Saturday, June 17, 2017

Yews and Youtube

By Michael Rusnak

My kids always shake their heads a little in one of those "No Duh" moments when I point out what an incredibly great resource Youtube is.  Of course they already know.  But I still marvel at it. I mean if you need to fix a faucet, put up dry wall or change the head light on your Civic and you aren't sure how, there probably a dozen videos there where someone shows you the way.

June 15 before wiring shaping
My point is you there are some great videos there too for helping with your bonsai skills--and specific skills.  There are some really good videos on yews, for example. English bonsai guy Graham Potter has this excellent one that leads you though the stages of how he works a stump into a specimen.  Or this one on making a bonsai from something out of the trash, which he calls a sort of "blank canvas" for learning bonsai, the type of material on which he "cut his teeth." In addition, the series that Tony Tickle posted is also excellent.  He shows some great ones in his garden and for dead wood don't miss his little video tour of yews in the wild.  As I've never been seen yews in the wild, this video provided some models on how the dead wood on yews is shaped by natural forces. 

June 17 starting to look presentable after wiring & thinning
Here in northeaster Ohio, yews are commonly used for shrubbery.  It's not unusual to see some sizable ones laid out for the trash. This of course is a great opportunity, if you can get them to live in a pot.  Sizable trunks, the price is right, the digging work has already been done, and they have such wonderful reddish purple bark and deep forest green foliage.

Anyway, I've been watching these yew videos over and over again to learn how to make something out of some of the massive yews I've grabbed on trash nights.

It has taken a couple of years. First to get them healthy (they usually weren't pulled out of the ground carefully)  and into good bonsai soil, and to the point of throwing out nice new shoots.

 Another view of yew
With the help of the videos by the English bonsai guys, I am starting to bring them along.  The process of preliminary wiring, thinning, letting it grow wild, and wiring again, is making this one start to look like something.
Anyway, it's great that some of the world's outstanding bonsai artists have taken the time to post such quality videos.  And help people in clubs like ours improve their skills.  Kudos Graham, Tony and many others.

It's always exciting to start a new bonsai project.  It's good karma too, these unwanted shrubs will have a whole new life as a bonsai. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

ACBS 2017 June Show --Bonsai Eye Candy

2017 Show Entrance
This year's ACBS June exhibition drew a steady flow of visitors at the Cuyahoga Valley Art Center in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Although we had fewer trees this year than in some of our shows in the past, we still had a good sampling of different bonsai styles and also a good mix of species, both tropical and hardy, evergreen and broad leaf varieties.  The the bonsai also provided a good sampling of member projects with trees that suggest stories, provided delights, color and serenity.  It remained celebration of why we love bonsai. 
Top view of colorful azaela
Awesome azaela
With Dan Tullius' majestic juniper greeting visitors at the entrance to the exhibit, along with the club's 11 section penging landscape at the center, the exhibit brought you right in and then surrounded you with bonsai eye candy.
This time of the year there is such a great variety shades of early season foliage and the vibrant green colors
Old yew keeps getting better
that come with it.  In addition, ACBS's own Ken Huth came through again this year with two azaleas that were both covered in blossoms.  We had some large old yews that just get better every year. Mike's grape too had multiple grape bud clusters this year, and the penjing, designed by Carlton Buck just looks, as one young visitor put it "like a place of fairy tales." We also had several neat little mame
80+ year old concord grape
plantings included in the show, including erodiums, small leaf Japanese maple groves and other exotic accent arrangements. In short there was something in the exhibit to appeal to everyone. 

ACBS' Penjing landscape
We invite our internet friends to take a look at this video tour of the exhibit posted on our Youtube channel. 
More pictures of the trees at this year's show can be seen here on our picture place.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Akron Canton Bonsai Society's Annual June Show

The Akron Canton Bonsai Society 

A Bonsai Exhibition

June 9th, 10th & 11th
At the Cuyahoga Falls Art Center
2131 Front Street
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
Admission: Free

Friday June 9          5:00 pm
to 8:00 pm   
Saturday June 10  11:00 am to 8:00 pm
Sunday June 11     11:00 am to 3:00 pm

The exhibition features trees by local bonsai artists.

We  invite all of our bonsai friends to come an visit our annual club show.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Guest Artist Mark Fields Visits ACBS

Bonsai ace Mark Fields from Indiana held a day-long workshop for ACBS members. Mark spent the first part of the day styling a small juniper and explaining some of the horticultural  properties that make junipers such good candidates for bonsai.  He discussed tree health, especially through using a quality soil, design elements, wiring, and also showed how readily dead wood accents can be created on junipers.
Mark next worked individually with club members on their own works-in-progress trees that they brought to the event. 
Like some grand master chess champion playing a dozen simultaneous games,  Mark moved from tree to tree, explaining to members what he his plan might be for each tress. Mark shared both his horticultural understanding of varieties as well as he sense of designing a pleasing bonsai from rough material. 
Because members brought a variety of species, including ponderosa pine, black pine, juniper procumbus, larch, as well as tropical varieties, this proved to be a very informative session of the workshop.  Mark discussed the growth habits of each variety, and gave detailed advice how how to get good results. Specifically, he demonstrated how to rough prune the very different foliage of each.  He showed the work needed to prune black pine, as well as a tropical ficus in order to get improved growth during the coming growing season.

A 20 minute video of the demonstration and some of the tree discussion can be seen on our Akron Canton Bonsai youtube channel at this link.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Bonsai Basic Skills Review at March Meeting

March was a busy and busier meeting. Members got around between with three skill stations to review some of the basics of bonsai creation. Most of the energy came from ACBS members who volunteered to cover the stations. Anne Huen and Val Tasker reviewed branch wiring skills, Carlton Buck talking about soils and re-potting, and Dan Tullius and Ken Huth showed the way with basic design and rough shaping. We had lots of good collaboration and discussion going on in just about every corner of the meeting. Bravo guys!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

ACBS Does Small Exhibit at Yoga Central in Canton Ohio

ACBS members presented a small exhibit at Yoga Central in Canton Ohio this past weekend. Along with its many classes in Yoga, this new facility contains some prominent  gallery space where it features local artists.

For this exhibit, we chose a number of bonsai that we believe reflected a yoga spirit. All but four were developed from throw-away material--trees and shrubs that otherwise would have been shredded or thrown into landfills.  Of course, when recovered, they didn't look like they do now. Many were overgrown and diseased plants or even stumps.

Developing a presentable bonsai from such material typically is a five to ten year project.  These once discarded trees, designed and trained by ACBS members have been given a whole new life as a bonsai.  By doing so, most will outlive their caretakers.

The concord grape and two yews were torn out during building renovations. The spruce, scots pine, and large juniper were from construction sites.  The arborvitae was taken out of a road ditch, and small cascade juniper was picked up on trash night.

For this exhibit also, we left out any reference to member names. It was just the trees themselves.

We hope the visitors enjoyed our exhibit.

We have posted a video tour of the exhibit on our youtube chanel at this link, and hope our internet friends enjoy it as well.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

June 2016 ACBS Exhibition Photos & Video Posted

Two Satsuki azalea bonsai in bloom, yews, pines, junipers, a concord grape, as well as our club penjing project assembled, sprawling and looking lush--these  are just some of the cool trees in our June show.

We invite all of our internet bonsai friends to take a look at the pictures of our June show on our gallery site at this link.

ALSO, take a look at this video tour of the exhibit, now showing over at our Youtube site.   You will wish you were there.