Sunday, August 25, 2013

Carving workshop in Cheshire

Last weekend I was invited up to Cheshire by Simon Jones to lead a carving workshop and club demo on the Monday. I arrived Friday evening, went out for a meal and then shared a few ciders chatting with Simon into the early hours. Satrday was spent on some of Simons trees. The following trees are just some of his collection. Mostly Shohin and Chuhin and a few larger trees.
                                    The general display with workshop tent in the back ground
Deciduous Shohin
Coniferous Shohin
Trident Maple
Potentilla and Silverberry
Black Pine
Yew and Juniper
Hawthorn raft
Blackthorn for the club demo
Saturday lunchtime I picked out a Hawthorn to carve. Some work had already been carried out but needed tidying up and some movement adding to the line of the tree. Flat cuts were made irregular and given some movement
All the holes were joined up to stop water collecting

Much more dynamic movement now

The top finished for now

Carving never really shows up well in pictures. Some detail was added but until the wood seasons the finest detail cannot be added as the wood is fluffy

First workshop was Sunday with 9 students and Monday we had 8. We discussed everyone's trees as a group before commencing work. Most of the students had never really used power tools before so I made a start on each tree and then with guidance, each student carved their own tree. We went through safe ways to carve and which bits to perform specific tasks. This is a much better way to learn and gain confidence with the tools.
The pained expression is the local Cider wanting to escape
Getting ready to start
Tony's big Pine was too big for the tent
Large Berberis with a straight cut branch
Roughed out with a Makita
Refined with a Dremmel. More work to remove the tool marks but with limited time this was a taster of what can be done. I was really impressed with the way everyone listened and put what I had said into practice.
The deadwood now echos the subtle movement in the trunk
Privet collected from a hedge last year. This inexpensive material can be taken to a much higher level with carving the cut stubs and adding movement
On this tree I showed how to add movement to the outside before hollowing out

 One of Rudi Spanko's side cutting drill bits for the Makita. Great care is needed with this tool and so I showed the students how to use it as safely as possible before they had a go
Kristina's work to add some detail after the roughing out. Everyone used different tools to great effect.

                                 More detailed picture of Kristina's work. Excellent first attempt.
Tony's Pine and the cut branch that needs working.

The Makita was used to rough out the work. Got my Cider face on again.
The branch was undercut to create a hollow
Movement was also carved on the relatively straight branch

Not much detail was added at this stage as the wood was wet.

I will refine the carving at Burrs in a couple of months time.
Tony was happy with the initial work.

The club demo on the Monday. All the carved material was exhibited and a few were discussed. Members from the Wirral club came down for the demo and were amazed at the quality of the carving that had been carried out by beginners. I was really proud of them. This Blackthorn is going to be a top class tree in the future. Beautiful muvement in the trunk and amazing bark quality too What needed to be done was carve the straight cut branches to create some movement and age to them. This was all done with the Dremmel
Unfortunately the light was very poor in the hall and I was working in my own shadow most of the time.

 I managed to get the idea of how to creat good deadwood over to the group and hopefully I will get to                                                           refine the branches when I see Simon next.
A few faults that need correcting 

I have only included a couple of the trees that were worked on purely because I didn't have time to take pictures as I went along. Thanks to Tony and Kristina for most of the pictures of the workshop.
The man that put this weekend together. Simon is hugely enthusiastic about bonsai and worked really hard to make it all work. Looks like it will be happening again next year too

Friday, August 23, 2013

Little Ligustrum

I spent a lovely weekend up in Cheshire last weekend. A weekend of carving workshops run by the very talented and enthusiastic Simon Jones. Simon very kindly gave me a little Privet in a Walsall pot to take home with me. It was collected from a neighbours hedge last year and potted immediately in this cascade pot.

 I thought a slight increase in angle would reveal a better line in the trunk and by rotating forward slightly would show better movement. The natural shari is a great feature but it is a bit fat in places.
Although it is getting late in the year now, there is still time for growing. I decided to leaf prune to access and see how I could improve the lines. There were too many shoots and these were pruned out and the remainder were cut back to promote new shoots closer in to the trunk
Two shari's were added to reduce the visual weight at the end and create more movement. The live wood is still too wide but as the tree callouses, the live will be cut back again to give the appearance of natural die back. 

Once the new deadwood has seasoned I will add some delicate carving. I will keep it simple and let the weather do most of the work. It is more to do with the cut stubs where the tree was reduced.
The tree was then wired to add a little movement in the beginning of the branches.
Now back on the bench and given a good feed.