Last nite, after a long study of  how this old mountain Pine looks at this moment in time, I decided it was time to start styling the large Jin on the left side. This small tree is already so far in it’s progress towards the planed end design, that I can now see what to aim for when I start to work on it’s deadwood.  I prefer to leave important deadwood decisions/work alone until I know how my planed Bonsai design looks in real live, instead as only just a picture in my mind.  This delicate work is to important for the final success of this future Bonsai to do this in the first styling! You cant replace what you take off, so you better be sure before you start your deadwood design. Thats why  I choose only to start sculpting the deadwood, when I can see the total, near finished,  picture of the Bonsai! And in this case, I had seen the light!  So this morning, I was waking up the neighbours with the sweat sound of my DREMMEL! I love the smell of warm deadwood in the morning!

Below: I had placed a piece of wood under the pot to tilt the tree backward. This opened up the view inside the tree more and improved the movement a lot! From this picture it is obvious that the Jin is to long, thick and wrongly shaped. But wurst of all, it pulls the tree downwards to the left and that needs to be solved and improved! The root base is rather special, consisting of a deadwood part (left side) a Shari on the front (center) that ends into a  root and a strong root on the right side and a stone that is peaking around the right side of the trunk. But because of all this fixed roots, there was not much room left for changing the planting angle to improve the lines of the trunk! This was always a limitation in designing this tree, but also a great challenge! Because when you successfully overcome or incorporate problems into your design, the future Bonsai will become way more interesting and even more beautiful to look at!


Below: Before the work begins, the tree is extra secured to the pot with a copper wire. To avoid any movement that might damaged the roots, wile working on the deadwood.

Below:This red line shows the ideal new line were the live bark will meat the deadwood in the future. This will bring more movement and taper to this strait section of the trunk.

Belowe: Red arrows, the bark is already removed,  this gives me a better idea of how to shape the Jin.

Below:  I used a knob cutter to shorten the Jin. A saw or power tool could shake the tree to much in its pot! Besides that, I love to do these tasks slowly. They are over before you know it and you can only do them ones, so you better enjoy the moment!

Below: The deadwood is already reduced to the point were I can start shaping it into it’s new form.

Below: Red arrow shows the old direction and the White arrow shows the new direction of this Jin.

Below:  Backside of the new Jin.

Below:  The red arrows shows, that even in the creation of this Jin, I tried to create difference in dept! Preventing this Jin to become to flat and boring.

Below: The ruff version of this Jin is finished. The detail work I will do later, when I am more used to the present image of the whole tree!

Below: The red arrow shows the old downward direction of this Jin. This was pooling the eyes downward, away from the tree. Making the tree unbalanced and the middle trunk section to long and straight. The white arrow shows the new upward direction, pooling the eyes back in to the composition of the tree. Now the tree is more balanced and compact!

Below: Red arrows: Pieces of wood were used to lift the old branches, with Shari, into there possition.

White arrows: Some were in the history of this tree, the trunk was forced to grow to the opposite direction and years later it happened again, further up the trunk! Leaving those almost straight folding scares, that seams to be made by Mother nature with the help of a ruler.

Below:This close up nicely shows the movement of the lower trunk. This movement, in real live, softens the strait line of the second part of the trunk. This is hard to see in most photos taken from the front side. Check out the 2 little stones in bedded into the left side of the trunk! They must have grown into the trunk, many, many years ago. I love those details of age in my Yamadori!

Below:Right side view of the tree. Here again you can see the movement of the lower part of this tree. The stone between the roots has been there always and always will be a part of the history of little tree.

Below: I am really pleased with the image that  this difficult Bonsai is showing already. I love the twirling movement of the trunk and the inclination to the left side. The movement, back to the right side, that starts from the Jin, pulls the tree back into almost balanced. This can be more appreciated in the future when I repot in in a more suitable pot. I lifted the top a bit more, to make the overall picture more rounded. This softens the strait line in this bonsai even more. Now only the Jin protrudes out trough the circular image of this Bonsai, creating a interesting escape or resting point for the eyes. I love the negative spaces, that play such a important part in the success of this design. This tree has almost perfect disbalance! 🙂


From “One day like this” by one of my favorite bands of this moment “ELBOW”.

I had a great day and I hope you like the progress of “WOLFIE” so far?




Hans van Meer.