This is the juniper as my student saw it in my nursery. As you can see in image 1 it is healthy and very dense. This is just raw material, and has many hidden possibilities. When looking at material like this, I encourage my students to get inside the tree and see what is going on underneath the blanket of foliage.
Just raising the foliage as in image 2 immediately reveals an interesting spiralling trunk.
Before we start any serious work on the tree, Richard gets to work cleaning the trunk and branches with water and tooth brush. At this point I have removed some branches which were hiding the trunk line out from the nebari and which also revealed the natural shari.
In this image, you can see from the two pegs in the pot that we have decided on a “front” or rather, preferred viewing angle for the tree. Also although we have removed some foliage, we have retained some branches and made some jin to give a more ancient feel and to create more areas of interest.
Here Richard is checking on the progress of his juniper. You can just make out that the jin are now wired and shaped.
Close up showing the work on the spiralling shari and the newly created jin.
At this point, I am taking Richard through the steps of structuring the juniper. If I was working on the tree for myself, I would not approach the juniper in this way. But when teaching, it is sometimes easier to break down the procedures into easy to follow steps.
You can now see the jin and shari created and how much I have removed both branches and foliage on the remaining lower branches ready for wiring.
You will notice the branches that will make the crown are at this point tied up out of the way. Once Richard understands how and why we have structured the bottom half of the tree, I will then take him through the final part, that of creating the crown. This will also mean more branch and foliage reduction.
This is the point we have reached in the first styling of this juniper.
It is far from finished. At this point, we have not concerned ourselves with getting a finished image. What was more important, was getting the structure of the tree correct from the outset. Like when you build a house you do the foundations first. This is the same principal, you could say we created the skeleton, and now we have to put the flesh on the bones.
Richard also needs to consider the new pot for the tree, but he has plenty of time to think about this as we now concentrate on the development of this promising little juniper.