Thursday, 1 November 2012

Where do the days go?

Well, since my last post I have been flat out with work, so my apologies for not posting recently. It has been a case of, stop work, eat then sleep. I must also take this opurtunity to apologise to some of my hosts while on my travels over the last few weeks as I have not been much company in the evenings, the trend being to fall asleep in the first comfortable chair.
In between whizzing around Europe and spending a week in Scotland I managed to sneak time to meet up with Dave Sampson at some motorway services for a coffee, quick chat and to acquire some more nice suiseki. And I popped down to Bristol to catch up with the 'wise one', Dan Barton, and yes I even managed to come away with a few pots............ Well, what did you expect?
Unfortunately I have had no time in between to share with you either my new suiseki or Dan and Cecelia's pots. Dan by the way, has been busy trying to finish his second book on Bonsai with the emphasis on aesthetics. He has two chapters to go with the writing and then it's on to the illustrations for the book.
Time is not on my side at the moment and if there were 48 hours in a day it would not be enough.
So before I burn out, I have been advised to take some time out and chill and maybe work on my own trees a little. So I am taking most of November and all of December off .

I guess we are all different and different things will motivate different people and in different ways. As a bonsai professional, I style other peoples trees, I teach bonsai horticulture, techniques and aesthetics. I maintain peoples bonsai collections and I critique peoples trees, prepare them for exhibition, demo at clubs etc etc. Also I have to improve myself too!
At some point, I feel the need to do something for me. To style a tree for me. It is the only way that I can regain my enthusiasm when it starts to wain. Although occasionally I just need to walk away from bonsai for a while. To take a step back and re evaluate what I am doing, where I am going and what I want to achieve. Unfortunately there is a lot of negative energy in bonsai in the UK at the moment. Having to wade daily through the politics, egos, pseudo experts and generous helpings of bovine effluent can be tiresome. And of course no workshop would be complete without the guy who pays you to teach them but then disagrees with everything you say despite having nothing to speak of in the way of a decent tree themselves. That is also very much a British trait.
Although bonsai is my occupation, it is also my avocation and as such it should be enjoyable. After all, that's why we do bonsai in the first place. For enjoyment! Unfortunately sometimes it isn't enjoyable!
So now and again you just have to breathe in deeply and step back a bit and do your own thing. I refuse to get caught up with all the nonesense that pervades UK bonsai culture at present.
I have to smile when people ask me why do the Italians and the Spanish have great bonsai. It's not rocket science. They want to learn. So they get good tuition. They don't follow internet gurus who talk but don't do! Remember when the blind follow the blind, both end up in the ditch!
If bonsai in the UK is to progress, people need to stop and think just truly what is bonsai. Everything else should become clear.

I started to style a Scots Pine about 4 weeks ago, # 27 on my website. I bent the branch (there is only one primary branch) 180 degrees from it's natural growing position up and behind the trunk to down and in front of the trunk and I have not got back to it since. That is not me at all. Usually I can't put a tree down once I get my creative juices flowing. But I have had to leave this tree due to work commitments. It won't do the tree any harm though as the branch I have bent is as thick as my wrist and it can get used to this new placed position and of the need to send energy down hill instead of uphill which is more natural for the tree. Hopefully in a few weeks I can get back to it and post some images.

Well I just finished my first book. It took me 8 years. But I enjoyed the experience so much I am going to the library to take out another!

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