Friday, September 3, 2010

Extreme Bending by Jeff Carr

In an amazingly cool demo, Jeff Carr of the Staselwood Bonsai Studio in Newark, Ohio showed our club some techniques of extreme bending. Working on this Japanese black pine, he wrapped layers of a sticky bandage-like material called Petflex along the trunk of the tree along with copper wire.

Then using with a bending tool, he began to work the straight tree over. This was done gradually by repeating the bending several times. Each time, letting the tree flex back. He also worked the tool along the trunk and continued to bend it an let it flex back. Over time, and repeated actions, the tree remained bent over enough to pull it down and secure the bend by tying stay of copper wire.

This gradual process of persuading the tree over changed it's entire look from an upright tree to a cascade--see photo.

Jeff then completed wiring both the main and secondary branches. He worked the two main branches--one to create an apex and the other downward to continue the cascade. He commented on how these branches contributed to the over all design. He noted that keeping what he called "the energy flow" or the motion of the tree's movement consistent--including in the directions that the foliage pads faced--unified the whole look of the tree. At that point he "foreshortened" the smaller branches to bring them into foliage areas.

Overall, this was a fascinating demonstration, and showed how when working with our trees, it is often possible to open your thinking into more radical design possibilities.

See our gallery site for a step by step series of photos from Jeff Carr's extreme bending demonstration at the link below:

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