Transformations

Smoke

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I was able to work on pinching and cleaing of three small shohin bonsai over the last few days. I was able to pull up a few older photo's to see how they have progressed in the last few years. Some have taken longer and some have really worked well in a short period.

The first one is a small trident maple. I do not have a before picture of it before the chop but it was about 12 inches tall. I aquired the tree in 1998 from Sandy Planting, a local Shohin guru much like Doris Frowning. I chopped it down to about half. It was a pretty blunt chop and it had healed slowly. I potted it soon after the chop, like the following year, and growth was slow.

I recently took the tree from the small pots that I kept it in and am now growing it out in a larger but still small container. The chop is nearly healed now and the canopy has really started to take on a better shape. Maybe one more year in the grow pot to work on the branches a little more and it will be ready to go back to a show pot.

The first pic is from 2001 and the second from 2002. My largest critic during that time, Carl Bergstrom had some pretty negative things to say about this tree. I wish he could see it now.
 

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Bill S

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The pot is cracked, and it might not have a good winter silhouette . :D ;)

But my hasn't it turned out well though. Nice little trident Al, thanks for the looksee.
 

Smoke

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This Kishu shimpaku was aquired from Mas Ishii. I worked on the tree and was not happy with the results. It needed help if it was going to be anything ever in its life. I decided to try something more radical. It was pruned back hard and transformed to a semi cascade.

It was pretty crude in it's infancy but I knew where the tree was going. Carl Bergstrom had this to say three years ago:

"Hi Al,

Sorry to be a naysayer, but this one doesn't work for me. It a matter of lines and matter of rootball preparation.

I don't see flowing lines to this semi-cascade; maybe good foliage pads will help but the trunk doesn't move for me.

And that "hump" above where the trunk emerges? It looks like a tree has been take out of its pot and leaned, at a sharp angle, in another one. (Which, in effect, it has.) I think that part of the problem is that the rootball clearly needs a couple of years' work to adjust to the new planting angle - and so it looks badly out of place in this small show-quality pot.

Best regards,
Carl"


Once again I would love to hear his comments today.
 

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Smoke

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This small hornbeam turned up at the recent Modesto exhibit in the vendor room. Someone was training it to be a larger tree while I saw more potential as a smaller tree taking advantage of the awesome lower trunk.

This is the results of only 65 days. The last photo is a virtual of what it may look like in a pot I just purchased recently from the Tokoname catalog.
 

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Smoke

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This a shot of the inside with catalog number and one of the bottom with a little cornstarch rubbed in the signature. I would love to know who the potter is. Anyone out there know?
 

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Martin Sweeney

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Al,

Thanks for posting these three trees. You have a good eye for finding a better tree in the material you are working on.

Best regards,
Martin
 

Smoke

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Al,

Thanks for posting these three trees. You have a good eye for finding a better tree in the material you are working on.

Best regards,
Martin

Thank you Martin, that is the best compliment I have ever recieved. I'm pretty happy with the results so far also:D
 

JasonG

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Good work Al!! Nice trasformations on all of these and the Juniper came out very nice. Yes, I would love to see what Carl has to say now! Great work, and thanks for sharing with us!

Jason
 

Rick Moquin

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Nice work Al! Probably the hardest thing for anyone to see is ones' vision. When a tree takes on drastic transformations, it is bound to look weird/ugly in the begining (as with the shimp). But nonetheless it matured nicely towards its intended future.
 

Attila Soos

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Bad Carl!
Instead of complimenting Al's trees, look what you've done! Just to prove you wrong, he vowed to make those misfits into decent material!


That's what happens when someone tells you that you can't do it. To me, negative criticism is the strongest motivator. It brings the moster out of me, and nothing will stop me until I finish the job that I set out to do.

Good work Al, both the maple and the juniper are vastly improved. The hornbeam is not bad either, but I would have planted into the ground for 5 years and made it into a large bonsai. It had a very nice trunk movement, and you ruined it:rolleyes: . Probably you wanted it to become a bonsai sooner, instead of investing another 5 years into it. Nothing wrong with the plan, it's just that it is very hard to find material for large bonsai, with such a nice trunk movement.
 

pjkatich

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Al,

Thanks for taking the time to share your work. The transformations you posted are very inspirational to those of us with similar material languishing in our gardens. You have given me some incentive to pull a few out and give them an attitude adjustment.

While I am adding in my two cents worth, I would like to compliment you on your stands. Your woodworking skills are top notch.

Keep us the great work.

Best wishes,
Paul
 

Mark

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Al,

My first impression was "nice work" and "good eye" also.
Then I realized that these were not collected trees and so they will never amount to anything. We were instructed that this was a waste of time, but you didn't listen!

Best Regards,

Mark

P.S. I am also a little disapointed that you did not just jin the top of the Hornbeam. A big honkin' jin, twice the size of the rest of the tree. It would have been so "natural". I have seen this in nature and also on Bonsai forums so it must be ok. You really have not been paying attention. I guess my first impressions were just wrong.
 

Rick Moquin

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Al,

My first impression was "nice work" and "good eye" also.
Then I realized that these were not collected trees and so they will never amount to anything. We were instructed that this was a waste of time, but you didn't listen!

Best Regards,

Mark

P.S. I am also a little disapointed that you did not just jin the top of the Hornbeam. A big honkin' jin, twice the size of the rest of the tree. It would have been so "natural". I have seen this in nature and also on Bonsai forums so it must be ok. You really have not been paying attention. I guess my first impressions were just wrong.

need a shovel or pair of rubber boots:rolleyes:
 

Smoke

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This Kishu shimpaku was aquired from Mas Ishii. I worked on the tree and was not happy with the results. It needed help if it was going to be anything ever in its life. I decided to try something more radical. It was pruned back hard and transformed to a semi cascade.

It was pretty crude in it's infancy but I knew where the tree was going. Carl Bergstrom had this to say three years ago:

"Hi Al,

Sorry to be a naysayer, but this one doesn't work for me. It a matter of lines and matter of rootball preparation.

I don't see flowing lines to this semi-cascade; maybe good foliage pads will help but the trunk doesn't move for me.

And that "hump" above where the trunk emerges? It looks like a tree has been take out of its pot and leaned, at a sharp angle, in another one. (Which, in effect, it has.) I think that part of the problem is that the rootball clearly needs a couple of years' work to adjust to the new planting angle - and so it looks badly out of place in this small show-quality pot.

Best regards,
Carl"


Once again I would love to hear his comments today.

This poor tree has had quite a hard life. It gets strong then declines, I change it, mess it up, repot it and just for the most part keep it in a state of disrepair all the time. Over the last two years the tail on the cascade died. The rest of the tree showed brown patches and I thought it was going for its last breath. Suddenly it snapped out of it and started throwing out tons of juvinile foliage and so I re wired it and started it on its way back to an upright tree with its dead tail. I think I bought the original tree around 2003.
 

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JudyB

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This was a thread I had missed when I read thru material from before I joined, so I'm happy that it was updated to see it all!

I think that being able to see the tree within the tree is the most important skill and the one that cannot be taught. It's almost like magic. Obviously here are great examples of this.
 
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