Initial Styling of Two Shimpaku and a Maple

This past Sunday I drove up to Memphis with a backseat full of trees for a one on one day with artist Bjorn Bjorholm. Bjorn recently returned from Japan where he is at Fujikawa Kouka-en. If you haven’t checked out his “Bonsai Art Of Japan” video series, do, they’re awesome and very informative. I can’t say enough nice things about Bjorn. He’s very professional and an excellent teacher, willing to share knowledge and non-judgemental(which is a huge plus for novices like myself!).
He, along with the master from Fujikawa Kouka-en, will be two of the headliners at this years Rendezvous at Brussels. If you have the chance to work with Bjorn, jump on it!

Itoigawa Shimpaku before work. Super tough material. Gigantic old trunk, but very tough to see the deadwood and great twisting live veins and Shari.

After work with Bjorn and yesterday alone working on the deadwood and hollowing out the punky deadwood on the Shari to the left. No matter what front was chosen, it was clear from the get go that this was going to be an unusually styled tree! The branch crossing the trunk in the middle will be replaced by a smaller branch from the rear in the future, after the foliage increases and it’s safe to jin it. That entire area will become a deadwood feature on the trunk. A good start for difficult material!

A twisty Kishu Shimpaku. This is the before. Much easier material!

And the after. Bjorn saw two options for the tree, a semi-cascade where the surface roots would eventually become a deadwood feature, or this more upright style that I liked better. The plan from here is increasing and pushing back the foliage on the right for a more compact tree, and slowly increasing the Shari to show a bit more deadwood.

This mountain maple is obviously pretty old, but the super heavy bar branches in the center and the heavy branches in the apex suck! Time for a change, so I brought it along for some confirmation for what I wanted to do.

And heres the after from the new front. I was planning more or less on removing all the branches and starting from scratch, instead, some were left as bases for the new branches and I ended up with more than I would have left! That big branch to the rear lower right will be removed around midsummer after the tree grows strongly from buds farther back along the branch, and the base will become a back branch, hopefully it will grow strongly enough this summer to do some initial wiring of the new branches!

I hope you enjoyed reading the post! Sign up for a workshop with Bjorn at this years Rendezvous if you haven’t already! He’s a real joy to work with!


About japanesepots

I've been collecting Japanese Bonsai pots for a few years, and feel that the famous, and some of the lesser known but great Japanese pot artists could do with a little more writing and exposure in English. Additionally, this blog will feature My own And others bonsai for discussion. The purpose of this blog is to further knowledge of Japanese pottery and Japanese style bonsai. If you have any questions about Japanese bonsai pottery, or would like to acquire pots by some of the potters presented in the blog, feel free to email me at
This entry was posted in My Personal Collection, Trees. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Initial Styling of Two Shimpaku and a Maple

  1. Jay Serion says:

    Enjoyed this, thanks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s