First off, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m very new to bonsai. (Ignore the post count, it means nothing.) IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been studying bonsai for just under a year and although IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m very exuberant in my interest in the art form, I am still a neophyte. This was made very evident when I attended a workshop with Sandro Segneri on Monday, 5/17/2010. I showed up with two junipers that I had purchased at a local nursery. He looked at them and chose one and said weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d work on that one. I could tell by the look on his face that was wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t impressed with either of them. Then I looked at what the other people had brought with them, and I felt my heart sink. I had hamburger and they had fillet mignon. But, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what I had to work with, so what could I do? First, he had me cut down the nursery pot to the soil line, then work around the trunk to discover the nebari. Well, there wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t much there. Another disappointment. Next, he had me use a brush and sandpaper to remove the old bark until it was down to a soft, cinnamon color. I had never done this to a trunk before. Next, we removed some of the lower branches and made jins and carved shari below them. I had never carved shari before. Next, I wired the secondary and tertiary branches, clockwise or counter-clockwise based on the direction they were to be adjusted. I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know there was a way to wire based on the direction of the movement desired.
So, as you can see, I learned quite a bit from the workshop. I felt like a first grader attending a college course. Sandro was great, and he took the time to show me how to do the different tasks and didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make me feel like I was wasting his time. One of the most important things I learned was not to waste money buying garbage trees. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d go and spend $10 here and $15 there to acquire what I now recognize as ugly sticks in pots. No taper to the trunks. No nebari. No character at all. I went home and looked at what trees I have collected over the past year and wanted to throw it all on the compost heap. I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t, but surely wanted to. The one juniper I have that has any real potential is still on the cusp of mortality after being gathered from my friendÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s yard.
Now, I made myself a promise. No more junky trees. Instead of throwing my money away on mediocre stock, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m going to purchase decent pre-bonsai trees that have real potential. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll keep my other trees around to fiddle with, but no more wasting my time acquiring low-potential trees.
I felt like I grew up a little bit this week.
[url=https://s956.photobucket.com/albums/ae50/marsman61/Bonsai/Sandro%20Segneri%205-17-10/]Link to some pictures from the workshop and lecture.[/url]