Sunday, September 27, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
It’s that time again! We’re slowly building a collection of handmade pots to fire up! Here are a few pictures; Above are a few larger of the ‘round’ pot designs we’ve come up with, also my attempt at a handmade ‘Oval’ without doing it with slabs. (Wish I had now!) Also a ‘turtle’ pot from Aaron – some nice etching on the sides (we’ll show that off once it’s glazed and finished)
Aaron designed a really beautiful pot a week or so ago – a shallow round with a slight ‘drum’ curve to the lip. What’s really incredible is that he fashioned all 3 legs as separate ‘tree’ legs with branches, then attached them to the pot and molded them in. It dried upside down and we’re not wanting it to rest on the legs until it’s fired initially. (They are stable – but can’t be too safe with clay)
Here’s my attempt at a small Cascade style pot – I molded it from a paintbrush holder/vase my wife has. I lost some of the form in the middle but was able to rough out an interesting lip. I’m thinking this will be a ‘Shohin’ Cascade pot, but we’ll see how big a tree I can get in there! :)
Fresh pots – still wet from making last night. Here I have a decent ‘copy’ of Aaron’s infamous ‘round’ pot that I so love.. Also my first attempt at a somewhat deep ‘drum’ pot. I have alot to learn about making a drum pot I can see..
Aaron decided he wanted to make a very big pot – with strong masculine features. He decided on a rectangle, and then took it a step further. He’s stuck clay ‘bricks’ on the side to give the impression of an old brick wall where the bricks have fallen away revealing the mortared surface underneath. Looks really great, and it’s not even dry yet. Once it gets more solid it’ll be flipped and legs attached.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Sometimes, the ‘bug’ to sculpt a tree can backfire; if you’re always looking for the ‘perfect’ tree while you’re hunting for material. A quick stroll through typical nurseries generally results in the ‘worst’ looking plants being the ‘best’ material for bonsai (nursery plants are usually clipped and grown in forms for landscaping – not developing miniature trees). Often the finds in the half-off areas, are the ‘bulky stumpy’ plants that generally aren’t great to start with for landscaping. For instance, this Parson’s Juniper! What the heck did I see in this pot when I decided to buy it? Well, I certainly didn’t see the ‘perfect’ tree – what I actually saw was more spirit and energy than a vision of what it might become. After 20 minutes and half an acre walked, I returned to pick up this $5.98 ‘landscape’ material from the ‘toss’ zone in the corner of the nursery.
I did see a tree in there; a different kind of tree for me – a chance to try a few new techniques. Here I’ve removed a great deal of foliage to expose the very strong trunk, which has very strong motion (I was torn between taking it towards a cascade in 2-3 years – or a unique form right away). I removed many weak branches and start to eye up how the tree will shape. I drilled slightly into the branch cuts forward facing in the picture to the right; as the wounds heal, this will give it a ‘circular’ heal that is slightly hollowed which will give the effect of an aged appearance to the trunk as it heals.
So, you can see the effects of wiring, and a great reduction in the existing growth; Where is the tree you’re thinking? As I said this was a unique work for me, I never thought I’d give a tree a name, but this one is going to be called ‘Elk’. Many strong branches that I redirected to spread out the future pad zones I saw in the image of this tree. There are not many branches that are not wired; I wanted to give ‘Elk’ the instant power and presence I felt as I worked on it. Very healthy tree, for such large branches they were easier to move than the Blauuw Juniper I last worked on.
A little Jin and shari work in a few places - now you may see what I felt, when I decided to call it Elk. It looks horrible if judged against ‘classic’ styles. The raised branches near the shari, gives the impression of antlers sweeping back from the face (shari) of the Elk. Oh well, at least it sounds good on paper.. :) This tree may stay ‘ugly’ for a while until it fills out, but I believe it will have a powerful presence in a few years with a little thickening of some of it’s ‘antlers’.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Well... The bug bit me again today while out shopping today at a local hardware/gardening store for a few things for the house. This Japanese Boxwood nursery plant is going to become my next project today. For $5.99, the hours of work I put into it and enjoyment of the finished product are priceless, in my opinion. Oddly enough, many of the boxwoods of this size today looked like great 'potensai' - or, 'prebonsai' as it's termed by some. This little tree has a nice trunk already developed and looks nicely aged with rough bark deep into the top branches. Boxwood species are much like Holly; they can get 'sticky' after the branches mature past the fresh 'green' stage. They can be more difficult to Jin as the branches thicken. This tree has good motion hidden underneath these leaves!
A few hours of pruning, deleafing, bending and wiring (even got a guy wire in on this one) I can see the vision that the Boxwood was giving me the vibes of; The beginnings of a stately informal style tree. I'm no stickler for 'forms' or 'styles', but when one suits decidedly what I'm aiming for - I properly label it. An 'Informal' style tree means that for the most, the main trunk aims upward, but not 'straight' that it has some degree of bend or 'taper' in the main trunk(s).
Here is what will become the 'back' of the tree. Well honestly - I'm not sure yet which is front or back, there are strengths to both views (which means it'll look good from any angle, good radial of the branches as long as they all live through their Jinning!) Good exercise in wiring for me, I need to go back and re-wire and add wire to some existing trees to give them more direction - this tree certainly has shown me how much direction you can truly give with wire. The end goal in this Informal style, is for a very heavily rammified Crown to the tree. This will cause the leaves to grow smaller, and will also create thick, healthy growth that will thicken the crown of this Japanese Boxwood nicely.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Aaron's Round Pot
Aaron's Round Pot
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Painted and ready for glaze
Previously fired pots - have been painted and are awaiting glaze. Hope to have finished pots by this weekend, as I have a few things I'd like to move into new homes.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
So I checked it out. Well, for my birthday June 22nd.. Karate Kid was released in 1984. So.. Hah!! Maybe I am... :)
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Holly Bonsai #1
A more recent pic of the developing crown of the Holly - it's really popping right now, a great deal of new growth. Holly species are very 'sticky' - that is, they are hard to jin the branches, and develop motion; it's better to develop this movement and taper in Holly with cuts, and pinching early when it's still green. Looking to be a healthy tree, and fun next year to develop.