Sunday, October 24, 2010

Warren Hill workshop - and my project tree

Well the day finally came and went - looking forward to the next workshop.  I attended Warren Hill's bonsai workshop at Plant City Bonsai last Saturday the 16th.  Truly a learning event for an amateur as myself - being my first ever bonsai event - I feel spoiled!   Great bunch of students/bonsai artists were on hand attending and also many assistants helping Mr. Hill during the session that are friends of or work with Steve Cratty (Plant City owner).

The sessions were held in Plant City's greenhouse, so it was plenty warm for an early crisp Fall morning.  Here Warren Hill is talking to us about the art of Bonsai, answering questions, and then beginning a quick review of each person's project tree - helping give species types, care for each, potting soil and proper pot ideas for each individual and their tree.

Mr. Hill was a pleasure to listen to and learn from - I wish he'd had more time to speak about his Zen thoughts while working on Bonsai - it struck me that this plays greatly into his personal bonsai designs (mine as well) however that would be straying from the bonsai art itself - strictly speaking, so I understand why he seemed to cordon himself from going into that aspect deeper.   I may have to plan a trip to south Tennessee and his bonsai studio/classrooms one day..   Check out Master Warren Hill's webpage yourself for more info about his origins, and bonsai works and classes he offers.

Here is one student's forest creation of Trident Maple's that essentially Master Hill wired in and created himself - in-between the 2 sessions held that day while lunch was being served by Steve and Sandi.  This is going to be a keeper.  There was a lot of work involved that Libby took care of - de-leafing, de-potting and root cleaning - not to mention finding a big enough pot to get it in (Steve had to un-pot one of his own bonsai to present this beautiful pot for the forest use!).  This seemed to be the most powerful creation I saw that day.

So this is my project tree.  I purchased it from Plant City back in July as a late birthday present to myself - and got to learn it's habits for a few months before the bonsai class.   I cleaned it up some underneath and had it prepped for work.  It is a very thick and nicely aged Juniper - procumbens nana.  It's old enough that it has mostly old scaled growth, and not much 'immature' normal juniper needle growth on it.   Beautiful material!  It's not evident here, but this tree is easily 35+ years old already, with a girth the size of a modern plastic soda bottle through the main trunk.

This, is immediately after getting home from the class, and remembering to take another picture!!  I should have had my camera out more but there was so much going on and I got so involved in working on my tree and getting input from Master Hill and the other bonsai assistants (thank you Dave!) that I hardly thought about photos.

Here it is currently, I'm going to put lime sulphur on the jins today and in a few days take another final 'Fall' photo of the tree.  I absolutely love it, The tree has so much movement and grace, and this was it's first 'working' it had ever received really!

A few more photos from different sides.

There's still a lot to do with it - but for now after so much reduction, both branch and root, I thought this was a good stopping point.  A bonsai is not created overnight, but rather it's a continual work in progress.  Yes trees 'do' eventually reach their peak, where all you are doing is tending to removing new growth and maintaining, but that is many years away for me for this tree - or any that I own currently.  I have alot of 'fun time' ahead of me in Bonsai.

Next photos I take will have better pictures of the pot it is in, and some way of showing it's girth/over all size a bit better.

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