Scots Pine Literati Bonsai Styling (SBR3 Sweden 2019)

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On Saturday 25th May 2019 I had the pleasure of working at the 3rd Scandinavian Bonsai Retreat in Gothenburg, Sweden. For this event we had a second bonsai artist, Samuel Brierley, who had flown in from New Zealand to work alongside me. Our objective was straightforward; to style each of the 11 particpants trees together, so that each bonsai was the product of both Sam's and my input.

My thanks go to all of those that took images during the workshop, particularly Tony Roberts.

scots pine bonsai literati styling

This stunning yamadori Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris) was collected by Tomas Gramming from a bog near Gothenburg in 2015. With great natural movement, very rough mature bark, natural shari and jin and plenty of foliage for me to place, trees like these are a dream to style!

scots pine bonsai literati styling

My fellow bonsai artist at SBR3, Samuel Brierley, studying the tree.

scots pine bonsai literati styling

Tomas had prepared his tree before the workshop by plucking older needles and detail wiring the secondary and tertiary branches. This meant that valuable time wasn't wasted carrying out this time-consuming work on the day. However, quite correctly, Tomas had left the trunk and thick primary branches alone so that they could be specially prepared by myself prior to heavy bending.

The very top of the trunk was too straight and required some movement. Fortunately, this it required bending anyway so that I could bring the uppermost branches forward and down to create the lower areas of the crown and some dropping branches.

scots pine yamadori bonsai

A further image of the tree before work commenced to give a better view of the branches.

scots pine yamadori bonsai

Detail of some of the natural shari and very old bark on the trunk.

scots pine yamadori bonsai

scots pine yamadori bonsai

scots pine yamadori bonsai

Tomas Gramming applying elasticated cloth and heavy gauge wire to the trunk and primary branches.

scots pine yamadori bonsai

scots pine yamadori bonsai

scots pine yamadori bonsai

Tomas and I then lay a second coil of heavy gauge (6mm) wire around the trunk before I bent it into its new position. This is always a nerve-wracking job but the wire did its job and protected the trunk from snapping, as well as holding it into place.

scots pine yamadori bonsai

With the back branch also positioned, I began to position the secondary and tertiary branches. Good preparation and wiring by the owner before a workshop always makes it easier for me to place the foliage precisely where I want it.

scots pine yamadori bonsai

The laying-out of the foliage continued........

scots pine yamadori bonsai

The fully styled Scots Pine bonsai seen from the right hand side. From this view you can see how I brought the upper branches downwards, using what had previously been lower branches to build the new apex. The first- or character branch emerges from behind the tree and defines the movement of the overall design.

Scots Pine bonsai

Scots Pine bonsai

Tomas Gramming and me alongside the styled Scots Pine bonsai.

Scots Pine bonsai

Scots Pine bonsai

A short tour up the trunk of the newly-styled tree!