Monday, 23 July 2007

Wirral Bonsai Show @ Gordale 11th/12th August

Doug's best in show 2004

By way of an attempt to publicise our annual show to non members (assuming members need no reminder??) below are links to a previous show (as highlighted on the IBC website) and that of the venue -Gordale Garden center.

2005 show

At this years event, there will be:
  • the formal exhibition of members trees including a debut for a number of Tokonoma displays, all to be judged by -Tony Tickle
  • an informal workshop with members working on their own or visitors trees ,
  • voting slips to determine Joe Public's 'best in show,'
  • a raffle -prizes including the demo trees worked on over the weekend,
  • a chance to chat informally to some of the countries leading bonsai artists (or maybe just the members of the club!!)

NB. I notice both Ian, Andy & Les are subtly promoting our show on the IBC -
so lets drum up as much interest as possible to encourage some heavy footfall!!

An open letter....

Dear Friends in Bonsai,
I feel its my duty to confess to you all..... I think I may have been tempted by a malevolent (art) form!! (as described in an earlier post)

During a moment of weakness and following a surprising discovery whilst journeying to the dark side (of my garage) I ventured where many fear to tread....
......I dabbled with 'Solanum tuberosum'.

I include pictures below that I suspect will highlight the depths of my 'journey'.

[I blame it on too much sun while on holiday (!?!?!?!?!?!)]

King Edwards-Forest group

Cascade-A little 'half baked'?


A 'Po'nuki creation - 'Sweet'!!!



Virtually July- Creating deadwood

After I added foliage to a tree the next thing I wanted to do was to represent deadwood and explore its position and detail.

You can obviously only add the deadwood 'look' to something that's already on the tree you want to virtual so its best to start with a good photo with nice contrast between light and dark in the area to be worked on. I have tried it with some trees that the trunk is all dark shadow and to be honest it's not worth the effort!!

You can just 'paint on' a layer to produce the effect but the ways described below I think 'use' the contours already in the tree to best effect.


1. Select the area to be lightened and produce a copy layer (see actions 1-4 in the adding foliage post.) I usually copy more than is required as you can always rub out the bits you don't want later!

2. There are then two ways to produce the deadwood effect.

A1. With the copy layer selected go to Image (top left) and then select Adjustments then brightness/contrast.
A2. Then slide the brightness and contrast sliders until your happy with their effect.

A3. Then delete the areas you don't want or like. (eg. the white areas around the trunk line etc.)


B1. Select the dodge /burn tool. (click the corner arrow to see all options under this icon)

B2. Use the variable brush to make the copy layer lighter (Dodge) and/or darker (Burn) where you want it.

B3. Adjust or delete the areas not required.

NB. Remember to add a shadow on the edge of a deadwood area to replicate the live wood being proud of the virtual deadwood.

I find the second method better as it produces more subtle effects whereas the first method is quicker but gives a single overall change. With both methods, be careful not to overdo the brightness/contrast though as the effect can look unreal if you go to far!!

PS. Using the 'Burn' alone can help when creating uro's or sabamiki's.

Hope this helps?

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Did you know?... part3

There's a species of bonsai that you probably haven't tried yet!! (or at least on purpose!)

I particularly like the one that is described as the 'Sprawling' style by Kelley Bradley (though her 'Windswept' isn't that impressive!!!!) You can even go to the 'Ginkgo' of the potato world!!!

'Its Zen without the wait'

Monday, 16 July 2007

Tree of the Month- July

Tree of the month for July was awarded to Les Storey by Simon which was Les's superb Cory largens juniper, raft style.

Simon (or is it Joseph!!!) picks his favourite

July Meeting- Speaker -Simon Temblett

(Simon leaves his egg under the table!!)
No sooner had he started then he was finished, or that's how it appeared, in fact it was 8.10 - 10.05. Interesting subjects, well presented.

Subjects covered:
-Bending thick trunks/branches.
-Growing trees in tufa rock.
-Painting driftwood with soot.

Simon demonstrated on an Ash, his aim was to alter the position of the crown by cutting half way through the trunk and bending it with a bending bar, sounds drastic looks dramatic.
He then wired and covered the wound with plumbers tape. As easy as that !.

After a 15 min's break Simon went onto sculpting tufa rock, one piece he had brought with him had been sculpted into the shape of an egg, he had then grown a juniper, in the literati style, in it.
That will cost you 85 pounds for a well established tree, not bad for a beautiful work of art.

He then went onto driftwood showing us how to bring out the woods texture by dipping in lime/sulphur and enhancing it with a painted solution of soot and water wiping it with a rag and then dabbing it with a rag soaked in lime/sulphur and lo and behold another work of art.
How some people have the gift and others don't have a clue, it's not right.

Simon brought with him a selection of his magnificent bonsai's, one of which was a Hawthorn, that I can only describe as being to die for or as Lee would like to put it at least a 5 hernia bonsai, see Lee or Brian for an explanation, it's been chosen to go to the Ginkgo awards this year.

As you are aware Iain is away this month on a well earned deserved rest, he told me to say that. He should be back next month to continue the blog, till then my thought for the month is-
......I wished I had 5 hernia's.

Doug sending Simon to sleep with one of his 'fisherman's tales'
(or alternatively -I closed my eyes, drew back the curtain,....')

Gordale workshop

Some pictures (and captions!!) of the Gordale workshop -courtesy of Brian

Les looking at his Yew.
'If only I could be small and delicate looking... like this Yew. '

Ian working on his juniper.
'Oh this is the life, no fires, no problems, dum dee dum dee dum. '

[or should that be dib dib dib...??? - ;) -]

Doug & Andy
'No no Andy.... I told you to cut this one off. '

Doug & Azalea.

Getting 'arty'

Tony looking at his Hawthorn
'What the bloody hell can I do with that. '
-& the result !!!


Sunday, 1 July 2007

Bonsai Site of the Month -July

This months site is 'inspired' by a request for help with bonsai related photography.
The link below is not exhaustive or even definitive but it does give a few simple hints & tips on how to improve your bonsai pictures.

July's speaker -The lowdown

The speaker for July's club meeting is Simon Temblett and I understand the topic is to be "driftwood creation".
He's a long standing member of the Vale of Clywd Bonsai Society, as can be found by a visit to his website.

Simon's been exhibiting his trees for many years and is well known for his meticulous attention to detail.

Simon's Yew - Joy of Bonsai 2005

His working life has included forestry, tree surgery and gardening and from an early age he was a keen plant collector. Plus if your after a tree house, he's your man!!

Simon describes himself as an artist, concentrating mainly on sculptor, working with weathered wood, stone, bones and of course trees!!
It's easy to see that the combination of his work and interests has lead logically to being involved in bonsai.
Oh, and he also created the pot in which Doug's Hawthorn resides.

I'm sure it will be an interesting evening.

P.S. Unfortunatly due to sunning myself in warmer climes I will be unable to attend!!! I've bullied Brian into 'stepping in' and providing a 'critique' & pictures of the evening.

Go for it Brian.....


Hello and welcome to the Wirral Bonsai Society Blog - an ongoing diary & newsletter highlighting the adventures of the society & its members

Society Diary-We meet at 8pm every 2nd Wednesday of the month at the RAFA club in Oxton (CH43 1UU).

  • 13th January
  • 10th February
  • 14th February Workshop - Port Sunlight GC
  • 28th February Workshop - Gordale
  • 9th March - Monthly meeting - Topic TBC
  • 13th March Workshop - Port Sunlight GC
  • 27th March Workshop - Gordale
  • 13th April - Demonstration - Andy H
  • 17th April Workshop - Port Sunlight GC
  • 24th April Workshop - Gordale
  • 8th May Workshop - Port Sunlight GC
  • 11th May- Monthly meeting - Topic TBC
  • 29th May Workshop - Gordale
  • 4-5th June WBS Flowering Bonsai Show - Port Sunlight GC
  • 8th June - WBS Member trees critique
  • 12th June Workshop - Port Sunlight GC
  • 26th June Workshop - Gordale
  • 10th July Workshop - Port Sunlight GC
  • 13th July- Monthly meeting - Topic TBC
  • 31st July Workshop - Gordale
  • 10th August- WBS Show tree selection
  • 13-14th August - Wirral Flower Show
  • 20th August - Japan Day, Liverpool
  • 27-29th August WBS Annual Show - Gordale
  • 14th September- Monthly meeting - Topic TBC
  • 11th September Workshop - Port Sunlight GC
  • 25th September Workshop - Gordale
  • 9th October Workshop - Port Sunlight GC
  • 12th October- Monthly meeting - Topic TBC
  • 30th October Workshop - Gordale
  • 9th November- Monthly meeting - Topic TBC
  • 13th November Workshop - Port Sunlight GC
  • 26-27th November - Potter Workshop with David Jones (Walsall Studio Ceramics)
  • 27th November Workshop - Gordale
  • 14th December - Club Party


New members are always welcome, just come along to one of our monthly meetings at the RAFA club. You can even 'try us out' for a few months before you decide on joining as an official member. The meetings are informal (there's a bar!) and the club members are (mostly) friendly, approachable and happy to pass on guidance and information to anybody interested in bonsai- whatever your level of experience.