Sunday, September 30, 2012

A thread from the forum. Yan to Japan.

I thought I would show one of the threads from the forum. Yannick Kiggen is a very talented young man and a very good friend of mine. He has been a member of the forum since it's beginning. At the end of last year, Yan was given the opportunity to go to Japan and work at Shunka-en with Kunio Kobayashi and his other apprentices. This year Yan arranged to start a proper apprentiship over there and 2 days ago left for Japan. He is keeping regular contact and sending me photographs with which I update the European bonsai forum.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

European Bonsai forum plug and link.

I'm taking advantage of the 30,000 views I've received since starting my blog and would like to say thank you to you all. Along with the blog, I have also started a forum which is now approaching 200 members from right across Europe. The blog is all about European trees and the forum is also based on native and naturalised European species. Please feel free to have a look and it would be a pleasure for you to join us.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Loopy over a Scots Pine.

This sylvestris Pine has taken a number of years to get to this point. The foliage was a long way from the trunk but the movement and taper in the trunk was great so I thought I would take it home. It is a Scots Pine collected from near Inverness in Scotland and is a true native variety of sylvestris and is approximately 80 years old. Because of the distance of foiage from the trunk, the tree had to go through some severe bending.
The bottom red mark shows the original line of the trunk and the yellow arrows show how far this area was bent upwards. Because the green stuff was still a way from being a bonsai I decided to bend the branch around and graft it back on itself at a lower point.
This picture shows the area of the graft. The branch was hollowed with a Makita over a 60cm lenth and wires were placed in the groove. Tight Raffia was then bound around this area and then wired. This allowed me to bend the branch right round and in on itself. The bark and Cambium were then removed from the branch at the area it would touch the trunk. This area was then marked on the trunk and I carved a hollow in the trunk to match the edge of the cambium on the brach. Once they fitted tightly I srewed the two areas together and added a wound paste to all exposed cuts. The graft was left alone for 2 years and then the feeding branch was skinned slowly over the Summer to reduce the flow of sap to and help the trunk take over.
The tree had been pruned back in August to promote good budding. The old needles were scissor pruned to preserve mall buds in the needle sheaths.
Areas to rough carve
I discovered the deadwood was still alive with sap so any detailed work will have to wait until the wood has seasoned.
The original trunk line before collection. This area is too thick and boring. 
Close up of the foliage and the needle pruning
The branch on the left was carved to thin the wood but still keeping it in the round

I have never been that keen on the deadwood in the middle of the tree as it interrupts the trunkline. Carved a little but will either be shortened considerably or taken off completely. It stays for know.
A small hollow section in the back. More detail to follow....
The tree as it was just before wiring.
and a few hours later......
A long branch that headed out towards the back of the tree was bound with Raffia and then wired.
Using guy wires the branch was slowly bent back and up to help form the top of the tree.
Now for the fun bit. The styling begins...
Left side.......
.......the right side........
...........and the front
A few years of work to get this far and a whole lot more in the future.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My demo at Bonsai in Wales 2012

 I was given this massive piece of Hawthorn to work on. There was a small area where branches lacking in character had been removed.
The coffee cup on top for a sense of scale
Hollowing and adding movement to the static cut branches.
the next 3 pictures show how the branch was hollowed

 Detail was added but the light wasnt good. I will add some better pictures when I get some
 The shari wasn't taken too far down the trunk as it was unsure how the sap was flowing. This was at the owners request and probably a wise move.
 Difficult to make out the detail and flow of the two branches but it was better in real life.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Kev Willson's 2 day demo at Bonsai Wales

Here are the pictures of Kevin Willsons 2 day demonstration on a massive Taxus baccata. The tree was collected from woodland a very long time ago and sat on a bonsai nursery for all that time.

The front as it was displayed on the nursery
       Perhaps the lack of interest in this tree was it's sheer size and the way the tree was displayed showed a            completely dead front with no Live vein. The deadwood was also very cylindrical and lacked taper.

So how do you deal with the lack of taper and problem cylinders of deadwood? Kev spent nearly two days trying to make himself deaf while his assistant Richard was constantly wiring. The heavy lower section on the new left of the tree was carved to release and thin the live vein of sapwood to allow the branch to be bent.

The cylinder of deadwood had the profile or outside carved first to add taper and movement before depth was carved into the tree.

The second cylinder towards the back at the right was reduced heavily with a normal saw and then carved. The old stumps where hollow in the middle.

The following day involved refining the deadwood some more and a gang of helpers worked in a blur to get the wiring finished. Then on with the styling

Kev giving an explanation of the work carried out over the two days and explaining that most of the canopy or silhouette you see here will disappear and be replaced with more dynamic branches and foliage as the tree buds back.
The team from left to right. Richard, Kev, Simon and Simon
The final result and simply stunning.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Paul Finch demo at Bonsai Wales 2012

I managed to get pictures of 3 of the four demos at Bonsai Wales. Paul Finch is one of Kev Willsons students and was styling an Itoigawa Juniper alongside Kev over the weekend. A very proud moment for Paul I am sure. Couple of pictures of the tree before hand.
 The material came from a bonsai nursery in Surrey that Paul often works at. The owner gave instructions not to cut branches off of the tree.
                                                                         Paul said he would have liked to have removed the bottom left hand branch to achieve what he thought was a better image and I tend to agree. Great work anyway.