Friday, September 13, 2013

Czech Republic. Mirek Skrabal's Mugo on day 3

Day 3. Sunday and we all met at Mirek's for second breakfast. This consisted of a feast of different hams, eggs and assorted goodies. Also on the menu was a platter of traditionally cooked Lamb on the bone that had been freshly slaughtered and we could still hear them being killed as we tucked into it. Delicious!!!.

Thoroughly stuffed, it was time to get the creative juices flowing.
Mirek asked me to work on some cut stubbs on a very feminine Mugo. One of my favourites in his collection I might add.

Some of the upper branches were wired out and up for carving access

Another beautiful day for working outside

The first and lowest cut branch to be worked to be worked

Beautiful natural deadwood

The second had a natural jin that was preserved

Picture wouldnt straighten. Back of the work but I still like to add detail all the way round

Everybody's happy

Back in position

After lunch, which involved eating vast amounts of fresh Trout (I ate 5), I worked on the dead top of another Pine.

 The Trout came straight from the pond and onto the Barbeque and were washed down with local wine. Doesn't get much better than this!

Light was fading fast so I stopped before mistakes were made.

We had a huge platter of Wild Boar to eat anyway.

I hope I get the opportunity to return and carry on the work I have started with all the trees and some more. I have been asked back and can't wait for the next episode....

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Czech Republic. Pavel's Mugo. Day 2

On the Friday Pavel had asked me to work on his large and very old Mugo Pine. The main area for work was a large reduced branch on the right. This is the tree.
I asked Pavel what he wanted from the carving. His only request was to preserve areas of the old bark. Even though it is dead, it will persist for many years. I marked the stump with chalk to work from.

This is more like the future front for the tree. Just left of centre

About to crack on with the work

I used a scraper to remove the thick and stubborn bark
            From the back I carved a hollow in the fattest trunk and added movement to the surface.

The front was pierced and a feeling of decay was added. Time will only improve this work as weather heats, chills, wets and dries the deadwood
The branch underneath was next to carve
Then a higher branch coming from the main trunk
Again it was hollowed slightly and any straightness lost to carry through the movement

Then smaller bits used to add detail and texture
Nearly done for the day and pretty intense work it is too

 Some small adjustments were made on the Monday before I returned to the UK. The branch I am carving in the below picture had some more movement and a reduction in the bulk. You might be able to make it out in the bottom picture
Finished and back in the garden. Everyone is happy.
                                                           Studio picture of the work. Mireks day to follow.......

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Czech Republic, Pavel and Mirek. Day One

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to visit Pavel Slovak and Mirek Skrabal for a few days. 4 days in all but 3 days of work with plenty of eating and bonsai talk. I had a fantastic time and am looking forward to going back again next year. Everyone was so generous and hospitable. I arrived early on the Thursday to be met by Pavel and Jakub at the airport.
It was a 2 hour drive from Bratislava to Pavels garden. We stopped for a very nice lunch at a pub and then on to Pavels to look at his collection. Jakub and Pavel in the garden

Three snakes is a Pinus Mugo and Pavel's signature tree.

                       Another Mugo in development on one of Erik Krizovensky's hand made slabs
This is the Mugo that Pavel wanted me to carve on the Friday

                                                    A big semi cascade Pinus densiflora
                                                                                      The deadwood on the above tree
                                                              Another collected Mugo
                                                        Beautifully set out Bonsai garden

                                               Ramification on one of the smaller Mugo's
                                                     Needle size and density is incredible

                                Next stop was Mr Dorda. He makes some beautiful bonsai pots

A couple of presents. I am currently negotiating for Mr Dorda to make a pot for my Taxus baccata
 "Big Boy"
Copper effect on the pots

Next we went to Mirek's house and garden. Set in a valley and beautiful setting.

Stream fed pond with a cover to keep away pests

Mirek Jakub and the mad dog
Tomorrows lunch apparently
Views across the valley

Mad dog again. Tibetan Mastiff

The Trophy room

                                             Apparently Mirek has had these in the garden.
This Moose is mounted at the actual height

And finally Mireks trees.
                                                Large Foemina Juniper. Well over a metre tall
Sabina Juniper


Another Dorda Pot



White Pine 

Large Sylvestris deadwood

Me for scale

Another large Foemina

Mugo ready for carving.

A lovely deadwood feature

                                                        Just 5 cream cakes before Dinner.
Large Quercus

                                                               Korean Hornbeam
                                                                                  Trident Maple


Large Picea

Beautiful movement

More deadwood on a sylvestris
The tree I am to carve on Sunday

After another meal, more wine and beer and only 2 hours sleep I was ready for bed. Working on the Saturday with Pavel will follow.......