More Bonsai-San & Deadwood Wizardry

Nice close up. Based on the reddish bark and what you see of the leaves, I think this might be a Yew (how’s that for hedging? and no pun intended –  Yews are often used for hedges). Back to the present. Our last two posts have featured trees from European  Bonsai-San shows. The first from the just completed 2015 show and the second from 2013. Now it’s back to 2015 with some shots by Philippe Massard that I stumbled upon yesterday (we featured Phillippe’s Noelanders Trophy XV photos last year and a couple months ago).   This is the second time … Continue reading More Bonsai-San & Deadwood Wizardry

The Sensationalism of Deadwood?

There’s deadwood and then there’s deadwood. This photo is from Francois Jeker’s website. Judging from the bark and the leaves, I’d guess this is a Yew. Probably European (Taxus baccata). Dick Matthews wrote this in the comments on a post from a few days ago (from my personal facebook feed). “Sometime I think that in a bizarre sort of way, bonsai is evolving into the sensationalism of dead wood. The more bizarre looking the dead wood, the more it represents the age of a bonsai, but I don’t think that the dead wood should be the central theme and eye-catcher … Continue reading The Sensationalism of Deadwood?

An Outrageous Explosion

This perfect curlycue has to be among the all time greats when it comes to distinctive deadwood. The tree belongs to the very talented Minoru Akiyama. The photo appears just the way I found it, with the apex and most of the pot missing. The art of carving bonsai deadwood was popularized by Masahiko Kimura and his custom power tools back in the 80s and 90s. Now a couple decades later amazing deadwood (and not so amazing deadwood) is everywhere with more and more outrageously wild examples popping up. Though this explosion of jin and shari is not everyone’s cup … Continue reading An Outrageous Explosion

Revisting a Gallerie de Francois Jeker

We’re back to our old tricks (this post originally appeared way back in 2010). Now my excuse is that Corey’s on vacation, so I’m swamped (as is Ric in the warehouse) and the best way out of the swamp is to take the easy path. There’s a good reason for picking this particular post from our achieves; Francois Jeker’s Bonsai Aesthetics 2 is now available. This means that you can complete your set, or if you don’t have either Bonsai Aesthetics volumes, you can buy the set at a discount. Carving with a French flare (from our archieves) We have … Continue reading Revisting a Gallerie de Francois Jeker

Upcoming Bonsai Events & Big Summer Book Sale Ends Soon

An example of Francois Jeker’s styling and deadwood carving. Francois is a headliner at the Eda Uchi Kai Bonsai-Ten 2013 (see below). He is also the author of Bonsai Aesthetics one and two. FREE ADVERTISING! Would you like to see your bonsai event featured here? If so, just send me a notice with a link to the event. That’s it. But remember, no link, no show. My email is You might also want to mention the event in the comments below. Big Summer Book Sale ends soon. 20% to 25% off all books. Don’t wait! Two classics, one old … Continue reading Upcoming Bonsai Events & Big Summer Book Sale Ends Soon

A Solution to a Nonexistent Problem

If you pitch your tent in the Naturalistic Bonsai camp, then it’s probably too late to suggest you avert your eyes. So… as long as you are looking at this remarkable tree, I’ll just comment on how the static perfectly groomed crown seems to contrast with the swirling movement in the perfectly groomed deadwood. Something like that. The artist is Minoru Akiyama, who is one of the headliners at this year’s Mid Atlantic (scroll down a little for more info). It’s that time of year. You can tell because every other post these days features a few big bonsai events … Continue reading A Solution to a Nonexistent Problem

Thematic Incoherence & Embarrassed Apologies

Continuing with Bonsai Today, this gorgeous, sinewy New Zealand tea tree (Leptospermum scoparium) appeared on the cover of issue 96 (still available and 75% off). Not much more needs to be said about this one (it speaks for itself), except maybe to comment on the variety. Though you may occasionally see a New Zealand tea bonsai, in general they are not that common, at least here in the Northern Hemisphere. But, even if you have seen them before, I’ll take a wild guess and venture that you have never seen one quite like this. Thematic incoherence. This post is a … Continue reading Thematic Incoherence & Embarrassed Apologies

Sculpting Deadwood

Francios Jeker‘s finger and dremel power carving tool. From Bonsai Today 105 (still available). It didn’t used to be this way Have you noticed how almost everybody carves deadwood these day? It wasn’t always the case. I just thumbed through Kyuzo Murata‘s classic Four Seasons of Bonsai (first edition 1991 and long out of print) and could find only 3 or 4 bonsai that had some carving (out of over 100 trees). The same goes if you look back through other older bonsai publications. New horizons Even though it’s overused, carving opens up whole new horizons for us bonsai hackers, … Continue reading Sculpting Deadwood

Planning Ahead: Francois Is Returning

I picked this pine (Scot’s?) up off of Francois Jeker’s website. I had a feeling we’ve used it before (we’ve posted around 1,000 bonsai on this blog so far, so it’s hard to keep track) and sure enough, we used a slightly different version of it exactly one year ago today to promote Francois’ 2010 visit to Rosade Bonsai Studio (auspicious coincidence, eh?). It’s a classic yamadori and even though it doesn’t show too much of Francois’ masterful carving, I like it’s simplicity and power. Altogether a very handsome tree (and in an amazingly small pot). Return engagement Francois Jeker, … Continue reading Planning Ahead: Francois Is Returning