Re-Styling A San Jose Juniper Bonsai

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san jose juniper bonsai

Dressing the newly-carved wood.

Once the wood had been thoroughly carved and smoothed to remove manmade marks from my tools, I began to colour it. To great effect I have recently begun to use ash, or soot, on the wood prior to applying lime-sulphur. Ash, from burning old newspaper or wood, is rubbed into the deadwood with an old toothbrush with the help of a little water. Brushing the ash across the grain helps to ensure that the ash accumulates into the grain and hollows to create depth to the finished deadwood.
Lime-sulphur is then applied to the wood. The ash not only immediately ages the appearance of the deadwood, but it appears to help the lime-sulphur turn the wood white considerably faster than when using just water. The tone of the dried lime-sulphur is a very pleasing silvery-grey white, rather than the usual yellow-white tone of newly created deadwood.

san jose juniper bonsai

The base of the trunk after first applying ash, and then lime-sulphur. The deep hollows were blackened with black water-based paint.

san jose juniper bonsai

The completed San Jose Juniper bonsai (Juniperus chinensis 'San Jose').

Height 19"/46cm. Bonsai pot by China Mist.

With work on the deadwood finished, I was able to wire and reposition the branches of the tree to complete the styling. As the amount of deadwood on the bonsai had greatly increased, I decided to minimise the size of the foliage mass to reinforce the image of an old tree ravaged by the elements. Too lush a crown would have been inconsistent with the impression that the deadwood creates.

san jose juniper bonsai

Detail images of the San Jose deadwood.

san jose juniper bonsai

Detail images of the San Jose deadwood.

san jose juniper bonsai

Detail images of the San Jose deadwood.

san jose juniper bonsai

Detail images of the San Jose deadwood.

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