Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Randy Brings Buckeyes to ACBS

Randy's seed grown Buckeyes
by Michael Rusnak
At the ACBS May meeting our own Randy Pepper brought in a group of young buckeye trees that that he had raised over the past couple of seasons from collected seeds. 

Randy gave the buckeyes to members who were willing to give them a try. 

Several of the umbrella shaped three year seedlings
He discussed some of the experiments he has done with them, observing, for example how they respond to pruning along the trunk.  A few started look like cool and exotic literati projects.  

Though not a traditional subject for bonsai, the tall lanky growth pattern of Ohio's signature native tree might lend itself to the literati style at some point. It will be fun to see what people come up with and maybe have an Ohio Buckeye or two in one of our future exhibits.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Saturday, May 12, 2018

The President's Challenge: Create a Literati Pine from Seedling

Literati from seedling
ACBS's president Mike Rusnak often says that much of the fun in bonsai is in the process, the process of making something out of almost nothing, or more specifically, developing a bonsai over time from simple nursery sock or from discarded material. 

This year Mike passed out two Scotch pine seedlings to each member and issued a challenge.  Members are to work with the seedlings and over the next few/ five  seasons develop a literati bonsai.

At this point each member should have taken home their seedlings, potted them, get them healthy and made growing, and perhaps make some preliminary cuts or wiring to get it on its way.

Developing a pine bonsai is a rewarding project. Typically, it will take about five years to start looking presentable.  We will check in with how they are doing at one of our monthly meeting each year.  We'll also learn more together, and in the end members will have developed their own cool literati.  Imagine having a table of member-created literati pines at one of our future club exhibits. How cool would that be????

Check out what Ken did with the left over scraggly one Mike gave him at the April meeting.

Ken Does Maple Madness At April Meeting

At the ACBS's April meeting, our own Ken Huth showed us his "maple madness" ideas to start projects for this growing season.  Ken showed some slides on how you can make some pretty amazing stuff with a few seedlings and a couple of growing seasons.

Ken in known for experimenting with unconventional training techniques.  He likes to see what He demonstrated a neat root over rock maple setting a group of six trident seedlings over a rock, and keeping them in place with a tight wrap of black electrical tape and steel wire.

Ken also demonstrated a fusion project binding a small handful of seedlings into one, coiling them together with a tight wrap of steel wire. Additionally, Ken brought in a group of experiments from past seasons where he left the wire in place and the tree grew over and around it.  While keeping the wire on a tree is not often recommended, he showed several examples from his experiment.  Some of the trees thickened considerably and produces some interesting textures and shapes along the trunk.
These are inexpensive project ideas and look like a lot of fun to try. 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Jim Doyle Visits ACBS

Nationally known bonsai artist Jim Doyle visited the ACBS in March and led a workshop on some field grown lindens and Korenan hornbeams.  Jim showed us a brief presentation on ways to develop a deciduous bonsai and also talked about care and maintenance.

He worked his way around participating members and discussed with each different viewing angles and plans for developing and the tree. He discussed design elements including pruning back large branches, selecting and apex and training branches downward to give the illusion of age to the tree.
Check out some video clips from the workshop here on our youtube channel.

Jim is the owner of Nature's Way bonsai nursery in Pennsylvania, and has been studying bonsai since 1980.  He has worked with some internationally known artists such as Walter Pall in Germany and has exhibited his trees nationally and internationally. For a full biography, see his websitehttp://www.natureswaybonsai.com

Monday, October 30, 2017

Multiple Pine Experiments and Projects at ACBS Meeting

by Michael Rusnak

Randy with his dynamic scots pine
Greg discusses a wild tree
During last month’s meeting I thought of the saying that there is a real quality in quantity.  The sheer number of pine projects that Greg and Randy Pepper had going on created a certain excitement for what these tree would look like in future seasons.  Additionally, their presentation was a reminder of how the art as well as the skill in creating a bonsai is a matter of doing. It is learned by doing.  Talking and reading are fun and helpful, but nothing substitutes for the act of working with trees—and in these case lots of them.  That was for me very exciting.  To go from tree to tree and talk with others about how it might develop, creating dynamic trunk movement, it’s future crown was just plain fun. 

I read an article once that said UK bonsai artist Kevin Wilson (http://www.kevinwillsonbonsai.com/) ordered a couple of hundred of young larches, and worked on them one after another in order to learn how to create dynamic and interesting bonsai. 

Starting a new bonsai project is just and exciting venture. Greg and Randy’s excitement grabbed everyone in the room.   Bonsai is always like looking to the future.  How will this tree look next summer, in two summers? What movement can I give it and what line should it follow? Where will the apex be?  Greg and Randy fed our excitement for pine projects and the kind of things that can be developed from simple nursery stock.
Pine from a construction site
a small literati develops over time
And there was more. The story of this large pine (right) was a great one.  Greg related that the tree was dug from the end of a driveway on a construction site, and that it had actually been run over by several times. They pulled it out of the ground, and have managed to bring it back to health. In addition to its terrific lower trunk, it has some good deadwood sections, and plenty of possibilities for creating something exhibit worthy out of this piece of raw material.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Bjorn Bjorholm Visits the Cleveland Club

The Cleveland Bonsai Club recently hosted internationally known bonsai ace Bjorn Bjorholm for a member workshop. 

Bjorn rotated between members, who brought several different species, including pine, juniper, maple and spruce.   He offered design ideas and assisted them with initial styling, as well as some refining on these long term projects.  He also fielded questions and gave  tips on pruning, wiring, training, as well as horticultural information on keeping their trees healthy.

The dialogue that went on along with styling work was detailed and informative, and well worth an afternoon's work.  Some brief clips of the discussion can be seen on the Akron Canton Bonsai Youtube Channel at this link.

As our bonsai traditions here in Ohio are, of course, relatively new compared to those of Asia, working with such recognized artists as Bjorn to improve  skills --and ultimately our trees-- is a rare opportunity.

Much thanks to the Cleveland Club for inviting our members to this event.