A Review: Online Shohin Bonsai Course by Morten Albek

Morten Albek has a very relaxing voice perfect for introducing you to Shohin Bonsai, that combined with VERY high production values and detailed content make this course a pleasure to watch and understand.

The course starts with a 4-minute video overview of the course contents and from this short introduction, you quickly realise that the course will bring your shohin to a high level.

Pretty much most aspects of Shohin bonsai care and creations are covered including; Repotting, Pot selection, Wiring, styling, display and so much more.

I particularly liked the section on pot choice, Morten humorously stated that as bonsai artists we always buy beautiful pots even when we do not have a tree available to plant in them, this is so true! Did you know that the thickness of the pot wall affects the health of the tree due to heat retention? Morten explains in detail why!

Exhibiting bonsai seems like a ‘dark art’ to the inexperienced this section alone is worth signing up for. You can do that by clicking HERE

First work on a Yamadori Yew ‘Pagoda’ style

Its always exciting when you tackle a piece of raw material for the first time, the element of discovery (and sometimes disappointment) seeing the image that you have in your head appear before your eyes is great.

This tree was collected over 4 years ago, this is a tall thin English Yew (Taxus Baccata), it has a shari that runs from top to base. Its never been re-potted out of this washing up bowl and it is now ready. The first work is not actually styling but formulating the branch structure and foliage locations. No wiring, no styling no branch positioning, the tree will be left to grow. All I will do over the next 12 months is clean the tree and tidy up the cuts.

 

 

 

Han Kengai Yew second wiring and deadwood

I have been working this tree for 5 years, collected in 2011 its hard to imagine that this is the same tree. This is a photo when the tree was first potted up. the tree has been turned 180 degrees.

Take a look back at the tree in 2014

The tree has undergone two wiring, the second one today. Its been a process of building strength in the tree, developing branches and creating a dense foliage mass. I guess that it will be at least two more years before the tree is anywhere near showing. I have a lovely Gordon Duffet pot ready for the tree when it is potted next April/May.

 

han-kengai-oct-16

 

Yew Bonsai Foliage mass development 3 Videos

Yew are one of the best species for creating bonsai, they have beautiful hard deadwood, lush evergreen foliage and beautiful red live veins. In these three videos I explains how he builds branch structure and creates dense foliage clouds.

Here are some of the images from the videos, Click on the video links below to watch the movies.

Yew technique Part 1

Yew technique Part 2

Yew technique Part 3

First Look: Han Kengai Yew Project

Original Han Kengai YewI collected this Yamadori Yew in 2011, the tree was very slow to establish in the first couple of years, this is due to the cambium layer being very thin because the hard growing conditions that the tree suffered. In the third year the tree thrives and this year the growth has been very strong. With very old trees such as this it’s important that you wait for the growth of the foliage to be robust and vigorous for the future development of the tree, start work too early and you could set back development or worse kill the tree!

The work undertaken this week was to remove the thick upright deadwood branches, clear the smaller dead branches near the base of the tree and reposition the whole into the ‘final’ planting position. The tree will be left for a couple of years to extend and fill out the foliage mass. I will then work on the deadwood and finally sand blast to clean and smooth out some of the rough areas. Then the first styling will take place, another year in the box and finally planting into a training pot. The foliage mass will take at least 10 years to achieve the virtual image… but I can wait if the end result will look something like this.Possible 2020