I collected this Common Juniper (Juniperus Communis) 10 years ago and today it had its first styling. The trees are VERY difficult to collect, establish and style, so much so that most collectors simply do not dig them as yamadori as the survival rate is so low. I learnt from Peter Thali in Switzerland that the only way to collect these successfully was from a particular rock type and a short window in the year. I collected this single tree as per his advice and the tree has thrived. Styling Juniperus Communis is notoriously difficult as you cannot wire any new growth, wire can only be applied to branches that have bark, this gives a first styling that can look somewhat untidy as you can see… but the framework is there.
I love the thin live vein and the twisting around the deadwood, the foliage will fill out but this will be done with scissors and NOT pinching. The lovely Duffet pot is only temporary until I find a suitable pot.
NO carving by machine has been done on this tree, all the deadwood has been worked by hand stripping and burning the flaky ends.
Here is the tree 4 years after it was collected
Whilst on my European Tour this year I stayed for a few days with Enrico Savini and the
Progetto Futuro Bonsai School in Bologna, Italy. It was great fun working with the guys in the sunshine and doing some preparatory work on the yamadori trees that was selling at the EBA event in Ljubljana here is a Prunus Spinosa that I worked. The trunk split into two about 20cm from the base, one trunk having wonderful movement and the other none whatsoever! After removing the offending trunk I set about creating a deadwood area as natural appearing as possible. Prunus Spinosa are becoming very popular with Bonsai artists throughout Europe as they are easy to work, display beautiful small white flowers in Spring and create good branch ramification quickly.
The tree is now in the ownership of Hungarian artist Sándor Papp who I am confident will create an amazing literati Bonsai from this tree.
Photo courtesy of Sándor Papp
The Yew tree had been stripped and the wood dry for over two years, I was surprised how hard it was to actually ‘burn’ the wood and smooth out the rough breaks etc. I protected the foliage with a wet towel and continually wet it during the process. Using a Chefs blow torch, then whilst it is hot I use a brass wire brush to remove the burnt wood, I use sandblasting on BIGGER projects… prepping the tree is laborious when blasting.
The colour will improve over the years… for now it has had only one coat of Lime sulphur.