Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Post 208 New bonsai pots out of the kiln

My last round of pot making was a little rushed, driven by the imminent schedule of my local bonsai club show ; the Redlands Bonsai Society. They have a great expose of the exhibited trees on their blog. I had a nice little Blauuw Juniper to exhibit but had been growing it in a pot that was just a tiny bit too long and just a little bit too pale in colour. These things really do matter, but more on that soon.

 Pot No 230    Size 420 x 315 x 90

First up is a commission pot that I'd really rather keep for myself. Its an oval with a rounded rim  and just under-turned convex wall. The glaze is a heavy application of a teally green with a really nice satin matt texture. I've used the base a lot but after 230 pots this is the first pot to wear this colour. It certainly will not be the last. The pot is destined to contain one of those classic olive yamadoris with the wide flaring base.

 This is a closer view of the glaze, one of my classic Nepheline Syenite bases with copper, cobalt, rutile and zircopax. The rutile gives it that little fleck.

 And then a three- quarter view.

 Pot No 233  at  260 x 200 x 72

The next one is a much smaller pot. Its a little square flanged oval in an offwhite glaze tinted with just 2% nickel and 3.5% titanium. This has given it an ever so slight greenish offwhite with brown fleck.

 A little while ago I bought a nice little Serissa from a friend and yes that is what this pot is for. This pot and a little restyling and I'm planning on a new entry for next year's show.

 Pot No 234  250 x 190 x 72

Pot 234 was made on the same mold as 232 but then finished with the flange rim and with the same glaze. I made this one as an alternative for the same tree to test the rim on/rim off dynamic. Rim on I think. It will always find a home.

Pot No 231  Size  260 x 200 x 72

I've made a couple of other pots like this little deep oval to house a couple of my tanuki sargents which is where they are now, but I just needed one more. Nice proportions in the hand and glazed in another of my satin browns.

 Pot No 232   230 x 170 x 55

This pot and the next were another rim on/rim off pair; both bowed wall rectangular pots.

The next one is the rimmed partner of the pair and the one that lead to the rush. Bisque fired on the Tuesday, glaze fired on the Thursday and into the show on the Saturday. Yes it came out of the kiln hot on Friday.

 Pot No 235   240 x 180 x 55
 Flanged, bowed wall rectangular, satin glaze including feet for the conifer. 

This was the Blauuww Juniper it was meant to house with the photo taken during the show. It came home with an award for the best in the 250 to 450mm class. Fairly slender but quite an elegant, open, finely structured tree when you see it in the flesh. Perhaps the pot helped get it over the line and that crazy rush last week was worth it.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Post 207 Ficus sacrafice branch removal

I have a couple of old root over rock Ficus benjamina 'Baby Ben' trees that I've I've grown from cuttings I struck way back when. I knew less then than I do now about bonsai development and on this tree in particular the lowest branch was one that got 'left behind'. 

You see this a lot. A branch doesn't develop enough before the tree (and the owner) moves on and grows taller. Time never fixes the problem and the branch gets left behind. These underweight branches can be a compositional flaw, distorting the proportions of the tree.
The only thing to be done is to either cut it off and restyle or grow a sacrificial appendage to build it up. I chose the latter.

The same conundrum applies to stump started bonsai where the branches come second. Lower branches are always a challenge to develop and sacrafical entension is the fastest way to achieve proportion.

Two years ago I got started, identified a small leading piece of growth and most importantly pointed it upright. As it extended I gave it a pole to grow on and away it went. This will never be achieved by allowing such a branch to remain in a horizontal or lower position.

Here it is now after two growth seasons. The branch has bulked up to the right diameter  and it is time to take the sacrificial extension off. As I look at it now that is quite a rooster tail.

Here's a picture from the left side showing the branch. The cut will be made just after the small secondary branch to the left.

After removal you get a small view of the lower branch and it is a much more appropriately proportioned diameter than two years ago. It no longer stands out as an obvious flaw. It is spring here in Brisbane, the tree has had its annual root prune is just breaking out into a new cloak of beautiful bronze-green foliage.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Post 206 Two firings and a bundle of new pots

Along with the new tanuki from Post No 205 there were some pots in the same firing and then another, 8 in all. Here they all are.

The first is a deep oval pot with a heavy rim. It is Pot No 224 at  262 x 204 x 83. The glaze is a previously used teal green applied heavily. It has a very impasto feel to the finish and should age beautifully.

The next is Pot No 225 at 358 x 270 x 95. It is a fairly heavy pot designed for a solid conifer. The colour and style should match nicely.

Here is another picture in pictorial view. The shape is bowed wall rectangular with cut corners.

Next up is Pot No 223   at 330 x 240 x 89, another bowed wall rectangular pot in a lighter brown.

In this pictorial shot you get a better idea of the wall shape.

Pot No 222  at 535 x 410 x 51. This one is a large low oval with a concave wall profile in a good practical neutral brown, made for a large semi formal upright conifer.

Pot No 222 in pictorial view.

This is a detail of the wall profile for Pot No 222.

The last 4 are pots for my own trees. Pot No 226 is a round pot with a diameter of 250 x 80 high. It has a rock textured wall. This one is one of two I made with a similar texture, one a little taller than the other. One will house a 45 year old Queensland Bottle Tree with a very interesting twisted root/trunk composition. 

And this is the similar pot -  Pot No 228, a round pot with a diameter of 240 x 77 high.
The colour on this one is a little darker.

Pot No 229  is a small oval at 254 x 205 x 66 in a well used brown glaze.

Here a pictorial view.

And the last one is Pot No 227  at  259 x 220 x 76. Is is a similar shape to Pot 229, just a little deeper. The glaze is a much used and liked '7-27 brown.