Posts Tagged ‘Hemlock’
In a mix of seriousness and hilarity, the 2012 Fall Seasonal wrapped up a couple weeks ago leaving us all well-fed and with somewhat dirtier fingers. Here’s a few photos of those three days–
Yes, that is the correct headline… bonsai on plastic. I wasn’t too sure of it myself.
In the late summer of 2010 I collected this Mountain Hemlock, Tsuga mertensiana, with my friend Anton Nijhuis in Canada, and potted it in a strange box that was sort of cantilevered up because the tree had been prostrate, growing through the mosses on bedrock. Digging through the moss uncovered a rather curious twin-trunk base that seemed like it would have to be styled in an unorthodox way, so naturally I wanted it. A year and a half later the box was full of roots, and the time seemed right to complete this weird idea of mine.
I’ve always wondered about alternatives to stone and prefab slabs. They tend to crack or break just when a show is just being set up; their timing is truly impeccable. Also, a bit ironic given that I used to be a potter, I’ve been drawn to the idea of making nearly invisible platforms, in place of a ceramic container. In other words, something supporting the tree that is really not an element in its presentation. So the idea of an inconspicuous, impervious, strong support had me pondering for a while.
Like many of my creative endeavors, I quiz everyone I know. ‘So, I have this idea… how would you do this if you wanted to do that?’ And you end up with a collage of ideas that you edit and orchestrate into a complete vision, sort of like an orchestra conductor or movie director must do I suppose. With an assortment of weird tools, bolts and ideas the March Seasonal students and I spent more than a day cobbling the thing together, and it was great fun—- Thanks Roger, Gary, John and Konnor!
Also, take a look at what Jonas is doing with another hemlock at:
This Mountain hemlock has been one of those intriguing trees that is so big at 65″ it is almost more of a conversation piece than a bonsai. And yet thinner trunked trees can be considerably taller and still ‘work’ as bonsai. I collected it about 1 1/2 years ago, and put it in pumice in a cedar box that was sort of cobbled together in an effort to have it appear to be on a slope of a hill.
Having dreamed about that hill for a while, at the March 2010 Seasonal we put it on a temporary plywood slab (having not yet made or found a nice final slab) and erected a muck dam and at least got the footings of this unstyled tree underway. The chopsticks drilled into the plywood was a spur of the moment idea. When I woke up that morning I had no idea how to keep that muck wall overhang from falling over.
It may be ready for styling this fall, although I’ve always felt it would be a very light styling. There is already so much of a natural and wild and windy feeling about this group that I won’t be doing much.
Here’s a bit of a photo essay: