Tuesday, 5 March 2013

practicing hard and fast...........

Counting down to the EBA European talent final.......less than 4 weeks to go before I set of on a bonsai adventure to the far side of northern France to represent Fobbs and the UK as our candidate for 2013.

Looking back I really do enjoy these types of competitions - There was a Devon based new talent competion set up a few years ago to add some audience interest to the Exmouth Bonsai Show. I was lucky to win the first two years running so the cup lived in Cornwall, then last year I was demo'ing at the show and Oliver entered - first time he had worked on a juniper and he won ! so the cup came back with us for the third year running.

My winter bonsai plans have been fairly juniper orientated as it is highly likely they will be the species used for the final so I took the grafted Itoigawa to the Ryan Neil workshop and got some wiring practice in - biggest thing I learnt on that tree was planning ahead when thinning and branch selecting so the wiring becomes neat and quick. Peter Warren helped me late last year by showing me how to layer foliage pads better rather than making them too flat, and gave me the best 'pre-Uk final' advice possible............."keep plenty of green bits"...........words I have never forgotten when trying to make a tree look nice for this type of bonsai competition work.

 I was at a loose end this morning waiting for a lorry load of bait ingredients to turn up before I could fire up the machine to get this weeks orders made and shipped by Friday. I looked at the larger raw Itoigawa Juniper material that I picked up a few weeks ago and decided to try a 3 hour timed practice ( the final is 3hrs) on one of them.

Here was the lucky!! candidate. I have 4 of these all quite similar and after 3 hours had all the branches wired and placed (but had no camera in the factory). Still no lorry so i spent another 45 minutes carving the jins a bit more and painting them with lime sulphar. Finished result is really pleasing I think

Once you take a picture it gets easier to see a couple of small adjustments that will make the spaces/pads a little clearer, but for a first styling I think it turned out OK.

Most evenings I do a small juniper or pine (just in case - oh I'd love a pine or yew as the final tree haha)

The black pine was a nice change and worked out really well (and it is a lovely tree for a shohin display - it certainly has a direction !)  while the little corkscrew type Itoigawas are great fun - an hour in front of the telly with some fine copper wire has been creating some lovely little trees. (and a ground sheet on the carpet !) I am so chuffed to have filled the car up with these great little japanese import trees - the wiring fingers are certainly freed up now.

I'm really glad to have entered the New Talent comp as the practice leading up to each heat has really helped all my bonsai styling and practical skills....I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who enjoys making a bonsai image from unseen material against the clock....just check the FOBBS web site for details of the 2014 heats.



  1. Fantastic work Marcus!
    In case I don't again before France...
    GOOD LUCK!!!!!! :)

  2. thanks junky ! ;-) do you really like tofu ?