Thursday, 26 December 2013

Customer Styling projects (1)

As well as the normal tree and accessory sales, workshops and maintaining our own tree collection I am doing an increasing amount of wiring and styling for customers and friends. One friend has a large number of very healthy material trees that he wants to enjoy a bit more tweaked to be better bonsai,with the best 15-20% brought up to show readiness for the various club and West country events on his calender.

This tree was part of the collection of the late Manuel Gonzalez and was auctioned off recently. My client bought the tree but has not been excited by it since getting it home so I went to have a look and assured him there was a very nice bonsai hiding in there. Like many trees that come from people with very large collections, or trees from individuals that have had a period of ill health, increasing old age etc the tree was very overgrown and was very oversized for the trunk diameter.This was the 2nd Juniper from the same auction I've worked on recently and both were very much the same showing 4 or 5 years of free dense growth and a solid silhouette with way too many branches and hardly any spaces.

This great big mop of foliage was destroying any image of a delicate bonsai because it overpowers the slender trunk and the eye is so overwhelmed with greenery that all the the trunk movement is lost. The beauty of getting a very healthy but neglected tree to work on though is having the luxury of selecting what to keep and what to prune out.

I had been given total free hand to style the tree as I wanted so my main consideration was making a bonsai my client could enjoy straight away - he is getting a little older so does not want me to make a tree that will need another 5 years to look nice....this is the most important thing I weigh up when working on customer projects - what timescale are they happy with.

This was my work plan:
Prune out what is not needed
Thin all remaining foliage
guy wire main branches
wire everything else that needs it, styling branch by branch from bottom to top

Material transformed - 9.5 hours and a kilo of copper wire

Now we have a trunk and branches that complement each other and the tree can be put into a much better sized pot this spring

Tree two was a garden center yew, still in its plastic pot, but this time many branches had already been removed so it was a case of making a better bonsai from what was left

This tree has an additional consideration in that the time (and therefore cost) put into it needs to be representative of the material and in keeping with the value of the finished tree. The bottom branch was just too low so off it came, leaving a good jin to attach guy wires onto so the branches above could be bent down in a convincing mature conifer image.

I've left a little extra foliage on the lowest branch for now as the tree will bud back over next summer and we can cut back a bit.
3.0 hrs, 250gr Copper wire 

Some first styling work was done on a collected Korean hornbeam stump where very poorly placed branches were removed and better branches selected, pruned and wired. 

Basic styling work like these projects are charged by the hour plus wire and materials. Estimates to give a fairly accurate idea of potential costs for styling projects can be given from pictures emailed through to 

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