I did this next restyling in the first week of October 2010. I posted it that same week for the first time. I am glad that I can now re post it on to my blog, because I think a lot of people might not have red it before!
a few days ago we had some surprisingly warm and sunny weather, so I decided it was a brilliant day to do some light bonsai work. The week before I had removed all the wire raffia, tape and plucked all the old needles. So “Wolfie” was all ready to be restyled again!
In 2003 me and Tony Tickle had the privilege to visit the wonderful garden and Bonsai collection of my friend Wolfgang Putz in Austria. Besides sampling from Wolfgang’s enormous collection of self made snaps (11 o’clock in the morning), I was also lucky enough to swap with him one of my Yamadori Yews, that I had brought along, for this old Mugo Pine, that Wolfgang had collected himself! Wolfgang was very generous to us that day! He is one of the nicest guy’s I had the pleasure to meet and that’s why I named this little tree “Wolfie”! The nickname that we used when we spook about Wolfgang!
Below: Future back side.
In 2005 I was invited to do a two day demo at the famous “Joy of bonsai” in Bath (UK). So I brought along “Wolfie” to give it it’s first styling. Because, Wolfgang had planted this tree tilted more to the right, that initial styling by me was don in a slightly different way and direction than it’s present design is. But the general idea never changed.
Below: During my demo at “Joy of bonsai”.
This main branch needed a lot of protection before I would try to bend it closer to the trunk. All along the length of that branch there is a lot of twirling deadwood that made it almost impossible to bend. But it did bend and with out breaking anywhere!
Below: Working on the deadwood.
Below: The final resuld of a day’s hard work.
Below: 2006. Here I repotted the tree for the first time. Because Wolfgang had planted this tree on a piece of Styrofoam, it had a wonderful flat root base! So I was able to plant it in to a shallow round pot. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the root base on the right side, that was hidden before, was wonderful, so I planted the tree tilted more to the left side. Showing the whole width of the root base. And in this way, you can just see peaking over the right rootbase, a piece of the rock that “Wolfie” has his grip on, on it’s backside!
Below: This is how it looked in May 2006.
Below: A few days ago. I am finally getting used to working on a tree while sitting down. But I cant wait to be able to do it standing up again! First the large Jin/deadwood section on the left side was extended. Now it is running along the underside of the trunk to the right side. The Jin it self will be restyled, when I am more used to the new image of the tree. Then the tree was wired and the deadwood cleaned and treated with Lime sulfur. I know it look way to bright, but I know out of experience that it will become more natural looking in a few months time.
Below: With a soft brush on a slow spinning power tool, the excess lime sulfur is removed from the live bark. Now the deadwood is bleached you can clearly see the Shari that runs across this old curling branch.
Below: Than with the help of my trusty garbage bin with a turning wheel, the tree was elevated to almost eye level height. Working standing up, with the tree at this height is the best way for me to style a tree! I realy need to be able to step backwards and forwards. And to bend side ways and up and downwards. Here I am just about satisfied for now.
Below: So here is the newly styled image of “Wolfie”. The first hanging branch, along with two other major branches, are removed. There is a exciting new empty space just above the first Jin on the left and the old empty space underneed the trunk is now more prominent and hold the tree up. Because of these new empty spaces, more of the amazing trunk movement is shown, with all it’s flaws and quirkiness. Now that the left Jin is lengthened into a Shari, even that long straight trunk section don’t bothers me any more. It makes this little tree more exciting to look at. There is even a piece of rock living in the middle of that part of the trunk. “Wolfie” must have picked up this pebble ages ago and they have been companions ever since. The grown and branches need to fill out some more and the Jins need more refining, but that’s for later!
I am realy pleased with this new and more mature image of “Wolfie”. I hope you enjoyed this little story?!
Hans van Meer.
I am glad that you like “Wolfie’s” new image! It is such a strangely shaped tree, and it has been quit a challenge to find some sort of balance in it’s dis balance! I hope that that makes any sense? It is hard to see in these pictures, bud this tree makes the strangest moves. This present front side is realy the only frond side posible, but that meant having to deal with that straight section and a root base that almost runs diagonally from the right frond corner towards the left backside corner. Away from the viewer! And to make things even more difficult, two of the main branches are all naturally curled up and full of Shari, making it almost imposible to make big changes in their position. But is was a inspiring challenge to try to find the tree inside this Pine with it’s mind of his own! I tried to use it’s flaws? as a prominent part in my design. Why hide natures quirkiness and mishaps? They tell us the history of this old tree and all the struggles it had to endure in its long live high in the mountains. That’s why I fell in love with this tree, the first time I saw it at Wolfgang’s place. It’s obvious signs of struggle and hardship, made him special to me. So I tried my best to bring out the hidden beauty of these signs of the hard live it had to endure.
Below: 2009. A close up picture of the right side. The red arrow points at the present front side. I made a yellow dotted line across the length of the trunk, that if you follow it, gives you a good idea about the fact that some were in it’s past this tree was forced to grow in to a completely different direction! He almost made a full twist on it’s self to the left side, that over time turned in to a knot. From that knot the straight section start, leading into the Jin on left side of the tree. Here you can also see the stone that “Wolfie” is holding on to.
Below: A other picture from 2009. Here you can see the small pieces of wood that I just to hold the very old branches into there new place, after the wire was removed. The first white arrow on the trunk points at this knot in the trunk. And shows how this twisted part looks from the frond side. Than when you follow the trunk line further upward, there is a second white arrow on the trunk pointing at a second full twist in the trunk line! And you have a clear view of how the main branches has grown in circles over decades.
It is such a fun tree to work on. And I cant wait to find a great pot for “Wolfie”, but I still have a couple of years time to find that perfect one, so there is no rush!
Hans van Meer.