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Slanting a Juniperus prostrata to create the correct angle

 

by Salvatore Liporace (Italy)

(The text and images in this article are taken from Craig Coussins book 'The Bonsai School')

Salvatore Liporace is a bonsai master with an impressive reputation for producing masterpieces of bonsai. A student of Masahiko Kimura, one of the worlds leading Japanese Bonsai Masters, Salvatore runs a successful international bonsai school in Milan, Italy, at which bonsai artists from around the world have learned their craft, including Patrizia Capellaro. I have spent a lot of time with Salvatore in Milan, and we often meet when we teach at international events. Indeed, I organised the workshop at which the following demonstration took place.

The material used was a Juniperus prostrata that had been collected from a planting area in a shopping centre that was being demolished. Having been planted when it was about 10 years old, it had then spent approximately thirty years in the planting bed. After it was removed from the shopping centre, it was nurtured for three years prior to this styling to restore its health and vigour. The tree is owned by Robert Atkinson, a bonsai teacher from the North-East of England, and he and I took these photographs of Salvatore styling the tree.

 

Juniperus prostrata
The tree before the styling was carried out. It had been in it's pot for two years having spent a year in the ground prior to potting up.
Viewing the tree from the side gave Salvatore an idea.
Juniperus prostrata
Juniperus prostrata
On turning the tree a little more, Salvatore determined that the side branch could possibly serve as the apex.
Salvatore studied the existing apex and checked the health of the tree. Robert, looking on, was not entirely convinced that Salvatore's plan would work.
Juniperus prostrata
Juniperus prostrata A final look at the tree....
........and then off with it's head! It is now abundantly clear what no one, apart from Salvatore, had noticed before- the tree needed to be reduced and angled severely to create the shape that had been hidden. That is the difference between masters and students.
Juniperus prostrata

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