Twisted Shohin Itoigawa

Truth be told, it’s probably close to an inch too tall to be Shohin, but I’m working on that. I bought it from Bjorn in March 2014, when we drew some Shari and created some Jins, and then repotted it:

I let it grow for the rest of 2014:

Then wired it out in early 2015:

The apex was a bit pointed and too tall. But, not a bad start. In May 2016, I showed it at our Alabama Bonsai Society’s Spring Show like this:

Kathy Shaner was the judge, and made the following comments about the tree in her critique of the trees in the show:

And a few weeks later, I had the opportunity to work with Kathy on this tree. She had me spend time separating some of the places where the trunk had been doubled back on itself, cleaning up the sharis and then we started on the apex. I had split trunks of Shimpaku junipers with her before, but since this tree was small, I wasn’t fully confident in how it would turn out.

But she is a master and I am a student, so this is where we ended up. I let it grow for a couple seasons after this, not exactly liking the result. The tree also grew stronger on the right than on the left. I’m not sure why, unless it has to do with sun exposure. I turned the tree 180 degrees to get the weak left side into more sun for a few months, but it didn’t really help.

Finally, in December 2018, I decided to prune and wire it again. Here is where it started:

To compact the design, I started by shortening long growth:

Then removed juvenile and weak growth from the crotches.

Then wiring branches into position:

And finally, tightening it up a bit more with some guy-wires:

Here is a shot after the work was finished:

And a series of the development:

Next steps are to let the apex fill in, and to continue working on the shari.

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