Styling a Scots Pine to create an elegant image

This is a Pine that Pavel brought over for me last November when he came to Burrs with Mirek and Jakub.

I would not normally work on a pine that had only been potted the year before however this pine was responding well PLUS I used a strong strap to hole the tree firm whilst I worked.

The major branches were first wrapped in Raffia then Self Amalgamating Rubber Tape. Minor branches only had Raffia and thin branches no protection. ONLY copper wire was used.

I tend to style from the bottom up, working each branch and positioning before I wire the next. I always have the image in my head that I wish to achieve, this process saves wiring unnecessary branches.

I decided to work the deadwood after styling as I wanted the canopy to determine the size of the deadwood. On this occasion no long jins or stylised carving, only hand tools were used.

Yamadori, Bears and Wolves in The High Tatras Mountains of Czech Republic

I have collected Yamadori throughout Europe but one of the craziest adventures was with Pavel Slovak, his son Kuba and two of Pavels friends. The ‘walk’ in to the collecting site took THREE HOURS! and we climbed over 1,200 metres. But it was NOT the climbing that I had to watch out for it was the Bears and Wolves.

The trip was very successful bagging 10 trees… but it was exhausting. I reported from the top on one of the mountains that we climbed… and from the top of a tree so that I could get a better look at the view.

After climbing the tree I was told how foolish I was because Bears climb trees… as once you are up a tree you have nowhere to ‘run’ 😦

Why the Burrs Bonsai workshop… works!

In November this year I will be hosting the Burrs VII, Burrs Workshops was introduced as a new way of learning the art of bonsai, in a purpose built training centre, huge warm and well lit workshop, full catering and expert help from some of Europe’s top award winning Bonsai artists.

Established in 2004 Burrs is the longest running annual Bonsai workshop in the UK. Previous visiting artist include: Carlos van der Varrt (NL) Enrico Savini (IT), Hans van Meer (NL), Ivo Saporiti (IT), Mario Kompsta (PL), Kevin Willson (UK), Morten Albek (DK), Pavel Slovak (CZ), John Armitage (UK)

The reason that Burrs is so successful is based on simple ideals. Employ the best bonsai artists, encourage participants to be open minded to possibilities, sharing of ideas and techniques and Time. The most important being Time… Burrs starts on Friday evening and ends on Sunday afternoon, more than enough time to complete a large tree, forest group or lengthy work on any number of trees.

Here is what participants have said about the workshops

“I want to thank all of the people at Burrs this year – my debut appearance. I was made most welcome from the moment I arrived. Many people offered me advice on my trees, bonsai in general … and life in general! Many more people tried to improve my poor wiring technique, I was well fed (thank you so much to Carolyn), I’ve made new contacts/friends, I have already met a couple of particularly great Burrs people after the event and intend to build on that and my head is still spinning with everything I learned.” Matt Addie aspiring bonsai artist

“Burrs is like no other bonsai event I have ever attended,  I struggle to find suitable adjectives to describe how unique an experience it is. I guess for me the best way to describe it is that 30 or so people fill the room with passion for Bonsai, for the whole weekend, and you have to experience that to appreciate it. This is what makes Burrs unique. You can learn so much without even working a tree. John Pitt Potter.

 “If Carlsberg did Bonsai Workshops they would not even get close to a Burrs weekend”.Please please pencil me in for the next November workshop” Andy (Stone Monkey) Pearson

Burrs workshops have grown from strength to strength over the last seven year,many
great bonsai have started their life at Burrs, and many participants have been inspired to create great bonsai. I am fortunate to have Terry Foster one of the UK’s most talented bonsai artist as my right hand man, and Carolyn (my amazing wife) who handles all the administration and catering (there is a whole new blog post in itself!)

Burrs VII is set to be the biggest and best yet with 15 participants already signed up. Take a look at the poster and Video’s and book your place before it’s too late.

I forgot to mention… Burrs Bonsai Workshops is probably the best fun weekend you will have in bonsai.

Bonsai Garden in the rain

Last year I visited Mirek for the second year in a row, Mirek is a good friend of Pavel Slovak’s in the Czech Republic. Mirek has a fine collection of bonsai and yamadori. Here is his garden in the rain, 20 minutes later the sun came out and the trees were well watered… the sun shines on the righteous.

Preparing a root over rock Yew for styling by Pavel Slovak

The new owner of the tree is Mirek Skrabal. I collected the tree and established it in a box for three years before Mirek purchased the tree. Mireks good friend (and mine) Pavel Slovak  styled the tree… and what a great job he did. This yamadori is VERY rare as the tree grew over the rock. When I collected the tree I carried it for nearly two miles!