The second show was held by the Midlands Bonsai Society (MBS) who meet monthly at Moseley Cricket Club. Like the South Staffs group, they are a great bunch of guys. As I am an Honourary Member of MBS I gave a short demo during the day as a means of giving them support.
For the demo I took an Italian Cypress. I chose this tree for two reasons, in the first instance because the material was ideal for a demo over a few hours and in the second, to introduce people to the species, Cupressus sempervirens.
This is the tree before the demo.
Nothing too testing here, just a basic first styling to set the structure or skeleton of the tree.
I really hope people will see the potential this species has for bonsai as it has many good qualities for bonsai cultivation.
These include a foliage which tightens and hold form well, a wonderful craggy bark which offers something different to the red polished live veins of junipers with which this species is often confused, and it has branches which hold form after only a short period of being wired.
An hour and a bit later and the tree has had it's first styling and basic shape. And I do mean basic as there is not a lot of foliage to create an image with, we are simply drawing lines in space. The form of the tree becomes more apparent as the foliage masses develop with a proper feeding regime.
Once you have the skeleton, then you can start to put the flesh on the bones. It is more important to get the structure correct, right at the start otherwise you run into problems a few years down the line. Then to make those corrections at that point after years of development means that in fact the tree is now going backwards. When you build a house you need good foundations and when creating bonsai you need correct structuring which very few people talk about.
Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me for the MBS show and so I did not record any of the exhibition to share with you here. Also the image of the Cypress above was taken from my website, as I could not record that at the show either.
Something that did arise from the MBS show, was that they chose to erect the tables and screens for the exhibition across the room (short width), as opposed to down the length of the room like the South Staffs guys did. This afforded more light from outside to shine down the length of each table run, giving better lighting to the whole room which has always been a let down for this venue, even at the first two Best of British Bonsai events, lighting was always an issue.
The MBS guys put on a nice exhibition, certainly the best I have seen them do for many years and this year the disparity between the best trees and the more novice trees should I say, was not so great. The level of members trees has been raised significantly and long may it continue.
Because the Botanical Gardens were open to the public for free this particular weekend and due to the good weather. There were plenty of people passing through the exhibition and many showing real interest.
For the bonsai people who were there, Walsall Studio Ceramics, Dave and Mark Jones were in attendance with a fine selection of pots. Corin Tomlinson from Greenwood Studio's (son of Harry) was also in attendance and he had sales tables with trees and tools for sale.
Thank you to all the MBS guys for making me welcome and Simon for your support.
This Juniper here was seriously in need of a makeover. It was one of three trees I was asked to style for a guy in Scotland. I styled two of the trees and did some work on the roots and foliage on the other a Taxus.
Unfortunately I see many trees that have regressed, either through lack of time on the owners part, pure neglect or incorrect technique.
The foliage on this particular juniper had become open and 'leggy' for what ever reason. I have had to address the foliage problem first before styling. This shot was taken just after styling, (it has not been treated with Lime Sulphur here as the owner wanted to do that themselves) Now it needs be pruned properly in the years ahead to get the foliage back to the condition it was about 5 years ago and to maintain the form we expect of this species. By that I mean Itoigawa = Tight Foliage. I hope the owner will keep up with this as it is a very nice tree.
This tree once won the BEST CHUHIN award at the Newstead Awards many years ago but has been allowed to regress since then. I often wonder if this is the fate of many other trees just based on the number of trees that I have sold over the years which just disappear into the ether!
Art in time, for time !