In the Workshop, Ep. 6 | The Unwritten Rules of Bonsai

In the Workshop, Ep. 6 | The Unwritten Rules of Bonsai

The Unwritten Rules of Bonsai

During my apprenticeship at fujikawa kokan in japan i spent basically all of my time from sun up to sundown 365 days a year working on very high quality refined material so these were trees that had been you know in development for decades and decades sometimes centuries actually and of course you know all the branches were essentially in the right spot all we really had to do as apprentices was detail wire those branches and put them back into place so you know through the mechanics of learning how to do that learning how to apply the wire properly kind of reverse engineering how those trees were built looking at you know the branch placement how a big branch might have been brought from the top of the tree down to the bottom for example and then you know as you unwire professionally wire trees as an apprentice you start to see how all of those puzzle pieces kind of fit together how the tree was built over decades and how it ended up in the form that it was in when you were working on it so you know taking that information coming back to the states and working on trees that are in early stages of development like this yamadori right here in my opinion anyway having understood the mechanics of that detail wiring it actually has made it easier for me to build trees like this you know that need those initial big heavy bends and kind of the more mechanical aspects of bone side design so you know it’s not that i like one aspect more than another all the puzzle pieces kind of fit together once you start really getting involved in the deeper aspects of bonsai art but for me you know having started out with the refinement process and now being able to work on trees like this the transition i think was actually relatively easy maybe easier than the other way around so this tree right beside me here this is a one seed juniper that was collected out in texas new mexico somewhere in that area over there the tree is you know one of my favorite species actually in the united states in terms of our native trees that grow here because the trunks are absolutely incredible obviously the dead wood is beautiful on this tree and the foliage is quite good too you know if you were to compare this to like an etoygawa for example in japan the foliage is still quite coarse but relatively speaking within the species that we have in the united states in terms of the juniperous genus this is actually in my opinion the best of the best the foliage is actually really nice and that it sits upright when you wire it it stays in position quite well it doesn’t flop again and the maintenance on these guys is actually really easy in the summer we let them flush out prune back the elongating shoots you do that two or three times over a growing season and you can build a very well padded tree in two to three years so you can take a tree from the mountains to exhibition in somewhere around the range of three to five years if you really know what you’re doing so it’s an honor to get to work on a piece of material like this this is a client’s tree he entrusted the initial styling and bone structure setup of this tree to me so it’s a privilege to get to work on something like this and i look forward to eventually repotting this in a year from now and moving it forward and actually putting it in an exhibition in the near future so back during my apprenticeship days at kolkan in japan one of my favorite things was when fujikasana would come back from an auction or a buying trip with a van full of trees we’d open up the back of it and it’d be like christmas every single time well now that i have my own nursery here we’re having similar experiences with customers showing up bringing their trees for us to work on so recently we had a client come up from alabama and bring some absolutely fantastic trees with them and he’s hired us to style these guys up get them back into proper shape so that potentially they can go in an exhibition in the future so opening up the back of that van seeing these quality trees really took me back to my experiences in japan it makes me feel really good to be able to do that here in the united states and have that same feeling so so a few weeks ago i hired some of the local mennonites here in nashville to build this structure for me we’ve been doing a lot more shipping via our online shop so we needed an extra facility to do the packaging so i had to build this form here i think the quality turned out really really nicely but what we need to do today is actually outfit this with shelving so that we can move all of the junk out of the workshop put it in here declutter the workshop so it looks a little bit better and then you know set this guy up as our shipping facility so really excited to jump on this and get it started let’s take it all the way down to that end this is good [Music] so check it out we’ve got all of our fertilizer stuff down here at the bottom uh you know this is obviously what we’re gonna be using in the growing season coming up here but we’ve got our synthetics we’ve got all our organics and everything in here so it’ll be very convenient carrying these back into the nursery and you know putting those on the trees once they start growing right behind me here of course we’ve got our shipping and packaging area it’s a little bit cramped right now but i think once we start moving some of these boxes out of here actually shipping things it’s going to open up a little bit but this is going to be so much more convenient than having it in the workshop itself [Music] so you have no idea how good it feels to get the workshop cleaned up it’s been a total disaster zone in here for the last several months and now we’re able to open the space up again use it reorganize the pots because you know coming up here shortly when we get into february we’re going to be getting into repotting season at that point so a lot of the project trees that we still have here that i haven’t wired up i’ve got to get done in the next two to three weeks or so so it’s kind of crunch time here at the nursery but this is pretty typical this time of year so i’m just happy that we’ve got this place opened up again and it’s usable space once more all right so like i said we got a lot of projects here that we got to get back on this is actually my next guy here it’s another one seed juniper actually owned by the same client as the tree that we started out this episode with so uh this will be featured probably in the next episode of in the workshop so i want to thank you guys for checking out this episode look forward to seeing you guys next time around but until then take care you

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