Things are moving – Another update

As you all may know, I’m in the process of updating the blog/website, I really want to build a solid foundation that I can use to keep this website around a long time, and to really extend my reach (and that of Australian Bonsai) over the world.

I’m currently working with an artist in the States to sort out a logo and/or image for the site. This isn’t as easy as I first thought, I’m constantly chaning my mind, or coming up with new ideas, so am making it extremely difficult for myself… and the poor artist who has to deal with me! So I’ll be sitting on this for a few weeks until I’m satisfied with the outcome.

Next is the registration of the blog. This should be happening within the week, providing nothing else goes wrong or holds me up. Work and life have a strange way of getting in the way of my blogging.

Then we have the Twitter account. I’ve dug up my ancient account that I used to use a few years back for my old gaming website. I’m in the process of wiping that clean, and changing the names and titles so that it can be used for my new passion. For the moment, it will primarily be another means to share my blog posts, however I plan to use it more in the future, for just some general bonsai jibber jabber. Give me a follow @DownUnderBonsai and say hello, or just click the link and you’ll be taken straight to the page.

I also have plans for a Facebook, and Google+ account (possibly even Instagram), however I’ll be tackling one thing at a time, so stay tuned for further updates on them. I have lots of grand plans, however very limited time and resources to fulfil these dreams, so please bear with me while I get this ball moving.

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Australian Pests – Spitfire Sawfly

I thought that it might be an interesting idea to post about the various pests and insects that I find around my garden and throughout my bonsai. We have some very curious varieties down under, so I thought that I might just share a few.

Today I’m writing about the Spitfire Sawfly. I have a lot of memories of these little buggers from my childhood, as I used to see them around a lot (mainly the larvae). Back then, I believed that the name implied that they literally spat fire or poison at you, and I remember constantly being cauitous when walking under tree’s, in fear that a pack of them might fall on my head spitting fire at me! They group together for protection, so you can find 30 to 40 of them all huddled together (frequently in tree’s), so the fear of them falling on my head was at least not entirely imagined.

This posts stems from a more recent experience I’ve had with them (and continue to), in which they managed to possibly wipe out one of my tree’s, and force me to trunk chop another. I will know in a few more days whether the first tree is truely lost or if it might spring back. It is strange in that the tree they attacked the least, is the one dying, but I’ve checked it out thoroughly and cannot see anything else that could have caused it, other then a few munched leaves.

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Free Online Lesson’s – Wiring with Colin Lewis

Just a quick update today to let you all know about the free wiring lesson’s that I have just stumbled across from Colin Lewis.

 Colin Lewis - Bonsai Wiring Essentials

The lesson’s consist of four videos and are done through an online learning facility called ‘Craftsy’. You’ll need to sign up to be able to register for the lesson’s, however that is a very simple process.

http://www.craftsy.com/class/bonsai-wiring-essentials/4616

I know I’ve been a little quiet lately, but rest assured that I am busy working on an update for the website. More details will be posted soon.

‘The Bonsai Workshop’ Exhibition – May 2014

Well, I had hoped to have this post up a bit sooner, but June is the crazy period for me at work, and crazy it has been! Not to mention the troubles I’m having at home, mainly with my car that I’ve now put more money into then the thing is worth… but that isn’t what we’re here for is it? So, onwards to bonsai!

The exhibition is now over a month passed, so I apologise for the delay in posting up the photos, but time is a swift beast, and she flys away from me often. This post will mainly just be photo’s, as there is not a lot I can say on each tree, but will comment where I can.

Coprosma

DSC01195

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Something new, and something fresh

Now that I have the ball rolling, I thought it might be time to freshen up the place, and take my webpage/blog to the next level.

Firstly, I will be creating and registering the domain Down Under Bonsai. This is the last step in my ‘just a blog’ page, and the first step into a officially registered website. Once I have the domain set up, I will begin properly advertising and promoting the site.

Next, a review of the things I will post. I will continue on with my current updates on my personal tree’s and workshops, and eventually as my skills progress, I will start touching on techniques and tips and so forth. However I would like to add something more. I want Bonsai in Australia to grow, so I figure, what better way then to start posting up the various exhibitions from around this fine country, and start showcasing some of our artists and bonsai to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, as I am not by any means rich, I can’t travel to each show to take photos (hopefully one day), so I will have to gain some contact from various states, and see if I can use their pictures in my posts. 

Next, I am considering starting to use the site to re-blog other stories, from other bonsai artists around the world. I hope that this will mix things up a bit, and keep the site fresh and interesting, and also help fellow artists showcase their own blogs and pages. So far this is just an idea that I’m bouncing around my head, but will most likely become a reality.

That is not the end of my ideas however. I have a lot more that I would like to do, but am concious of over committing myself, so I’ll keep it at that for now, and stick with the ideas that I think will have the most benefit to Bonsai in Australia.

So, stay tuned! Next up will be a post about the WA Bonsai Workshop’s recent Exhibition (photo’s galore!), followed shortly by an old news story that I have been given permission to repost, containing an interview with one of Australia’s founding bonsai artist’s.

Robert Steven Workshop – Melaleuca Incana

Due to the length of my last post, I thought I would make a seperate post for my workshop Melaleuca. That way I can waffle a bit more, and also give you a bit more background on this bonsai’s beginnings. Its taken me a while to get this post up, due to another project in the works, but more on that in later.

Mel. Incana 1

 

The tree started as a simple pot plant sold at a nursery (not a bonsai nursery). You can see in this photo that this is really just a shrub, and the branching has a very pendulous growth.

 

 

Mel. Incana 18 Front

 

This next shot shows the branch selection process and the angle change. Please be aware this is not my work, nor my photos, but that of the previous owner whom I purchased the tree from. Which is why I will not expand too much.

 

 

This is the final shot before the tree passed over into my hands. You can see it come along nicely, however showing a few minor wire scars.

Mel. Incana

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Robert Steven Workshop – Breaking the Mindset

What an absolutely amazing weekend I had with Robert Steven, who so kindly visited our club for a weekend of critiques, presentations and workshops. I can’t say how glad I am that he came to visit Perth, as it was one of the best learning experiences I’ve ever had. I’m still digesting everything that I learned from the weekend with Robert, as he really opened my mind to a different view on how I should be learning the art.

One thing that I came to realise, is that its not just about learning the ‘rules and guidelines’ of bonsai, but actually understanding the background of these so called ‘rules’ and why they are in place. By better understanding these rules, you can better understand what situations you need to apply them, and what situations that they can be bent or ‘broken’.

He also went further then the ‘rules’, and touched on our mindsets, and how we need to break away from them and start treating each bonsai as an individual, rather then trying to apply broad rules to each and every tree we work.

I should note at this point, when I say ‘rules’ I do not mean to say that there are actually rules within the bonsai world, but more guidelines that are widely followed.

Anyway, enough of the theory, lets gets some photos happening!

The first day we started with Robert critiquing a few of our members trees. I think this may have been the moment he fell in love with the our paperbarks.

robert steven 1

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