Shohin Cork Bark Elm   3 comments

This small elm is from Muranaka Bonsai Nursery. The trunk is formed using the embedded wire method of obtaining larger trunked small specimens faster. The corking is well formed and the taper is really nice. A small bunjin type canopy with a verticle drop branch is the future.DSC_00080001

Some first wire and cut back. The large leaves have been cut in half by folding.

Beth: The trunk is made by wrapping a small wire around a matchstick size whip and bending into a shape before planting in the ground. As the tree grows the wire cuts into the bark and eventually becomes embedded into the trunk as it has in this tree. The photo shows where the wire wraps are. If you compare that photo with the first it is easy to see where the wire is.

DSC_00780001 red


Working on the Elm Root Cuttings.   1 comment

Elms were allowed to grow out and then they received the first wire this week. All I have done so far is prune out the leaders for taper and chosen which branches will be retained and grown on. A group for an upright part of the crown and then the cascadeing part which will be kept rather short.








Posted April 21, 2016 by California Bonsai Art in Styling Trees

Curt and Rod Presents – Blues Monday   Leave a comment

Mean Town Blues

Johnny Winter

John Dawson Winter III (February 23, 1944 – July 16, 2014), known as Johnny Winter, was an American musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. Best known for his high-energy blues-rock albums and live performances in the late 1960s and 1970s, Winter also produced three Grammy Award-winning albums for blues singer and guitarist Muddy Waters. After his time with Waters, Winter recorded several Grammy-nominated blues albums. In 1988, he was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and in 2003, he was ranked 63rd in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.

Johnny Winter was born in Beaumont, Texas, on February 23, 1944. Winter, with younger brother Edgar (born 1946), was nurtured at an early age by their parents in musical pursuits. Johnny and his brother, both of whom were born with albinism, began performing at an early age. When he was ten years old, the brothers appeared on a local children’s show, singing Everly Brothers songs, with Johnny playing ukelele.

His recording career began at the age of fifteen, when his band Johnny and the Jammers released “School Day Blues” on a Houston record label. During this same period, he was able to see performances by classic blues artists such as Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Bobby Bland. In the early days, Winter would sometimes sit in with Roy Head and the Traits when they performed in the Beaumont area, and in 1967, Winter recorded a single with the Traits: “Tramp” backed with “Parchman Farm” (Universal Records 30496). In 1968, he released his first album The Progressive Blues Experiment, on Austin’s Sonobeat Records.

Editors note: One of the finest guitar players of the last century. Johnnies guitar work on this song alone is a masterpiece of single guitar execution. The sound from his one guitar is not possible from multi guitars in many multi guitar bands.


Repotting the elm cuttings   6 comments

Last year this time I made cutting from a elm tree that I repotted. The cuttings were mostly set up to be cascade and semi cascade neagari style trees. Neagari style means stilted roots.

New Picture (3a)

This is the  elms after a season in a basket. Good growth about three feet.


The cuttings were originally selected to be in the neagari style from the get go. Root sections were chosen for the shape and not so much for the size of the trunk. These will all be shohin size trees so size was not much of an issue.


Once it is out of the basket I set to work looking each cutting over to make sure it has good strong roots in which to support the tree in the future. They also must come from the end of the root in such a way as to be compact to form the long claw that will make the base of the tree.


This cutting will require a piece of wire around the roots pulling them down into a longer thinnish shape. This cutting has not had any of the roots trimmed yet and is full of feeder roots. All of the feeders from nearly half of the root system will be cut away leaving only the thick strong “stilt” root




This cutting has a nice bend right at the intersection of roots versus stem. This shape will make a nice semi cascade neagari style tree.


I use my hand to pull all the roots into a long cylinder and affix a wire to hold the shape.


The wired roots look like this. I need the roots to keep this shape while they grow next year. The following year I can seperate them and make them look more artistic if needed, but right now I am just building foundations.


Each tree was planted into a cut down water bottle to keep the feeder roots into some soil as they continue growing down. Each tree was cut back to a apex leader and a cascading leader. Branch building will start now while I work on the bases.


These are the only two non-cascading trees and these will be trained as broom style trees at the same time.



Ted Matson at Round Valley Nursery   Leave a comment

It’s been 9 months since Teds first workshop at Ed Clark,s Round Valley Nursery. This was a follow up to the work done in March, and since most were pines, this late Fall workshop was great for working Fall maintenance.





Saturday morning class had about 12 students.








This year I sat in one of the green houses and just wired trees. Lots of trees to wire. Take my pick and just wire.





And some afters.





Some views of material. Some chojubai coming along.DSC_00400040
















Posted December 12, 2015 by California Bonsai Art in Spotlight on Artists

Curt and Rod Presents – Blues Monday   Leave a comment

Taj Mahal

Leaving Trunk

Henry Saint Clair Fredericks (born May 17, 1942), who uses the stage name Taj Mahal, is an American blues musician. He often incorporates elements of world music into his works. A self-taught singer-songwriter and film composer who plays the guitar, piano, banjo and harmonica (among many other instruments), Mahal has done much to reshape the definition and scope of blues music over the course of his almost 50-year career by fusing it with nontraditional forms, including sounds from the Caribbean, Africa and the South Pacific.

Born Henry Saint Clair Fredericks, Jr. on May 17, 1942 in Harlem, New York, Mahal grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts. Raised in a musical environment, his mother was a member of a local gospel choir and his father was a West Indian jazz arranger and piano player. His family owned a shortwave radio which received music broadcasts from around the world, exposing him at an early age to world music. Early in childhood he recognized the stark differences between the popular music of his day and the music that was played in his home. He also became interested in jazz, enjoying the works of musicians such as Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk and Milt Jackson. His parents came of age during the Harlem Renaissance, instilling in their son a sense of pride in his West Indian and African ancestry through their stories.

Curt and Rod Presents – Blues Monday   2 comments

John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers

Out of Reach


“Out of Reach” originally appeared on the B-side of a non-hit single in early 1967. Though credited to John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, this is really fronted by Peter Green, who wrote and sang the song. While it’s since been made readily available on album reissue, it still remains frightfully unknown, even to many blues-rock, Mayall, and Green fans. Despite its obscurity, it endures as the first real full flowering of Green’s peculiar brand of tortured genius. “Out of Reach,” melodically, is a basic blues; there’s nothing extraordinary about its chord structure, other than perhaps a greater emphasis on minor chords than most blues. What is extraordinary, though, is the eerie arrangement. It’s hard to take a blues song, or a song in any popular music idiom, slower than “Out of Reach” is taken by the Bluesbreakers. The tempo is a lurching dirge-shuffle, one of the guitar parts wavering between notes as if it’s part of an old tape that’s wearing out and speeding up and down due to technical problems. That effect is deliberate, though, adding some otherwordly despair to Green’s icily reverbed lead guitar licks. The lyrics, sung movingly if gruffly by Green, are even by the standards of the blues downcast, almost to the point of hinting at a suicidal state of mind. The foggy gloom is magnified by the drawn-out, hypnotic tempo, periodically punctuated by parts at which the band comes to a stuttering halt for Green to deliver particularly emotional lines of the verse. The solo sparkles, especially at the very end, when it descends and almost trails off into nothingness, ending on a whimsical note progression that very few standard blues guitarists would have chosen. Green’s final sides with Fleetwood Mac have long been analyzed for their indication of a troubled mind whose demons were getting the better of him, causing him to question the whole meaning of his life. “Out of Reach,” seldom brought into such commentaries, indicates that his propensities for such work were already in evidence in his Bluesbreakers days and stands up to most of his best Fleetwood Mac work in its level of bummed-out brilliance.

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