As an avid follower/listener of the Mirai Asymmetry podcast I was already acquainted with the ambitious LAB Project being delivered by the Pacific Bonsai Museum I had been driving and listening to the guys discussing the first session and found myself wanting to pull over just to see what the tree, stand and pot combo actually looked like having missed part one live. When I did manage to get a look on the PBM website I wasn’t disappointed.
I can only say that all these guys are truly nuts!! I couldn’t think of anything harder to achieve in bonsai, three separate elements being created simultaneously by three different artists and expecting it to mesh. A seriously ambitious project from Aaron Packard.
Pacific Bonsai Museum’s LAB (Living Art of Bonsai) is a four-part, multi year-long experiment investigating 1) the influence of inspired architectural settings and
2) the effect of collaboration re sequencing on the art of bonsai. The overall goal of the project is to advance innovation and artistic expression in bonsai.
Here’s the highlights reel from the first session.
I have a soft spot for PBM having visited the museum back in 2017 and viewed the natives exhibition. Having missed part one of the LAB project I fully intended to live stream the second part. At 2pm PDT this translated to a very view-able 10pm GMT for me. Then to my delight Aaron dropped me an email offering me the opportunity to review the content live in Part two. I just love the bonsai community 🙂
On April 6, 2019, Pacific Bonsai Museum presents The LAB Session 2 // The Site of Bonsai: Focus on the Vessel & Tree-potting //. . Watch the live action as Ron Lang, Austin Heitzman, Ryan Neil, and Aarin Packard take bonsai where it’s never gone before. Take part in the discussion via chat. . LIVE STREAM Tickets ON SALE NOW at @pacificbonsaimuseum (link in bio) / http://pacificbonsaimuseum.cleeng.com
Looking forward to being a part of this live experience.
This maple was brought to me last April for work. It was weak and in examination of the base a full half of the trunk base was dead and rotting away.
I explained to the owner that things would get worse fast with the rotted wood coming away and creating an ugly base. It was obviously also having an impact on the general health of the tree. We opted to layer the tree just above the rotted base at the first point were a full 360 of live tissue could be cut into. We potted it into fine akadama topped off with a thin layer of moss to aid water retention.
Last week the tree came back to me for work and removal of the layer if successful.
Above you can see extension on the tree, even on the lower branches. A good sign.
We removed the pot and found a full 360 of radial roots in great shape. It looked like a hula dancers grass skirt. It had even rooted well above the rotted area where sap full would have been weak.
We worked the roots out to soften the edge and even removed some that had rooted above the callous line into the moss and that would have created an uneven nebari. The stump underneath was whittled away with knob cutters.
You can see on the stump of the old base that a full 180 degrees of the trunk was dead at the base.
We took some time to spread out the roots and potted the tree in a spare pot of mine that allowed more room front to back and a little more depth. I’m fairly confident that this tree will fill this pot in a single year.
The top got a light pruning. The low branches may annoy some but I actually like the image. Better this than a dead tree in a few years. We repotted the original stump out of interest to see the rootmass. The rotted portion just fell away and what roots were there were very poor indeed.
I collected this little Prunus spinosa or Blackthorn back in Spring 2017. It look a while to get roots established with very little taking place in the first year. Last year it did well in the sphagnum miss it was potted in and I transferred it over into a proper mix this spring. It’s new pot is a little grand for it but was all I had on the shelf that would accommodate the roots safely. Stone Monkey pot by Andy Pearson. The tree is unsettled. No wiring or scissor work done. It’s just as nature made it.
Sunday was my last of 6 booked sessions with the Leinster Bonsai Club in Dublin.
It’s been fun working with a group with a varied level of knowledge and ability and trying to pitch each session with just the right balance of theory vs Practical. In the last two years I’ve completed 12 sessions with them and enjoyed every one. I just hope they have too 😂
Plans seem to be afoot for continuing the relationship but spread out more evenly over the calendar year.
A massive thank you to Tom and Paul for all the organisational work and of course to those taking part during the last six months. Also thanks to Max who always grabs some photos during the sessions which I never remember. Here are the ones I stole from yesterday’s session. A tree critique that turned into a practical session 😀
On Saturday I took a day out of one to one workshops to do a Theory and Practical Repotting Day with Munster Bonsai Club at Bruree in Limerick.
I had been asked to focus on this in a session to aid newer members in getting the fundamentals right and gain some new skills.
We had a run through of the why what when and how via PowerPoint and Q&A before a Practical session with club members repotting their own trees and helping others.
I think this was one of the best feel good club days I’ve ever experienced from the outside. A great club. A massive thank you to all those who yet again came out to support a club event. They have been coming thick and fast for a club pushing their learning hard.
Here’s some photos from the day some mine some stolen.
It’s been a busy week down in the South of Ireland doing some one to one sessions with friends from Cobh, Cork, to Limerick then Dublin. Some good times had and great trees played with. A little styling and refinement and, as you’d expect, some repotting.
Here’s some photos from the trip. snow on the way home as usual in Dublin. Thank you to all who supported the road trip. Back again images weeks for another round.
I run a study group once a month for some friends who want to learn more. This has become two separate groups, one on a Friday evening, one on the Saturday morning.
This Weekend we were putting together some trees with rock.
First up was this shore Pine which had some initial work done by Peter Warren in 2017 and was recently rewired by myself.
The tree in September 2017 as raw material.
prior to wiring 2019. after wiring.
The rock collected by a friend over 20 years ago at Blessington lake Dublin
The work. The original plan had to be changed after the heavy roots on the tree wouldn’t let us place the tree on the highest portion of the rock. We looked at other planting options and liked the drama of the option selected.
If you are reading this and are within travelling distance of Newtownards near Belfast feel free to join us once a month for sessions like this.
After a few years to recover and a little tightening in I had this material to work with.
After a little cleaning out.
In 2016 after further chasing in some initial primary branch placement was made.
In 2017 it got it first basic styling.
This was it last week ready for its second styling.
Time for work.
Still a ways to go but I’m loving this species more and more. Deadwood needs refined and I may need welding gloves on the next time I wire it but I’m happy with the results so far. It’s a keen back budder. It’s due a repot so I’ll see what pot size I can reduce it into to.
I was asked to work on this Korean Hornbeam and on Wednesday I managed to grab a few hours to get it wired. As is common with hornbeam, many branches had crossed or where curling inward. This was a reset for the tree to get structure back on track.