Thursday, April 17, 2014

Weekend workshop in Cheshire April 2014

After the first and very successful workshop at Simon Jones house in Cheshire last year, arrangements were made for number 2 and last weekend we got cracking on some trees. I arrived on the Friday lunchtime and we worked on a couple of Simons trees. Si is very kind hearted and offered me a couple of stuunning Blackthorns. As a thankyou and as Si also had a big connection with Steve (Harleyrider) Jackson, I thought it fitting that he took over Steve's tree. We spent an hour or so working on the flat cuts

A closer picture of the straight cuts to be carved.
First one done and the smaller one hollowed for callous to form
Small hole looks a little like a Barn Owls face

Around the back

This is a pot I made a few years back and gave to Simon on the last visit
Suits the Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) quite well

A Crataegus monogyna deadwood that needed a little depth 
Not too much work as there is a lot going on in this space

First morning of the workshop. Once everyone had arrived we discussed each tree, what would improve it and just generally bounced ideas about

A shari was added to draw the eye from the straight section of trunk, a few branches on the right were removed and the angle of next planting was changed.

Mark's rather large raft style Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium?
Both the large trunks were reduced and block carved. Refining the deadwood will be carried out in the Summer.
Hawthorn (Crataegus)
I added chalk marks to those trees that needed carving. Most work was carried out by students with my guidance unless I was showing a particular technique
Johns Privet with topsoil removed to look for a decent base
Again, the wood will harden before refinement
There were 10 of us on Saturday and 12 on Sunday. All had bags of enthusiasm.

A huge Larch (Larix) with some huge issues

The really thick right branch and the straight top were removed to make a very sinuous semi cascade. The roots are fantastic.
Simon caught twice doing some work

Some of his beautiful collected Blackthorn. All growing well and 2 with my name on.

Next workshop is set for August this year and I'm looking forward to it. Well done to Simon for organising this great event.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) from urban waste ground

I bought this tree cheaply from a bonsai nursery many moons ago. I chose it because at the time it was very straight and had little taper. I wanted it for a club demo to show that something could be made from nothing.
 Since then it has sat on my benches and has just been clipped and grown. Today (March 23) I wanted to improve the carving as it is very flat and I want a hollow twisted tree

Deadwood was removed only as far as sapwood and then stopped. Once it has seasoned, I will take it further

 I bought the Dremel 4000 and wanted to try it out. I have left some deadwood on for now but the idea is to have a completely hollow tree and that you can see the spiral well
It has aged really well in a bonsai pot situation and its a shame I have no early pictures as it is a massive transformation. I will update over the coming months and years

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Gracious old man

There is a public park not far from me. Dog walkers, joggers and families enjoy this wooded area down near the Estuary. Most people don't see him down there. This gracious old man stands on his own as most walk under his arms oblivious to his magnificence. A few visit from time to time and spend a while in quiet contemplation. Walk around his body and wonder how long he has been there. How long he will be there. The stories this old Oak could tell.