East meets West: Chojubai on Riding Spur
This is a Japanese Flowering Quince Chojubai presented on a Western riding spur. ‘Presented?’ ‘Held’? ‘Lofted’? ‘Attached’? One might argue the proper term, but the riding spur was found on a hike in the Arizona mountains about 20 years ago, after falling off someone’s boot decades before. I’ve dragged it around everywhere I’ve lived, figuring it had an unknown future as part of something else. And that was revealed last week. When casting about in the garage for something to attach the chojubai to, my eyes settled on this ancient piece of ironsmithy…and the phrase ‘East meets West’ popped up, and I laughed, and there you have it. The latest bonsai orchid to grace our shade cloth structure was on its way to being born.
We had a great time making this, and throughout it all I wondered how old that riding spur actually was. It’s pretty dry there in Arizona and metal might last a while, and yet everything that used to move on it was rusted solid. So how old is that riding spur? 50 years old? 75? More? Any riders or blacksmiths out there care to make a guess?
The following is a photo essay of an afternoon going off into the aesthetic sunset during a Seasonal session. Enjoy-
Where we started: A chojubai root cutting, 7 years old, and a nicely rusted riding spur found in the mountains of Arizona, perhaps 50+ years old.
The riding spur attached to our plant support, a piece of nylon cutting board…
…using a propane torch to heat and bend the nylon…
Carmen is enjoying this torching part
Drilling holes for mounting
If you’re wondering why Andrew is teaching about muck making in the kitchen, you must attend a Seasonal session…
The nylon support, revised
John, Carmen, Zach, Tom, and Andrew involved in attaching the nylon thing to the plant thing. I kept out of the way.
Closeup of the operation
Zach using a persuader…a rawhide mallet that sees frequent use at repotting time
The planting inclination and front
And our final composition: East meets West. Not only is the support odd, the design is as well. There isn’t much a triangle to be found. So. The design elements here are circles, and we have three of them, small to large, left to right: Spur, Rootmass, Shrub. Hope you enjoy.
Here are two other ‘bonsai orchids’ that hang off our shade cloth structure, weather permitting: