Now that the weather is cooling down in Nagoya it is a perfect time to wire and style pines and junipers. Mr. Tanaka has plenty of both here at Aichien, so my fellow apprentices and I have been very busy. At this time in the year we can safely do a lot of work on these trees with little concern for after care and environmental stress.
One of my recent projects was to style a tree that belongs to a customer of Aichien. It is a fairly old Japanese Black Pine. In this article I will show the before and after photos and talk a little bit about some of the things that were adjusted after the initial styling in order to get the tree looking it’s best.
Here is a baseline shot of the tree before any work was performed. Lots of foliage, good movement, great trunk and bark. Nice material. The current front is not bad, the trouble is that the tree looks very flat, as in 2 dimensional. In the next photo you’ll see the tree rotated just a little bit to add more depth. The main goal with this project is to break up the foliage mass. It’s nice and full now, but looks very round and shows no individual foliage pads or lines. So you’ve got a pretty good idea of what we are working with. The next few steps simply involved pulling needles, removing a few small branches and wiring. From here lets jump to the after photo and then talk in-depth about the finishing touches.
So this is how the tree looked after my first round of styling. As you can see, the front was changed and that helped with the depth issue. The foliage looks a bit nicer as has a more character than the previous spherical, crowded foliage mass. At this point I felt as though I’d done everything to the best of my ability and was ready to show the tree to Mr. Tanaka and get his guidance. Overall he seemed to like the work, but said the new front was slightly too much and that I should move it back just a little bit. He said it made the tree look as though it was leaning to far forward. The trouble was that moving the front just a little bit would cause the main branch to block too much view of the trunk and the new position of the main branch suits this tree well. So now the task is to solve 2 problems. Adjust the front and move the main branch. With the branches wired and spread out, there was really no room to move the main branch back any more. The only solution is to cut something off. Mr. Tanaka showed me what branch to cut and sent me back to my workstation to get this tree looking right.
The above photo is to show the branch structure. As you can see, things are spread out well but there is just no room to move much more. Something has to go.
This is the one. Cut it off!
With the branch removed there is plenty of room to spread things out and get the tree set up nicely. The main branch can now be moved back and the front can be set back a little closer to the original front position.
One cut really made a difference. It allowed the front to move back slightly and the main branch could be moved into its correct position. I’m happy with the way this one turned out. It was a pleasure getting to style such nice material! Hopefully the customer will be pleased with the result.
I’ll close this one out with a series of before, after and final photos. It’s interesting to see the changes from baseline to first styling to final adjustments. The differences between the second and third photos is subtle but important. It’s fun to look closely and compare.
Thanks for reading.
Until next time…