Studio Stories – Academy 2015 Two “Tanuki’s” ……Preparation…..

Sometimes I work on nursery trees, sometimes I work on client’s trees……and sometimes if I’ve been a really good boy I get to work on my own trees. Hopefully these regular visits will give you an insight into what goes on behind closed doors……….

Studio Stories – Academy 2015 Two “Tanuki’s” ……Preparation…..

Last week saw the first session of the year for the Academy Six group. The subject of this class was creating Tanuki bonsai. This is also known as a wraparound or driftwood style bonsai and is often referred to as a “pheonix graft”.

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Examples of similar bonsai created in the past were put on display to illustrate the technique and were discussed accordingly.

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The students first selected from some dead stumps we had acquired. Any remaining bark and wire was removed and the stump itself was generally given a total overhaul.

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The students then selected a young Ittogawa Juniper and discussed exactly where it would be fixed to the dead stump. Grooves were made in the deadwood where necessary to accommodate the live trunk.

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During our next session in Spring the Juniper will be fixed to the stump and the whole thing potted up in a training pot. The stumps will be treated with lime sulphur before the next meeting.

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After a good days work the stumps are looking really good and the final tree image for the future can be appreciated. Watch this space and I will bring you an update in due course.

 

Topical Times – It’s that snow time of year again!

A regular update on the life and times of John Hanby’s Newstead Bonsai Centre……..

Topical Times – It’s that snow time of year again!

The snow descended on us again last week and whilst it may have deterred a few visitors from calling fortunately it did not affect our class schedule. Let’s hope the next lot of snow to come is the same.

It certainly does show the nursery and surroundings in a different light but unfortunately not always for the best. It’s Ok to sit and look out on this white stuff but it is certainly no good if you have to travel. I just hope it’s been kind to you and your trees.

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Classroom Corner – Are you looking at the right angle?…..

An open window into the comings and goings of students and their trees attending our regular weekend and midweek bonsai classes under the ever watchful eyes of John Hanby.

Classroom Corner – Are you looking at the right angle?…..
IMG_3927 IMG_3929Sometimes the position in the pot is Ok especially with established trees which have been styled for many years. Sometimes a change of angle can make all the difference.
Sometimes the change is very slight but it can greatly improve the appearance of a tree. Sometimes the change is dramatic, totally changing the style and growing habit of a tree and necessitating a repotting as soon as it is safely possible.
Sometimes the trunk is alright but it is the angle of the branches that need to be changed.
Angles are changing all the time in the classroom especially with raw material. If you have a tree in your collection that you are not comfortable with are you looking at it from the right angle???
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Memory Lane – Joy of Bonsai, Bath 2000…..My Demo…..

Looking back….we can tell a tree’s story…..admire an image…..capture a moment…..remember a special event…..be inspired – to create a memory for tomorrow. 

I hope you enjoy this regular peep into some of John’s bonsai history.

Memory Lane – Joy of Bonsai, Bath 2000…..My Demo…..
It was a great honour to be asked by Dan Barton to demonstrate at one of his Joy of Bonsai events. These events were held annually, were very popular with the wider bonsai community and well attended.
It was the second time I had demonstrated at one of these events and it was great to be meeting up with Dan and his dedicated organising team once again.
Whilst out walking I had come across a large lump of driftwood which I managed to drag home. I decided to use this and a Juniper Chinensis imported from Japan for my demonstration.
MVC-029S MVC-003SPrior to the event I cleaned up the “lump” and treated it with preservative. The branches and trunk on the Juniper were wired where I thought necessary.
During the two day weekend demo I hoped to bring the two together and create a landscape on a large slate. On the Saturday many of the visitors watching were bewildered as to exactly what was going on and where it was all leading (at times me too!!!) especially when the exposed but wet Juniper roots were wrapped in sphagnum moss and sealed in a polythene bag.
Once the two were joined together the Juniper roots were covered with soil and keto. Keto was also used higher on the driftwood to provide a base for moss and to help conceal the trunk.
On completion of the landscaping work the branches were then arranged to represent small individual trees and enable the creation of a raft-style bonsai. I must admit I was pleased with my efforts and how a whim of an idea had come to fruition and resulted in the creation of a dramatic bonsai landscape.
I hope the pictures will help you follow the story of my work. I am afraid that over the years the disc containing the final pictures had become corrupted and they were lost. The final image picture was actually taken in the polytonal several weeks after the event.
Just remember the next time you are out walking to keep your eyes and mind open…..you never know what you might come across!
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Studio Stories – Newstead Four Demo Tree

Sometimes I work on nursery trees, sometimes I work on client’s trees……and sometimes if I’ve been a really good boy I get to work on my own trees. Hopefully these regular visits will give you an insight into what goes on behind closed doors……….

Studio Stories – Newstead Four Demo Tree

This Pinus Sylvestris was originally collected on the Alps. In September 2010 Danny Use selected this tree as part of his demonstration material for the Newstead Four Bonsai Extravaganza.

The tree was originally very tall and straight. Danny used raffia and aluminium wire to seriously reduce it’s height to make a more compact tree by introducing some very tight bends in the tall straight trunk.

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During the past four years the tree has been encouraged to grow strongly but then pruned back to create back budding and a more compact denser foliage canopy. The first picture above was taken in October 2013 whilst the second two pictures were taken in December 2014.

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The wire had been removed from the branches but the original raffia and wire still remained on the trunk. This raffia and wire was now removed. A remaining straight section of trunk was made into a jin. The foliage canopy was pulled in tighter to the trunk by a short guy wire.

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Some branches and older needles were removed. The tree was then totally rewired. The branches are then repositioned to create a neat taller triangular canopy in harmony with the trunk.

This tree has developed well over the years and hopefully is heading towards the image Danny had in his mind when he made the original styling. With judicious pruning in the seasons to come we should be able to make the canopy even more dense and compact.

Topical Times – A busy Midweek Workshop…..

A regular update on the life and times of John Hanby’s Newstead Bonsai Centre……..

Topical Times – A busy Midweek Workshop…..

Snow and traffic congestion stopped two of my regulars attending todays class but with six students raring to go it still turned out to be a hectic day. In addition to trees brought along for some general advice it seemed that each student had with them at least one tree for wiring and styling.

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Chris’s Larch had some heavy branches at the top which needed some serious bending in order for them to work together. I thought we would have to remove at least one of them but we managed to retain them all. In due course the shari at the top will be extended down the trunk.

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Keith’s dwarf pine was thinned out quite dramatically to two branches which were then wired and then arranged to give a strong Japanese style image.

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Andy’s large Pinus Sylvestris proved quite a handful. Two overgrown branches at the top of the tree were removed whilst large lower branches needed some heavy wiring. The finished triangle can potentially become a really nice tight image with a neat tapering trunk line. The removed branch stubs will be reduced and converted to deadwood.

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With phil’s Mugo pine it was a case of using either the heavy low branch or the rest of the tree but not both! He decided on the upper section of the tree so the bottom branch was made into deadwood….it will be enhanced further by a shari in due course.

The small Ittogawa Juniper was wired and shaped leaving branches long to keep the tree vigorous. These will gradually be reduced during the coming growing season. Jins and shari will be created after the wire has been removed.

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This Spruce really was a large muti-trunked bush with inverse taper brought about by the trunks separating at a fairly high level. It was a case of finding the best trunk and removing the others. You can see that the chosen trunk has good taper, movement and plenty of side branches. The stubs will be made into deadwood and then liked with a shari to create a better trunk line and overcome the problem of inverse taper. The branches will then be completely wired……….

…………..but maybe that is for next time!!!

Classroom Corner – Derek’s two Junipers…..making progress!

An open window into the comings and goings of students and their trees attending our regular weekend and midweek bonsai classes under the ever watchful eyes of John Hanby.

Classroom Corner – Derek’s two Junipers…..making progress!
Derek brought these two Junipers to a recent open workshop. He had spent some time at home wiring both trees completely so that they were now ready for the next styling.
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The first Juniper is actually a “tanuki” (wraparound) bonsai and is already starting to look quite convincing. The deadwood is from an old Yew tree whilst I believe the Juniper is from the Blue Carpet family.
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The front was changed slightly to give a wider more imposing base and to show more movement in the line of the trunk. The height also needed to be lowered and some of the branches thinned out.
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The second Juniper was a Chinensis which had been allowed to grow back strongly as it had suffered in the past. The tree had lost it’s shape and the foliage mass was now too heavy for the slim but very interesting trunk.
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The movement in the trunk becomes much clearer as a tall elegant tree emerges from the dense foliage canopy. The low hanging branch is still too big and is reduced further.
A lot of work went in to wiring these trees but the reward for all that effort is clear to see. Two trees taken to the next level and now ready to start growing again but in the right direction. They are progressing well and with regular pruning this year should really develop some finer ramification.
Progressing your trees……it’s what bonsai is all about……….are you progressing yours???

Memory Lane – Cotoneaster…..the missing pictures…..

Looking back….we can tell a tree’s story…..admire an image…..capture a moment…..remember a special event…..be inspired – to create a memory for tomorrow. 

I hope you enjoy this regular peep into some of John’s bonsai history.

Memory Lane – Cotoneaster…..the missing pictures…..
The original article relating to this tree was posted on the 16th July 2014 under the Memory Lane section. It details the full story of how this tree was collected from a garden in Mapplewell near Barnsley and went on to be exhibited in the famous Gingko Bonsai Exhibition in Belgium.
Unfortunately when I wrote the original article I did not have any early pictures of the tree. I have since managed to locate some and wanted to share them with you so that you can better appreciate the transformation in this humble little tree.
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The first picture above was probably the earliest I have whilst the other two pictures show how the tree looked in the Ginkgo Exhibition and the Bonsai Europe magazine. What happened in between?
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The tree put on a lot of growth and was probably left unpruned whist I decided what I was going to do with it.
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Eventually I decided on a new trunk line using a large branch near the apex to ultimately create a smaller tree.
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The existing natural shari was extended to incorporate the now redundant top section of the trunk. The tree was also lowered in the pot by removing some large stubby roots which meant that the stone filling the gap could also be dispensed with.
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The pictures above show how the tree was looking when I eventually sold it in 2012. The styling of this tree was very much an ongoing process but one which I enjoyed immensely and one which taught me a lot also. The Cotoneaster certainly is a worthy tree to have in any bonsai collection. I hope the additional pictures have filled in some gaps and illustrated just how simple it can be to create something really good.