Sunday, 20 April 2014

Post 147 Revisit Canberra Arboretum and NBPC

I've just been on a bit of a road trip from Brisbane to Mildura via Canberra and bits of Victoria. Here in Australia we don't think much about going for a drive and notching up 5750km in under 2 weeks. Actually it was just a bit too much this time.

On the way we dropped in to the National Bonsai collection at the Canberra Arboretum to show my wife the setup. She was very impressed.

They have a couple of my pots there and I was keen to see them in service.

The first one is Pot 37 is holding an azalea; (which looks like it could do with a bit of a trim).

 And the second one is holding a trident forest. This pot was commissioned for this group in the middle of 2013. It's Pot no 86. Photos can be deceptive - this pot is 600mm long.

The Bonsai area was undergoing some maintenance and a large number of trees were in the work area, this one included. Great to see the pots matched up with their intended trees.

 Travelling through the Australian landscape there is bonsai inspiration all around. The following couple of shots were taken in the Victorian Alps. Magnificent eucalypts growing in a style that would be directly applicable to Australian native bonsai.




This one was in a field in southern mid-west NSW. Just a fantastic model for a bonsai. In fact I liked it so much I brought it home and put it in a pot!

Well digitally speaking.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Post 146 Tables complete

Just to finish off what I started in my last post I've now finished painting my new display tables.
Four coats of Cabots water soluble varnish stain in deep mahogany give a nice satin finish and a good deep colour and you can still see the grain of the timber. It is surprising how well the simple old domestic pine has come up.

Here is the larger of the tables supporting a nice twin trunk swampy. Making the tables and finishing in a very traditional colouring and finish, reinforces the minor part the table plays in the overall composition. The focus is always on the tree and while the table must reach a certain minimum standard, once done it becomes quite invisible.
Having the tree up at a better height increases this effect. The observer's eyes and senses are much better served by being within the trees height range than above it, focussing attention even further away from the display table.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Post 145 Display Tables

Yes I know the pottery has taken a bit of a back seat lately with one thing and another. One of those things is a little carpentry but most certainly bonsai carpentry.

I got a bee in my bonnet a while ago about display height at exhibitions, The tables at most venues are the stock standard 'sit down and eat at' type and only about 700mm to 750mm high; not nearly the right height to view bonsai, especially the smaller ones.
Back in January I spent a little time researching exhibitions around the world and posted on the results. Have a look here.
The optimal height looks to be around 1100 for best viewing of most trees.

To cut a long story short I committed to making some display tables to get my trees up a bit next time I have the opportunity to display at a show. The next chance looks like being in May so it was time to turn ideas into action.

As you can see my pottery workshop has reverted to carpentry with the slab roller now a very useful bench. Any wonder I can never find my pencil.
I'm making three tables, all 350mm high and with different top sizes.

 Here are the first two, to a similar design, relatively easy to execute with mostly right angles. The third one, larger again, is still in construction. It will have slightly tapered and splayed legs; just a little more complex in the build.

I'm using stock standard pine so they'll be a little prone to bumps but it's easy to work with and comes in a variety of sizes that means there is less preparation to be done. I'll put the wear and tear down as patina. When all done I'll stain and varnish with a mahagony colouring. I've been at these for a few days now - man it takes some time, and I'd say at least another full one left to finish up, including three coats of paint.
More pots soon!