Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Natural Flux – Novocaine for my Soul!

I’d really been looking forward to this event since I heard “Rumours” of it happening and I wasn’t to be disappointed. Having seen release pictures on t’internet my interest had been really fired up but it did little to prepare me for what I was about to see. Respected Bonsai Artist Steve Tolley trades under the name “4 dimensional art” with the 4th dimension being time, Natural Flux proved to be a “must see” 3 dimensional exhibition because the photos that I had seen didn’t do the exhibits justice. As many of my trees can easily be flattered by 2D photography to look much better than they really are, the “real life” experience of the exhibition made the photos I’d seen look flat and lifeless! 

Some of the trees themselves were not really of a Show standard but I think that that was sort of the point. The Beech in the “hill” pot by John Pitt was slender and elegant but lacked ramification and structure but still looked delightful. Each composition was thought provoking and elegant in its own way. I was very, very taken with the Rabbit Foot fern that seemed to have “evolved” on a stack of rusty industrial cogs – very natural, very real. My “star” of the Show was the Star Jasmine in its Clare Wakefield pot, totally orgasmic! Now, I hate to single any of the artists out for praise (as some of them are my closest friends) but I’d love to see some of Clare’s pots in a conventional Bonsai Show and see the reaction to them amongst the Bonsai Community.  Here's a link - Enjoy! naturalfluxbonsai

So to close – Peter, you have been very brave and it seems that you have finally “scratched that itch” that has been bugging you for a while and boy have you. What you have brought us is a new, refreshing and thought provoking look at the art that we all love so much. Seen by many as the “quite man of Bonsai" it was fantastic to see you working the room as you were so in YOUR zone. Words of congratulation do not seem enough somehow as your event raised my spirit and my soul after what has been a trying and painful (literally) few weeks. Thank you my friend and may Natural Flux be the start of your star in ascendancy!

Monday, 11 November 2013

SUTEKI Trees & Accents at Heathrow Show

Last weekend it was my first “proper” chance to fly solo since CKB last year and also the first outing for the Shiten Bonsai Society (SBS) and as this was our first assignment, we wanted to make it look good! Although the largest contingent of trees belonged to Sensei Storey I did chip in a couple of previously unseen trees and had free rein as to the layout of the display which was a really buzz. 

You’ll find the trees posted HERE on the SBS Blog. It’s no Accent-dent that I’m using this post to share some of the plantings that caught my eye. It has been expressed in some circles that the quality of the companion plantings/compositions have really risen in the last few years and I would agree - well mostly, as we did have a wee giggle at on Accent displayed behind a very, very large tree. I hope that you enjoy these little beauties as much as I did! 

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Appetite for Destruction

You may have noticed that I’ve (again) been off of the radar but this time for a good reason – Mass Destruction!! 

The Suteki “Shed” is no more and makes way for our new “Glass Extension” - posh way of saying a Conservatory. This will house our new kitchen and dining room allowing us a proper grown up Lounge and Utility room/new Workshop. No more out in the cold and dark to pot my trees or to make my pots and it will still have a fridge (as it is the “old” Kitchen) for m’beer. Mmmmmm, beer good! 

Here’s an artist’s impression of the extension which will have some of our new “toys” including my set of Bugatti kitchen scales, a Porsche designed sink (hopefully) and some of our funky new furniture. Progress photos will be uploaded as and when. Enjoy!

Friday, 18 October 2013

Shiten Bonsai Society: 2 become 1

Shiten Bonsai Society: 2 become 1
This could explain a lot!

Times, they are a’changing

Finally, free of my shackles of Club leadership I’m now free to do what I want any ol’time and get down on it! Since my “strings have been cut” from the evil grown up baby* it’s time to stand by for action and put myself, and family, in pole position for a change.

Anything could happen in the next half hour!

Don’t get me wrong, I truly LOVED my time at the helm of the Maidstone Bonsai Society but I need a break from the Club scene to help re-charge my batteries and work on my Shiten trees and accent plantings. With the Magical Bonsai Accents Show happening again in 2014 I really need to up my game both in plantings and my SUTEKI pots and hopefully once our extension I’ll get some “Si Time” (nothing like Hammer time!) and get this party started!

(*very much like the Evil Monkey that lives in Chris’s wardrobe in Family Guy)

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Bonsai is about the Journey, not just the destination!

During my Bonsai Journey, I've been lucky enough to have met, and studied, under some Bonsai Folk.  Here's a few early photos of some of the one's I've met - can you guess who's who?

Rick, Vivian, Neil and Mike, "Young Ones", I'll let you decide who's who!

Love the Lumber Jack jacket!
This will be a Gold Medal Winner before you know it

What a "talent" we have here

....... and more "talent"

This man doesn't like "pissing the birds off" especially in Northumberland

2 Bonsai Gods for the price of 1 - the one on the right winning a scholarship!
Before he got Tango'd and grew long arms - LOL

The quite one's are the ones to watch - true bonsai hero to me

F**k me, a local lad!!

................. and finally a nicer bloke you couldn't meet

Thursday, 15 August 2013

You ain’t seen me right? (or “Where’s (the) Wally!)

Last night I was allowed out to play by Mrs Wife so Les and I attended Kent Bonsai Club’s August meeting as I’ve been interested for a while to see how “the other half” live. Quite surprised, and then playfully abusive, the members that I know made me feel quite welcome in their own way – most it seemed to involve me parting with money! Once the shock had worn off I had a chance to catch up as I’d not seen many of them since CKB last year.

I must admit that it was fairly “odd” to be, as Andy put it on the MBS Blog about Crawley, the other side of the fence but I had a great evening coming home with some good memories and some late 1990′s “Bonsai Porn”. It’s really funny looking at some of the magazines as I’ve now either worked or met many of the “artists” featured, a bit spooky – God they look so young!

I was “allowed” to get my hands dirty and create a “bloody Maidstone tree” (or at least set it on the right path) from a Field Maple with a stunning trunk. Many years work ahead but with the right care and styling this could be one of the better Field Maples on the “circuit”. Let’s hope that the owner is still talking to me next time I see her! So where will I “pop-up” next, who knows, it could be at your place!! SUTEKI Squirrel, over and out.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Oh Behave!



The word originally means a charm or a spell. But now it’s more commonly said meaning sex appeal or talent.
1. Self-confidence, Self-assuredness. As in basis for belief in one’s self in a situation.
2. Good luck fetish / charm to bolster confidence.
3. The ability to bounce back from a debilitating trauma and negative attitude.

Well, it appears to be back and not a moment too soon – shame I’m off to sunnier shores in the not too distant future!  I think that my lack of Mojo was mainly down to the long Winter and my trees being late pushing on that my mind became to wandering to everything apart from Bonsai and Ceramics! 
Anyho, batteries soon to be recharged (I hope) and then full speed ahead on the pot frot as I will be losing my Workshop in August until the end of the year so I’d best get busy. 
Wish me luck, and more entries here soon (hopefully!),
Love, Peace & Bananas,

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Turning Heads

My friend Adrian is one of the few disabled bonsai hobbyists that I know.  Like me, he enjoys making things from scratch (mainly, in my case model cars) and he really surprised me, and it seems many within the Bonsai community, with his revolving and tilting workbench.  There are not too many times that things come onto the market that are a “must have” but I feel that what he has produced falls into this bracket.  Seen being used by UK professionals, at the UK New Bonsai Talent contest and now being used in Europe after successful sales at Burrs this little gem is a joy to work with.

Although originally aimed at the Shohin market this stand will hold up to 6kg so also ideal for smaller Chuhin trees.  Here’s what Peter Warren had to say on Adrian’s gadget:-

“I found it to be a great little table, much better than the one I had previously which had a similar design but the ball joint and the clamp was too slack so I never used it.  This one has a very secure and stable feel to it, and especially combined with the turntable it makes for easy work and easy work makes for good work.  They will be for sale at the Shohin UK show next year no doubt, but for any Shohin enthusiast, I would recommend it.”
High praise indeed. 

Adrian is working on a larger floor standing model and I’m sure that it will be as popular as his table top version.  You can order yours by visiting Adrian's new website HERE or keep an eye out for him at a Bonsai Show near you!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Drawing on inspiration


Whilst looking back on my personal Bonsai year I spent some time looking at what has inspired me and areas where I need to improve on.  One area that separates the pros form us mere morals is that use of design sketches.   One of my Bonsai heroes, Will Baddeley,* has produced (and encourages us to embrace) some stunning designs for members on his Forum (the European Bonsai Forum) as well as at the many Workshops he attends.  Although “art” might not be everyone’s strong point it’s worth taking the time to give it a go.

Whilst at the Burrs Workshop in November many of the professional artists used this medium to help explain their design “vision” for the material but it also helps the owner to refine the overall design over the following years.  Here’s what I mean………….

I know that myself, along with many other novices, benefit from having a blueprint for future work and it also provides an excellent part of a trees progression, just ask anyone lucky enough to be the owner of an original Slovak or a Baddeley!

*Check out Will’s Blog here

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year from Suteki!

Apologies for my lack of recent “posts” but this is due to a) I’m totally erratic at posting at the best of times, b) lack of, or extremely intermittent, broadband and c) having to babysit 2 unwell children over the Christmas period.  Not having a landline “jelly-bone” was quite interesting (just goes to show how often it got used!) but the lack of internet did prove frustrating!  Any-ho, I digress!

I’m extremely proud of what I achieved with Suteki Accent Pots during 2012 whether it was the fantastic sales (especially at CKB) or seeing my pots or plantings being used in formal displays.  My thanks go to all my customers and friends that have given me encouragement to continue with what I enjoy.  Thanks again for your support, next stop my pots at a “Top” Show!

Talking of Celebrating Kent Bonsai, I think that that had to be right at the top of my “proud moments of the year” list.  OK, I’m gunna toot my own horn here but I think that the Show was one of the best events this part of the country has ever had.  The feedback was tremendous (no pun intended) and bearing in mind it was my first large scale organisational event I’m very, very pleased with the outcome.  The help and support that I received from Kent’s Club members and traders alike was fantastic and I couldn’t have organised the event without their input, but I’m pleased for me.  Lots of stress, plenty of sleepless nights but an overall feeling of a “job well done” outweighed everything.

So what does 2013 hold for the Fiendish Frog?  Well I’m gunna be continuing to explore new avenues on the pot front, new glazes, designs etc.  My last batch, available here, went down a storm along with a couple of new colours that I managed to “sell” to one of the UK’s best Shohin pot makers – sorry bud could resist it!  Although I’m gunna miss Noelanders I’m really looking forward to the Swindon Winter Image and Shohin UK Shows along with Bonsai World later in the year.  Best of British Bonsai – the jury’s still out for me I’m afraid!  Lastly, but probably most importantly, it’s another year back at school.  2012, plus the trees in my garden, proved to me that although I’m on the right path I still need to improve some of my basic skills.  I’ve mentally planned my curriculum for the year but will have to see how the pennies, and pots, go.