[360°] Juniper squamata styled by John Naka

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[360°] Juniper squamata styled by John Naka

Post by Steven »

G'day,
I recently purchased this Juniper squamata from AB.C member JohnM from our buy, swap and sell section. The bonsai was shipped to my by John and arrived from Melbourne in top shape with no damage.
The tree was styled by John Naka during his Australian tour in 1977. The following picture is the original signed line drawing that Mr Naka drew during the styling session.
John Naka squamata sketch.jpg
JohnM has been the custodian for many years and now it is proudly part of my collection.
Juniper squamata Naka April 09.jpg
The pot is hand made by Roger Hnatiuk in his unique style.

Suggestions for refinement are welcomed!

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Regards,
Steven
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Re: [360°] Juniper squamata styled by John Naka

Post by kcpoole »

For me just reducing each foliage pad somewhat to give them more definition

Nice tree :-)
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Re: [360°] Juniper squamata styled by John Naka

Post by Pup »

Reduce the foliage pads as Ken suggests then try to get it more upright as in John's drawing with less branching.
Then try to get hold of a Nambon pot, they are the ones used mainly for the good Bunjingi.
It has been neglected unfortunately, but it is very healthy. I like it a lot. :) Pup
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Re: [360°] Juniper squamata styled by John Naka

Post by Gary Bee »

Nice quality material to work with Steven.
KC and Pup seem to have covered the next steps.
I would like to see the tree after you have pruned it back into shape.
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Re: [360°] Juniper squamata styled by John Naka

Post by Steven »

G'day,

I took this Juniper along to the Salvatore Liporace workshop 23rd AABC National Bonsai Convention. It probably wasn't the best tree to take as I knew exactly what I wanted to achieve (to restore it to the sketch by Naka which was done in 1977). I was hopeful to get some guidance and learn some techniques as opposed to letting him restyle it.
May 2010 before work.jpg
Salvatore commented that it was excellent material in good health and that it needed to be reduced to 1/3rd its original size :o
Cut it here_May 2010.jpg
I stood my ground and insisted that my goal was to achieve as close to the Naka sketch as possible.

With a fury of plucking, cutting, wiring and bending the tree within began to show. Thanks to Antonio who helped me pluck and wire while we chatted about common interests. Unfortunately we ran our of time to complete the work but this is how it looked after the workshop;
May 2010 after workshop.jpg
I spent a few more hours on Tuesday night plucking, wiring, treating the jin and trying to get the apex right. It still has a way to go but I am happy to see a bit of Aussie Naka history preserved. I will repot into a feminine bunjin style pot in a couple of months and will then put together another 360 to show the progress. I can also see a nice spiraling shari in this trees future ;)
May 2010 resized.jpg
Regards,
Steven
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Re: [360°] Juniper squamata styled by John Naka

Post by Pup »

OOh! I am glad you stuck to your guns Steven as the tree is a good Bunjingi. It would never work as a small tree.
I feel it still needs to be more upright for it to match the late great John Y Naka's sketch.

Glad you enjoyed your self look forward to hearing more.

Cheers :) Pup
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Re: [360°] Juniper squamata styled by John Naka

Post by bodhidharma »

Well done Steven, i like it a lot. This harks back to the tree ratio thread a little. What one person see's is not necessarily what another person see's. Aint that a reality check :lol:
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Re: [360°] Juniper squamata styled by John Naka

Post by John Henry »

Looks great Steven you have done the tree justice.
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Re: [360°] Juniper squamata styled by John Naka

Post by anttal63 »

Hey mate it was nice to spend some time with ya while working on your tree. :D 8-)
Regards Antonio:
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Re: [360°] Juniper squamata styled by John Naka

Post by Steven »

Thanks for your feedback guys!
Pup wrote:I feel it still needs to be more upright for it to match the late great John Y Naka's sketch.
Yes, I didn't chock it high enough in that last picture. Do you feel the 2nd last picture (unfinished) is at the correct angle?
bodhidharma wrote:Well done Steven, i like it a lot.
Thanks Diederik, I can't really take any credit though as working to Mr. Naka's sketch is like 'bonsai by numbers'.
john m wrote:Looks great Steven you have done the tree justice.
Thanks John! That means a lot to me coming from the trees previous custodian.
anttal63 wrote:Hey mate it was nice to spend some time with ya while working on your tree.
Likewise mate! Even though it was the first time we have met in person, it felt like we were a couple of old mates ;)

Regards,
Steven
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Re: [360°] Juniper squamata styled by John Naka

Post by Steven »

G'day,

This one had a repot a month or 2 ago into the only bunjin pot I had spare. Its too masculine for the tree but it will do for now.
She has responded really well with a flush of lush new growth! I'll be working on this one again soon and tweaking some of the branches and plucking the growth.

I'd love to start a twisting shari up the trunk but am a bit nervous... and tips from those of you experienced with this would be most appreciated.
October 2010_2.jpg
Regards,
Steven
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Re: [360°] Juniper squamata styled by John Naka

Post by Pup »

The first thing you must do Steven, is to determine where the water pipes are, they run up the tree as a slight swelling under the bark. You can feel them if you take your time.
Then when you have done that get a piece of sticky tape coloured or white the run it in a spiral up the trunk,not like a barbers pole make it interesting.

Then when you are happy make a thin slice into the bark and follow it up the tree, being aware of the water pipes, next to the tape, then after you have scored in deep enough, stop, then move over 3 mm and do that again, lift the bark. Then stop for a month to make sure it has done no harm. When you are satisfied that it is AOK, go another 6mm and keep doing this till you have what you think is right.

The reason for the slowly slowly is so that the tree can redirect the sap flow. Do not cut ACROSS the bark , as this will be very dangerous, and can cause serious problem's.
Follow the bark up.

If you are careful it is not as daunting as it sound's.

Cheers :) Pup
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Re: [360°] Juniper squamata styled by John Naka

Post by Jamie »

hi Steven :D

I really do like this tree, it has all the makings of a great literati! I am actually surprised that the tree's branching still looks green (the finer branches) is this the case? if so I would be leaving the foliage/branching for it to harden off so you can get the "skeleton" branch structure to suit with the age of the tree.

the shari is another story thats for sure! I know it is a scary thing especially with such an aged tree, the live veins should be starting to swell and develop at least to some degree, as pup has recommended do it over time, I found with starting the twisted style shimpaku that Jow showed us how the japanese do the shari can be a critical thing, I found a thin cut no more than 2-3mm (like pup said) and only going around the trunk once was ok, any thicker or any more than once around the trunk to start with caused failure. what I have been doing of late is just using an art scalpel and running the blade in the spiral once without making a second incision, you would think it wouldnt do anything and just heal but it has opened up some and started the shari. so in short, thin slice and not to far in one go and you should be good.

keep us posted champ!
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Re: [360°] Juniper squamata styled by John Naka

Post by Mitchell »

Awesome tree, wish I had one like it. A shari up the trunk, is an option I would only take if you are sure, all other possibilities have been exhausted.

I guess one needs to ask themselves, why is the shari necessary.

I see a unique tree which has a heap of potential as is. If you want the shari go for it, it will look great. :D



I personally do not believe it needs it, just 10 more years of attention/refinement. :)
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Re: [360°] Juniper squamata styled by John Naka

Post by GavinG »

I think a shari will only decrease how thick the trunk appears to be. Because the trunk is already slender and graceful, that might not be good. It's a lovely line, I hope you enjoy living with it for a long time.

Just my thoughts,

Gavin
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