Bonsai Triennale 2014

Germany Efficiency you better believe it!

I was a guest artist at the Bonsai Triennale, 20-22. June 2014, Pillnitz, Dresden, Germany.

Hand drills remove the screwsThe Bonsai Triennale is the joint project of the Central German Bonsai Regional Association and the National Bonsai organisations in Poland and the Czech Republic it’s in the fourth edition and returns after 2011. The event took place in the beautiful ambience of the orangery of the castle and Pillnitz

Almost 2000 visitors enjoyed a high level exhibition and a packed program of demos and lectures. What impressed me the most was the team behind the show.

Having a good team is crucial to the success of a Bonsai show, you have to have people you can rely on, who work hard and are prepared to take on any job to ensure that the event is a great experience for visitors.

I did not see the build up of the show but witnessed the breakdown, the guys and girls worked like a well-oiled machine; everyone knew EXACTLY what to do and where to be to clear the venue as quickly as possible. The whole event was cleared in under 2 hours… AND they were not happy as they had done if faster on previous occasions… Germany Efficiency you better believe it!

The cloths are carefully removed

everything stcked neatly

Everything in one van


creating interesting jin…on a juniper…without powertools…

Tony Tickle:

Thats the way… screw Power Tools when you can do it this well

Originally posted on becoming bonsai:

I have been working on a technique for creating interesting looking jin and shari for junipers especially, but it could probably work on pines and other conifers.

In most of the carving demonstrations I see, the artist utilizes power tools. I think a lot of that kind of carving looks great, and it’s exactly the thing you need when you’re gonna take a considerable amount of material off of a tree. Different people will give you different kind of advice on how to approach power carving, especially detailed work. But when it comes to smaller jin and shari work, most of the advice you hear amounts to: just grab a pair of jin pliers and rip off the bark and some of the wood. When you see trees with created jin and shari, some look a little better, some look a little worse, and by the advice most people offer…

View original 912 more words

Itoigawa Workshop: Start to Finish

Tony Tickle:

Great post here from Dylan

Originally posted on Bonsai Prelude:

Itoigawa before photo

Itoigawa before photo

The workshop I chose to participate in this past weekend was the Itoigawa juniper workshop with Ryan Neil. In this post I hope to point out some of the things I learned, guiding us through the process of styling just as we did in the workshop. So get your notebooks out, this is going to be a long one.

The first step of the styling process (assuming you’ve already chosen the tree) is to identify the following, in order of importance:

1. Find the best base for your tree. By this I mean view your tree from every side, the idea is to find stability. Trees that have an unstable appearance (generally caused by a very thin trunk entering the ground) create an unstable feeling in the viewer. In most cases you’ll want to pick the view where your tree looks the widest at the point where…

View original 2,499 more words

Post #500 – Kokufu-ten

Tony Tickle:

Great Blog, you guys should follow

Originally posted on Bonsai Tonight:

A little over five years ago I started this blog – and today marks my 500th post. I’ve come a long way since my first post, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you all for joining in the fun along the way. Now over 5,000 photos, 2,000 comments, 3,000 followers and a million post-views later, I’d like to share some photos from the world’s most prestigious bonsai exhibit, the Kokufu-ten.

Those of you who have visited the Kokufu-ten, or National Bonsai Exhibit, will recognize the scene below – lots of people vying for a better view of outstanding bonsai.


View from above – Kokufu-ten #88, February 2014

For those of you who have yet to visit the exhibit, I can say that it’s simply a treat. Hundreds of superb trees are on display in the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum each February. For details about the event…

View original 161 more words

Saving an ancient Oak tree in the 1950’s

Full Oak treeIn the 1950s my father-in-law Geoff Duckworth, was the assistance chief engineer for Ramsbottom District Council. One of his responsibilities was the construction of new roads as the town began to expand. The widening of Summerseat Lane was needed as a new housing Estate was in the planning, the route of the existing lane would have required the felling of an ancient oak tree. The idea of tree preservation was a introduced in 1947 and was yet to be widely adopted throughout the United Kingdom.

My father-in-law recognised this tree was important and also beautiful, and insisted that it be saved for future generations. This meant changing the route of the road, so instead of going behind the tree the new road went in front, is also softened the corner. The old lane is now overgrown (see photo) and runs behind a house built in the 1970s.

GrandpaI estimate that the trees over 250 years, it has been thoughtfully maintained over the last 50 years and has matured into a pleasing silhouette, with excellent trunk movement… quite Bonsai’ish. My son Sam considers it a tree perfect for climbing and as William, in the “Just William” stories proclaimed, “there are two types of tree, those you can climb and those you cannot.”

This majestic Oak is part of the history of the village, I am proud that there is a link between an ancient English Oak and my children, and the legacy left by Grandpa.

Take a look on Google maps here.

The Old overgrown Lane the New Road Sam and Grandpa inside the Oak