Yesterday (New Years Eve) I went out with my Buddy Steve Marley and his two dogs, we walked over 9 miles across the moors, when we set off it was a beautiful morning, as the day progressed the weather changed. These are some of my photos of the trees en-route and the moss that is so prevalent at this time of year.
We have so many great bonsai potters in Europe my particular favourite being Gordon Duffett. The tradition of craft pottery in the UK is particularly strong so it is no surprise that here in the UK we have such a wealth of talent that we can tap into… here is the rub! We spend years on creating our trees, getting them to show standard yet failing at the final fence because the pot we choose simply does not match the tree.
Here are two examples. The first is David Barlows Noelanders winning Beech raft, the original show pot was a cheap Chinese pot, the colour was wrong, the pot was ‘ungainly’ and the size simply too big. The final Gordon Duffett pot is perfect, given as a gift to David by Terry Foster (because Terry knew that it was perfect and was happy that it worked so well) the second is my ‘Fat Guy’ hawthorn.
This tree fitted so tightly in the first pot that the orientation was not good, the tree needed to be rotated 20 degrees to improve the movement of the trunk. The new Pot (also by Duffett) is deeper by 5cm/2″ and the sides of the pot have a slight taper… this add ‘lightness’ to the image.
I will be posting a movie of repotting the hawthorn here on this website
Having just returned from The Noelanders Trophy, visiting friend’s gardens and sharing some great stories it’s hard to imagine a better weekend for a bonsai artist to experience. Arriving mid day on Friday it soon became clear that this event would indeed be the best ever, in terms of quality of trees, organisation and enthusiasm for the art.
It is strange but the amount of ‘Brits’ at the Trophy appears to be getting larger every year, great to see Kevin Willson, John Armitage, Simon Temblett, Simon Jones all showing trees, and Steve Tolley harping back to “Tony two trees!” does he not know that I now have three! (You are so 1990’s Mr. Tolley) … And some of the Brits coming away with nominations despite tough competition from the rest of Europe with Simon Temblett winning two awards and the tree that I presented for David Barlow also securing two awards, the “Sonderpreise” awarded by Bonsai-Museum Düsseldorf being dedicated exclusively to European trees, in particular when they are cultivated in a very naturally and typical “European”-way/style… its a nice feeling knowing that I have helped a great guy like David secure YET ANOTHER award for this wonderful bonsai. A full list and photos of the winners and can be seen on Bonsai Eejits blog.
The car is packed and I am ready to leave tomorrow morning. I am picking up Mikey in Leeds and then onwards to Hull and P&O ferry to Rotterdam. We dock about 8.30 and then its about 3 hours to The Noelanders trophy Centrum voor Duurzaam Bouwen, Marktplein 1 in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium. Last year I was the first trader to arrive so it was easy for me to unload, sit back and watch everyone else struggle. Peter Landerloos has been kind enough to accommodate Mikey and Me for the weekend I am showing the raft beech that won a Ginkgo award in 2007.
The tree is owned by David Barlow, over the last couple of days we have been putting the final touches to the tree. It looks great.
I know that this will be the biggest and best Noelanders ever and it is great to be part of such a high class show.
On the way Home I will be calling in to see Hans van Meer my old friend who will be one of the visiting artists a the Burrs workshop in November Mikey and I are getting the ferry back to the UK on Monday evening.