Welcome to All in One Bonsai

Bitten by the Bug


Welcome to All in One Bonsai...a blog that aims to remind me of what I have forgotten. Over the years I have been finding out as much as I can about the art of bonsai. I hope the information in this blog will shed some light to the beginning bonsai enthusiast out there.


I saw some bonsai trees at a corner market one night in Taipei and asked the guy if he was willing to teach me how to create these miniature trees. He directed me to a night school where all the instruction was in Chinese. My Chinese ability is very ordinary at the least so although I was learning bits and pieces, I really wasn't getting all I wanted from the course. The best parts were when the teacher would start pruning a beautiful tree or when he showed us how to repot a bonsai. The mystery was still out there but my interest wasn't waning, if anything it fueled my motivation to find out more. And so I did.


Let the adventure begin...


Recently I have discovered the joy of pottery. Bonsai and pottery are close friends so it was only a matter of time before I was introduced to her. Welcome to All in One Bonsai...and pottery.


Feel free to visit my site where you can purchase some of my handmade pottery. Quite a few pieces have been wood fired as it is the prefered method here in Taiwan:

AllinoneCeramics



Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Sun's Kiss

Turning Up the Heat

It's Spring time in Taiwan at the moment.  It just hit April 1st and the weather is starting to find its feet.  However, it's not as hot as the mountain wood fired kiln in Maoli, Taiwan.  Maoli is an area of beautiful mountains and humble people.  The kiln in Maoli is a favorite of many and always produces good results.  This particulr kiln rises its heat to 1,600 degrees celsius.  The high temperature throughly cooks anything in its path.  Below are some of my pots that came out of this kiln.

It was a mixture of cinnamon on yogurt and flahes of pink, sometimes orange.  The locals call this Sun's Kiss.

I have been adding a finger swirl at the base of my pots.  A lot of people do this - I like it so I copy them!


My second tea bowl that has a splash more orange.

I have been experimenting on carving a foot to create a more natural look.  I'm not sure if it works or not.

Fill me up!

The clay I used was China White #26. I do like the Japanese style of pottery and I try and make some things that are in that ball park - some may say not even the same sport Mister.

A small bowl/vase that is 9 cm in height.

Whitey on the other side.

Parts of these pots almost look like a traditional shino glaze.  No glaze was added to any of these pieces.

A closer look at the inside.

I trimmed the foot of this one.

Another tea bowl - again trying to go for that old wabi sabi look.

I think this one was my favorite.


The humble bowl - 14 cm in diameter.

I left some tool marks to say I woz ere.

This little guy is only 7 cm in height.

Flip flop.

And to finish with...some brown clay used in the same kiln.  A competely different look. 

I thought the melted wood ash looked interesting on this tea bowl - 7 cm in height.






I did have some other pieces but a few cracked and others were warped by the extreme heat.  I think the next time I use this kiln I will make everything a little thicker so they stand up, fight back and not buckle.

Take care out there!

Sunday, 1 March 2015

World Record

Boh Tai Yuan

So how many trees do you have?  Me?  I have slowly been collecting and have about 50 now...maybe a few more and most are not great quality.  It depends on how much space you have available and your access to trees.  Well, a Taiwanese man called Wantain Chen, has both space and access to trees largely because he is an extremely wealthy man.  This Saturday we were lucky enough to be given the chance to view his personal bonsai collection.  He is a private man and rarely opens his golden doors to the public.  A group of about 50 of us were allowed to walk through his garden thanks to the connections we have with Jack Lin, the current head of Taipei Bonsai here in Taiwan.  

Mr. Chen's collection was recently acknowledged by the Guinness Book of Records and was awarded a certificate stating that he is now the owner of the world's largest bonsai collection.  Each of Mr. Chen's 1,458 trees are all very valuable and old!  The oldest is around 500 years and the youngest estimated at 80 years.  The combined age of all his trees are thought to be around 145,800 years.

Mr. Chen loves bonsai trees and was pained everytime he heard of a Taiwanese masterpiece being sold to a rich Chinese man.  A great deal of Taiwanese bonsai have been sold to Chinese buyers so Mr. Chen began buying and preserving the pride of Taiwanese bonsai to keep them here!


I felt like a kid again as these doors that seem never to open were opened.  The scene reminded my of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.


Mr. Chen was not on site but his personal assistants were scattered all over the garden.  Many looking like body guards.
Here is one.  

This is the view as you walk in through the gates - large trees, bonsai on stands, meticulously kept lawns, and rock ponds.


One of the many paths around his private garden.

We are in!  Jack laying down some ground rules.

The garden is quite large so easy movement is needed.  There were also golf carts parked around the garden.

In the background the hidden speakers were playing tranquil music.  


Great thought and planning has gone into this piece of land.

Cascade
Brilliant branch structure.

I set myself for taking a lot of photos.  Trees as far as the eye could see and all very valuable.  I can only imagine the combined cost of all these trees.  Each one can be bought for tens of thousands of dollars.




A large Chinese Elm tree.  The pond in the background had hundreds of fish swimming around.

Up into the apex of this elm.


Larger juniper trees were growing over man made waterfalls.  It really was like a King's courtyard.

Annie taking it easy.  Our baby was enjoying the rhythms of the water.

This was about the second tree I saw.  A beautiful old tree.

The bark texture of a larger tree.

Here is the owner of that branch.

A twin trunk bonsai.  It was extremely hard to take a photo and not have someone else in the background!

The little details were classy.

Magnificent trunk!

An overwhelming number of trees.

Annie casting her trained eye over this tree.



Just to prove that we were both here on the same day.

It's spring in Taiwan at the moment so it was a great time to view these trees.  Many new leaves were beginning to grow.





A single flower.  Nice.




I have no idea what this building was...maybe Mr.Chen's meeting rooms.  The bonsai on the balcony was fantastic.

Tied down in case of strong winds.



After a while all the trees began blurring into one.  I really had to concentrate and not rush.  I knew that I was never going to get this chance again.    









A close up.

An interesting style.

The next couple are of amazing junipers.  These junipers are ancient!  Their trunks are mostly the work of nature dishing out punishment decade after decade.  















Off to the other side of the garden was another pond and trickling waterfall.

A large juniper to the side of that.

Just to the left of this area was a workshop.

As we walk along there is plenty of shade to keep you cool.

Some trees have been planted in the ground.  Maybe to have them recover from an illness or just to grow them bigger.

Here you can see the cut paste after a few limbs were removed. A good study tree.

Maintaining these trees takes a small army of gardeners.  We saw them throughout the garden.  We noticed that many of them were Thai.

Blooming!




I decided to take a few snaps of the more interesting pots.  These pots alone would be very expensive!  I am not sure but my guess is that they would probably be antique pots, made from famous Chinese and Japanese potters.

An unusual one.

The decorative pots were mostly matched with flowering or deciduous trees.



And on we keep going!

The weather was perfect too.



There is a golf range to the left.  We did see one golf ball lying in the middle of a pathway.  Fore.


Jack talking to a local reporter from the television station.

Nice movement!


Some other pots I liked.







Broom style elm tree.  The pot was different.

The broom.

I'm not sure if Mr.Chen has much time to enjoy his garden.  He is the owner of a computer and technology company in Taiwan





We almost come full circle.  I put down my camera and decide to look more carefully at the trees.




The sun is going down and we are extending our welcome.  The guards begin looking agitated.


I take a few more photos as we are ushered towards the front gates.



This juniper is happily growing in the ground right beside the guard house.


Boh Tai Yuan translates into PEACEFUL JUNIPER GARDEN.


Seven is considered a lucky number in Taiwan.  Seven, seven doubles your luck.

And get out!  In the nicest possible tone.

It was an amazing garden - over whelming - surreal and awesome.  We didn't see Mr. Chen anywhere but I imagined him looking out through some window on the property and hopefully getting some satisfaction of 50 of us loving his trees.  Hopefully!  
Please visit my online pottery shop at AllinoneCeramics for handmade ceramic pieces.
I also have an etsy shop:  AllinOneCeramicsTW