2006 Summarized

Browsing through the endless mess of photos in my library, I stumbled upon a few keepers from the beginning of my apprenticeship.  My level of determination was matched only by my lack of hair… I would do anything to stay.

Part of the morning routine (the best part)

The old garden (Jippou-an)

Constant rearrangement and lots of lifting

When I had proven my ability to handle the more simple yet important aspects of maintaining a clean and healthy Bonsai nursery/garden, I was tested with something that mentally challenges every beginner: wiring.  Testing a first year student is part of the initiation; if you can show you are learning through the quality of your work, you will not be frowned upon… yet.  First you need to master the basics (using the correct size of wire, elegant line, soft application, etc.)  Then you will be expected to know correct branch placement in relation to the tree, does it look natural, balanced and convincing?

Here is an example using the first tree I ever wired in Japan, a Bunjin Japanese White Pine.  Bunjin are often given to the new apprentice to practice on, as they tend to be very good at forcing the eye to see both positive and negative in the overall design, they can be tricky.

Goyomatsu before initial styling

After initial styling

Not too shabby, it was a start.  Greatness in wiring comes from constant exposure to beautiful and simple technique, I have had many outstanding examples to study over the years; combined with patience, practice and a mind in the state of constant unrest this may (or may not) be achieved.


Hopefully ya’ll are a little caught up, sorry I waited 5 years to share these inspiring pics and rad experiences.  I intend to update my blog as often as apprentice-ly possible, where are all my encouraging followers??!  Holllllllla


10 thoughts on “2006 Summarized

  1. Kenny

    Love the posts so far. What a blast into the past Matt! I remember right before you left to Japan. I would be lying if I said it was just like yesterday….

  2. Audrey Reel

    Matthew~ Of course I am enjoying your blog! Thank you for sharing your experience with us~ After having seen your work first hand, I am even more excited that you are journaling your experience. The photos are wonderful, but not half as amazing as what this looks like when you are standing in front of these works of art! I wish for everyone the opportunity of visiting your work in Japan~

  3. Keith

    Hahaha Old dirty Bastard tshirt..you have come along way Matt.I have followed your blog for some time now..to borrow a quote from that insider trading Jailbird Martha Stewart “it’s a good thing”.

    1. reelbonsai Post author

      Keith, you like the shirt? I wore it so much it fell apart, too bad… LOL thanks for the encouraging quotes, keep them coming and I’ll do the same with my posts!!!

    1. reelbonsai Post author

      Hey there nice blog! May I ask your name and where you are from? in answer to your question, I was 18 years-old in the pic with the baby jesus t-shirt (aka Old Dirty Bastard… LOL) Kokufu was a busy time as always, but now I have a little more spare time to make posts, I’ll keep ’em comin’!

      1. japanesepots

        Matt, thanks for the kind words about the blog, i loves me some Japanese pots!
        My name is Ryan Bell and am located in Mississippi. I’ve followed your blog for a while, good to see some new posts.

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