Bill Valavanis – Cascade workshop

Well this update is a little overdue, but have had a few things on my agenda of late, namely getting a Root Canal on one of my teeth, and also trying to tie up my loose ends, so that I can put some more focus here.

So, I thought it about time that I update you all on how I went with my first workshop!

The workshop I attended was one of two with international bonsai artist Bill Valavanis, focusing on Cascade style bonsai (the other workshop was on Literati, which I unfortunately couldn’t attend). The workshop and demonstration went over a full day, with the demo going for the first half of the day, and the workshop the last 4 hours.

So first up was the demonstration, where Bill went through a few of the member’s tree’s and critiqued each, before moving on to the demo tree, which was a Juniper ROR Cascade… a combination that Bill had not seen previously!

Cascade workshop

We then proceeded on with the workshop, which I was starting to get nervous about by that time. Being my first workshop, I really had no idea what to expect, and was paranoid about my lack of skills.

Well… it turns out that I had nothing to worry about. Not that I suddenly learnt the ‘skills’, but more so that Bill was just a great guy, and after a chat with him, my nerves faded very quickly.

Unfortunately, as my tree needed a lot of basic work, Bill didn’t spend too much time working with me, and I found I spent most of the time cleaning my stock, and then wiring it all up…. which I tell you, was not easy. I had underestimated how much wiring was required! So basically the whole time was spent wiring with Bill stopping by every now and then with a few pointers, and then at the end Bill came over and helped with the final branch placement and basic styling.

Lesson learnt, prepare your tree a few days prior to the workshop, or at least get the basic cleaning out of the way so that you have more time to actually work with the artist leading the workshop. Another lesson which I learnt… bandaids are a good item to keep in your tool kit! I managed to slice my hand quite bad with my new Kaneshin scissors, which I attempted to work through until the blood became a bit much. Luckily a lovely lady who was observing had some handy, for which I was very thankful.

The stock tree I bought for this workshop
Unworked Cascade

After a little bit of cleaning and main trunk wired
Cleaned and wired

The final product
Final - Bill Valavanis Workshop

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