My visit to National Bonsai and Penjing Collection of Australia next year.

My host at National Bonsai and Penjing Collection of Australia in Canberra have announced the program for my visit in March next year, looks like I have quite a busy week ahead of me. I am following in the footsteps of Pavel Slovak… Tough act to follow! It will be great to meet up with all the guys and girls I chat to on social media.


Bonsai Week this year will happen from 20 March till 26 March 2017 at the NBPCA in Canberra.

Our International guest this year is Mr Tony Tickle from the United Kingdom.

This years agenda will be as follows:

Monday 20 March
10:30 till 11:30am – Demonstration of Bonsai Techniques inside the Village Centre (Artists will range from Curators of the Collection to Senior Volunteers)
1:00 till 1:30pm – Curator’s Guided Tour of the NBPCA

Tuesday 21 March
10:30 till 11:30am – Demonstration of Bonsai Techniques inside the Village Centre (Artists will range from Curators of the Collection to Senior Volunteers)
1:00 till 1:30pm – Curator’s Guided Tour of the NBPCA

Wednesday 22 March
10:30 till 11:30am – Demonstration of Bonsai Techniques inside the Village Centre (Artists will range from Curators of the Collection to Senior Volunteers)
1:00 till 1:30pm – Curator’s Guided Tour of the NBPCA

Thursday 23 March
9:00 till 4:00pm – Masterclass with Tony for Club Nominated Participants & Club Nominated Observers (Not a public event)
10:30 till 11:30am – Demonstration of Bonsai Techniques inside the Village Centre (Artists will range from Curators of the Collection to Senior Volunteers)
1:00 till 1:30pm – Curator’s Guided Tour of the NBPCA

Friday 24 March
10:30 till 11:30am – Demonstration of Bonsai Techniques inside the Village Centre (Artists will range from Curators of the Collection to Senior Volunteers)
12:30 till 1:00pm – Curator’s Guided Tour of the NBPCA
1:30 till 3:30pm – Tony’s Presentation – A bonsai case study over 20 years “From Mountain To Exhibition”
5:30 till 9pm – Bonsai Demonstration – An Arboretum International Bonsai Experience plus auction (Ticketed event)

Saturday 25 March
9 till 4pm – Masterclass with Tony for Lenders and Donors & Lender/Donor Observers (Not a public event)
10:30 till 11:30am – Demonstration of Bonsai Techniques inside the Village Centre (Artists will range from Curators of the Collection to Senior Volunteers)
1:00 till 1:30pm – Curator’s Guided Tour of the NBPCA

Sunday 26 March
9 till 4pm – Masterclass with Tony for Volunteers & Volunteer Observers (Not a public event)
10:30 till 11:30am – Demonstration of Bonsai Techniques inside the Village Centre (Artists will range from Curators of the Collection to Senior Volunteers)
1:00 till 1:30pm – Curator’s Guided Tour of the NBPCA

DESCRIPTIONS
Curator’s Guided Tours – A guided tour of the NBPCA facility. Hear stories of bonsai and penjing within the NBPCA and see the working back of house facility. FREE – no booking required

Bonsai Technique Demonstrations – Various artists will be working on trees throughout each day of Bonsai Week. FREE – no booking required

Master-classes with Tony- artists who have been involved with the NBPCA either as a Volunteer, Lender or Donor, or a Club Nominated Artist, have been invited to nominate for a participant or observer of these workshops with Mr Tickle. From the list of nominees, 10 participants and 10 observers will be randomly and fairly selected to be involved. FREE for those who have been selected

Tony’s Presentation – Mr Tickle will present an audio-visual bonsai case study prepared over 20 years. FREE event – Please register your interest in this critique by emailing leigh.taafe@act.gov.au or calling 02 6207 8483.

Evening Bonsai Demonstration – An Arboretum International Bonsai Experience – This is the premier event of Bonsai Week. A Gala Cocktail Evening Demonstration by Mr Tickle. An opportunity to dress up and socialise with good friends while experiencing the wonders of the Arboretum of an evening. Watch the sun setting from the award winning Village Centre Complex, see the Bonsai & Penjing Collection under lights, marvel Tony as he transforms a stock tree into a bonsai masterpiece within a relaxed and comfortable setting, then have a chance to bid on that very tree at auction. (Other auctions will happen throughout the evening). This is a ticketed event. Price and bookings information has yet to be determined. The bar will be available for cash purchases of further drink refreshments.

Workshop with Taiga Urushibata at British Shohin Bonsai

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During the British Shohin Bonsai exhibition at RHS Wisley Gardens in the south of England that was hosted by Sutton Bonsai society I attended workshop led by Taiga Urushibata. So much time can be wasted at workshops simply wiring your tree, so I pre-wired my pine before the workshop, I also took along another pine to work if time allowed.

I could easily have styled this tree but I wanted Taiga’s ‘take’ on the tree, there were so many option available… what was his idea for the tree, how would he style it? I believe that you are never to old to learn no matter how many years you have been working with bonsai.

The tree is a ‘natural’ cascade as the base of the tree has a sharp bend bringing the trunk more than 90º also the base and nebari are very interesting displaying deadwood and deep fissured bark. There is a VERY old shari running almost the length of the sweeping curve trunk.

After a short discussion Taiga agreed that this was the best option and the styling began. I wanted to bring the crown of the tree closer to the base, this meant a very severe bend. The tree had raffia in the area to be bend. Taiga told me that such a bend was not safe however I was confident that it was OK as the tree was strong and Scots Pine are very flexible. A tourniquet was applied to a temporary steel bar; this tourniquet was later replaced with a shorter one attached to a dead branch nearer the base of the tree. Taiga expressed that a bend such as this would not be possible with a Japanese Red pine as the branch would snap in two.

The final design was more or less as I envisaged. The other trees worked by Taiga included a few Junipers, a Yew and pines.

 

Creating a Shohin Juniper from mass produced imported material.

Japan, Korea and China produces these small junipers by the thousands, they can be purchased relatively cheaply and in some cases can be transformed into exception bonsai. If you are considering purchasing one, look for compact trees that do not have too many twists and turns and little character… it’s better to have a tree that displays good taper, pleasing movement and healthy branches ready for styling.

One of my students is preparing for the UK heat of the EBA New Talent Competition in 2013 (getting a good start) Mikey is styling as many small Junipers as possible leading up to the event next year. I supplied this little tree for him to work with. Mikey is still very much rough around the edges with his bonsai styling but he does have an excellent eye for detail. He tasked with styling AT LEAST one tree a week (funds permitting) and between styling he is pouring over every Bonsai book in my library.