Saturday, 22 July 2017

Carving a Big Olive Tree

The topic of our club's last meeting was carving trees. The demonstrator was Kathy Steyn of Bonsai Magic. Although Kathy isn't a member of our club I've often seen her and her trees at the meetings where members of the various clubs in my area get together and she always has the top trees in several categories.

Here are two which she brought to our meeting.

First an olive tree:

Kathy Steyn's olive tree

I'd love to have one like this in my collection but it would have to be a lot smaller than Kathy's tree as I only buy trees I can manage on my own. Maybe one day...

Her second tree was this Buddleja Salinga:

Kathy Steyn's Buddleja Salinga

Dave Wilson, a long time member of our club (Eastern Bonsai Society), brought this large, untrained olive tree for Kathy to work on.


The first step was to get rid of the excess branches.

Kathy and Dave removing unwanted branches

If this was Kathy's own tree she'd have removed all the thin branches as olives bud back well after pruning. However she respected Dave's wishes and left the best options, though it's possible that some of those will be removed later if better options present themselves.

The next step was removing a thicker branch that looked out of place.


With an electric saw that didn't take too long.


Then it was time for some serious carving:


Creating a natural look with some areas hollowed out:


Here the tree is starting to take shape. What remains of the sawed off branch now looks like natural damage rather than the result of pruning.


The side view of that branch shows a hollow:


An old cut has been turned into a jin.


Dave's tree proved to require more work than could be done in the allotted time, so Kathy took it home to finish the work. Dave has promised to bring it to another meeting so we can see the finished job. When he does I'll get some more photos so that I can write an update.

Meanwhile you can see more of Kathy's work on her Facebook Page.

If you're in Gauteng (South Africa), Kathy offers carving lessons. You can find the details on her website.



I took my own olive tree along to the meeting and Kathy gave me some advice on how to proceed. As I don't do my own carving I took it to a workshop last week and was really pleased with the work that was done there. But I'll save that for another post.


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