Deadwood 17

Technique explained – Sandblasting a Yamadori Yew Bonsai

I sandblasted my first deadwood way back in 1992 and I guess I have blasted over 50 trees since then, I have perfected the technique of protecting the live veins, foliage and soil so that the aggressive nature of this technique does not upset the wellbeing of the tree.

As will any intervention on a bonsai the tree MUST be in great health. Never work on a tree that is recently collected yamadori or is not in the best health. This tree has grown well over the last three years and the deadwood was desperate to be worked. If I had waited another year the foliage would have restricted the access to in inner part of the tree, this is where the most interesting areas of deadwood are on view.

A few days before I removed an upright trunk and disguised by carving and stripping the cut, this can be seen in the photos as a bright orange area.

The process:

  • Gather the foliage up and bind with fine wire so that you have access to the live vein.
  • Using air-dried modelling clay cover the live veins right to the edge and at least 4mm thick, When dry (about 3 days) cover with Duck tape.
  • Completely cover over the soil and as close to the base of the trunk as possible, I use rubber inner tubes first then bind with commercial cling wrap.
  • Wrap the foliage in an old towel and then cover with a thick plastic bag.

The Blasting:

  • I use a commercial blasting service, you can find these locally via the internet.

The results are simply amazing, the deadwood is clean the splinters are removed from the branches I have snapped and all the detail is revealed. I do not put Lime Sulphur on immediately, as I like the wood to weather slightly prior to application.

ABC4 Africa Bonsai Convention 2015: Cape Town

Next Year I am pleased to say that I am one of three International presenters with Ryan Neil and Francois Jeker at http://www.abc4.co.za/ This is coming together to be a great show, I am looking forward to meeting all the guys who I have been chatting to on Facebook and here on my Blog. This is only two weeks after Bonsai Europa… so its going to be a busy time.

South Africa event screen grab

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

 

EUK Bonsai Ten in Diepenbeek, Belgium

The teamLast weekend I attended the rather special EUK Bonsai Ten in Diepenbeek, Belgium. I attended with a friend from Italy. I was a trader and a demonstrator and this being my first time at this club I did not know what to expect. What very quickly became apparent was the incredible organisation and planning that had gone into the staging of this ‘club’ bonsai show. It was Friday evening, the whole show was staged and ready for business, a few traders had set up their shops and the excitement was palpable. I finally met up with Tom Benda an amazing potter from Czech Republic, we are working together…watch this space!

The exhibition featured an excellent club show with many superb trees worthy of a national exhibition and a show from Mario Komsta that was literally breathtaking in presentation and quality of trees, each being in a black Tokonoma individually lit. This was a benchmark for bonsai in Europe.

untitled-6942The demonstrators Viriato Oliveira and Márcio Meruje from Portugal,  François Jeker from France, Enrico Savini from Italy, Mark and Ritta Cooper and ME! Most of the guys worked on trees however Mark, Ritta and I gave digital presentations that were very well received with many people standing and crowding the doorway.

A Huge thanks for inviting me to this amazing show to the guys and girls of Bonsai Club Eda Uchi Kai, in particular Hans Vleugels, Inge and JP Polmans for their generosity and opening their house to a bunch of renegade bonsai artists.

All photos supplied by Roland Petek, take a look at his extensive blog and lots more photos of the Bonsai Club Eda Uchi Kai show http://roland-bonsai-eng.blogspot.co.uk/

Pine 11

First styling for a Mugo Pine

Pine overlay

The styled tree laid over the raw material (Photoshop)

I traded a small Yew for this Mugo Pine at The Burrs workshop 2012, it was planted in a large flat plastic seed tray in a soil mixture not suitable for the rather damp conditions where I live. Whilst re-potting I saw that all the roots were on one side so decided to change the angle and make a cascading tree. The tree responded well and has thrived all year. Today I styled the tree, I have not wired to the tips of the needles because at this stage refinement is NOT my objective. Branch placement and the establishment of the design. The next few years will be bud development and refining the design.

Original photo 2

update image due to a discussion on EBF 

new bend