned for his stunning bonsai, was landscaping my garden. He had relaid the patio and there was an area at the end of the patio where a horrible cotoneaster was growing. We decided to bin this as even Simon H could not have made a bonsai out of it, and replace it with an area near the house wher I could display my bonsai so they could be seen from the house and also when sitting on the patio. We looked at a number of options and decided to go with an outdoor tokonama, google provided some inspiration,. I had brought some slabs of slate from my previous residence on the Wirral so we used these as the base for displaying the trees.
The construction, by Simon was simply blocks rendered with an open wooden pergola type top. Following a discussion with my Japanese cultural advisor, Mr Warren the colours for painting the tokonama were decided, the plain background makes viewing the trees easier, the black edges represent the wood that would be used in traditional Japanese constructions.
As with any bonsai display we needed to think about having a scroll to complete the image. A normal cloth scroll with card illustrations would be ruined by our wonderful British weather so I consulted my ceramic expert and fellow club member, Mr A Pearson, known as Stone Monkey and we developed the id5ea do a ceramic background for the scroll to which we could attach illustrations depending on the season, as with traditional displays. Andy produced a brilliant ceramic background which he finished off with bamboo and copper wire, this is full weatherproof and can be shown 365 days whatever the weather. The illustrations are attached using industrial grade Velcro, and can be changed whenever I change the tree or to represent different seasons.
At this time I was starting to attend art classes so though I would have a go at preparing some illustrations on plastic board. I then had further discussions with Simon Temblett and Peter Warren and we decided that trying to make illustrations on slate might work. I have tried to paint, using acrylics and also had a go at engraving the slate using a Drexel. The slate was purchased from a roofing contractor and was all his broken bits which I got for buttons!
With the tokonama I am able to bring my trees near to the house and display them at their best changing the display whenever I want.
I am delighted with the outcome which has emerged as teamwork with some of my friends from the bonsai community