I had hoped to be more prolific in my posts this year but there’s been a bunch of eejits keeping me busy. It’s not slacking off either so I thought I throw up some random photos taken over the last week or so by way of catch up and avoid actually doing any real thinking about what I’m posting. 🙂
This is meant to be a kind of online diary after all so adding some pics helps me look back at what I’ve been up to and with who. A big thank you for those who have been keeping me busy. Long may it continue.
I’ve been looking for a Japanese White Pine for a while, but something a little different than the usual shaped pines we see everywhere. Back at the start of the Winter I was offered one that fitted the criteria.
Peter Warren of Saruyama Bonsai had imported some JWP that had been part of the Daizo Iwasaki collection. I had the pleasure of wiring one of them back in January 2017 whilst studying at Saruyama Towers. I think this was the catalyst to my desire for one. Peter had sold one in the Autumn of 2016 but it just come back into his hands as part of a swap deal and I jumped at the chance of buying it.
This is it back in Japan where Peter first spotted it.
The tree arrived with me just before Christmas, along with Mr Warren 🙂 This is a few angles before we started work.
Getting down to work with the professional.
I love this tree, a spreading multi apex image and out of the normal cookie cutter Pine image. A few branches are a little behind development wise, especially around the back were we brought up a back branch to make the highest part of the tree. A few branches will be removed within a year or two. The last video clip is probably the best way to view it. It helps give a view of it’d funky quirky style and shows the real age and character in the trunk and branches. I look forward to developing this tree further, it should be a fun journey.
Thanks as always to Peter Warren, the most genuine bonsai professional out there, and, as the music playing in the last video says, ‘Go your Own Way’. 🙂 Let’s not run with the herd.
After hooking up with some members of the Bonsai Society of Western Australia at a workshop, I was kindly invited to visit the collections of a few members. First up was John Di Vincenzo. Joining me at John’s garden was Nigel Atkinson, another club member who I met at the workshop.
We had a great time viewing John’s extensive collection. I was especially interested in the true native species of which John had many. Australia has strict rules about collecting yamadori but I was amazed to see some great Melaleuca that looked as if they were ancient. John was able to show me photos of these trees from previous years and the humble beginnings they had. The potential for this species to make quality bonsai is high. I only wish I could name the other species for you but I’m afraid I was too busy looking at the trees to worry about the names. You’ll also see Ficus, Olives etc which lend themselves well to this climate. Import restrictions mean that imported bonsai are pretty much non-existent in Western Australia. This means that everything you see are locally developed trees which makes it more interesting to explore the benches.
A massive thank you to Nigel for organising the tour and or course to John for his hospitality.
Happy New Year to all those who follow this blog.
2017 was a big year for me with bonsai taking a bigger role. Ireland is a small place and we are isolated in many ways from the rest of the bonsai community and 2017 saw me covering a lot of ground teaching bonsai.
I’d just like to say a massive thank you to all the other ‘bonsai eejits’ that made this year so successful. To the 30 who took part in one to one sessions, to the 11 who took part in monthly study group sessions. To the 2 Irish clubs in Leinster and Munster who’s support and faith in my abilities has been massive. To the folks over in the Ayr Bonsai for inviting me over to talk back in March.
2018 will see a continuation of the groundwork laid in 2017. I have 10 days in January with the guys down in Munster Bonsai doing one to ones and starting a new Bonsai School set up following the years of success my own club had with this format with Willowbog Bonsai.
I look forward to catching up with bonsai friends worldwide again in 2018. A happy new year to you all.
It was a pleasure to be invited by the Leinster Bonsai Club to deliver a study group session earlier this month. I popped down for the first of 6 sessions and was met by a group of motivated guys keen to push on their own learning and share knowledge with each other. Looking forward to the next session in December. Here’s a few photos from the session.
The session focused in on how to critique trees looking at the fundamentals of bonsai design and the species in focus on the day was Pinus. This club has a few big changes coming on the horizon, keep an eye out for more content from them soon. If you live in the Dublin area and want to get involved please get in touch with LBC
It’s been full on lately with both bonsai and family and the blog has taken a back seat as a result. I’m now playing catch up and thought it only right to share some of the photos from my trip down to Munster to do a few one to one sessions with the folk in the Munster Bonsai Club. A more enthusiastic bunch I’ve yet to meet. I was also lucky to time my visit with their first ever exhibition which, for me, was the highlight of the week.
First up was Mark’s place. A shorter session than usual but we worked late and managed to wire the primary structure into two field grown trees. A first styling for a Japanese Red and a Black Pine.
The lower branch was left to develope into a second trunk and also improve inverse taper. It can always be removed at a later date.
The next day was at Demot’s, again a first styling on a tall Scots Pine and some tweaking on a few Junipers.
He even gave me a tour of Cobh, the town where he lives and the world’s Second largest Natural Harbour.
Day 3 was Piotr’s place and yet another initial styling of a Pine, this time a Lodgepole.
Next was a little Hinoki Cypress that was in need of thinning and a little wiring.
A Japanese White Pine
and then whilst having a few beers… another pine!
Day 4 was with Michael and a change of species, a yew. Not many photos here as I had a limited time period and a lot to discuss as well as work to get done.
Day 5 was at Steve’s place and saw a fair bit of carving both by hand and with power tools. First was this Yew that had been carved previously but showed a lot of tools marks.
And after some work. Further refinement needed on the deadwood, but a step in the right direction.
Some initial carving on a new larch for Steve.
Sadly no finished pics, it was too dark 🙂
Day 6 was the Exhibition and I was delighted to put on a shohin display along with the club members. We set up and had an hour before opening, so we did a critique of the displays with all the club members and exhibitors. I was given a tall Scot’s Pine to style in the demo.
Day 7 was spent with Ray. The main tree was a hinoki cypress that we’d done initial work on 2 years ago. It had grown free for 2 years and was now ready of a new look. We decided to go for a different look that breaks a few rules as far as multi trunk trees go but I feel we created a bonsai that looks like a tree, not a bonsai.
We also did a clearing out of a shohin Chinese Juniper. A nice start.
Day 8, my last day, was with Paul. A lover of Japanese Art and by the look of his garden and house, all things Japanese.
A massive thank you to all the guys who made this tour possible. I was looked after so well at every stop and the craic was mighty. The drive shown by this club is inspiring and this is only their 4th year. To deliver an exhibition to this standard, AND, there where trees there from 10 members, not all from a few with the higher level trees, shows what a fun club they are to be involved with. It was great to meet the newer members at the exhibition and get a chance to talk bonsai and share ideas for the future.
I look forward to seeing you all again soon and exploring new opportunities in 2018.
A few snaps taken on my Donegal trip.
I’ll be on my travels again in November, this time heading to Perth in Australia. I’m staying with family and will be travelling south of Perth on a camping trip. I’d be keen to meet up with some bonsai enthusiasts while I’m there. I also want to visit some big/old trees on my travels. Anyone following this blog who lives or knows the area, can you help with a few pointers? Private collections, clubs, it doesn’t matter, I just want to see bonsai and trees Aussie style.