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In October 2012 I was asked to restyle this 24"/ 59cm tall Privet/Ligustrum ovalifolium. The bonsai was a particular favourite of the owner as it had been estimated to be a similar age to him, a very young 50-60 years of age.
While the tree was obviously healthy, design-wise it looked awkward. The first steps towards a new design were to identify exactly why the appearance of the bonsai did not flatter the eye.
Whilst not necessarily immediately obvious, the bonsai had two very distinct and separate outlines. A blockish base with an unnatural square shape upon which a (relatively) skinny upper trunk sat. The lack of taper between the trunkbase and the upper trunk making the upper trunk look juvenile.
On the other hand, the foliage mass was pleasant but being sat high above the trunkbase meant that it looked like a small tree plonked on top of the stump rather part of a fully integrated design.
Simply creating a more triangular, tapering trunkbase by carving the deadwood and lowering the foliage mass would create two silhouettes that were more natural and worked together as one.
However.........turning the bonsai anti-clockwise a few degrees meant that although the trunkbase diameter was slightly smaller......it also had a more pleasing tapered appearance
And by wiring and bringing the foliage downwards, the overall silhouette of the tree would be very pleasing to the eye.
After wiring the branches (but prior to placing them), it was time to carve the trunkbase itself. Whilst turning the tree had improved its appearance in terms of its shape and taper, further tapering of its silhouette was still necessary. Additionally the flat surface looked unnatural and I would need to add interest to the centre of the stump
Using a die-grinder I followed the existing lines in the wood and carved deeply to create interest and depth to the deadwood