Note: This post was written in March 2018. I had not published it yet because I wanted to wait until the stand made its appearance at the US National Bonsai Exhibition. I withdrew my entry in 2018 due to freeze damage, and the 2020 show was postponed until 2021. So this post sat in my “Drafts” folder for over 3.5 years. There are others in that folder…but for now, let’s look at this David Knittle table.
I have seen several of David’s tables at Nationals, and a couple in our local club. He is definitely a craftsman, who isn’t afraid to challenge the very traditional “norms” of display tables. Back in 2016, I decided to prepare my Japanese Black Pine for entry in the 2018 US Nationals. I knew it would need a table that elevated the tree so it wouldn’t be lost among the Goliaths that have appeared over the last few shows. I also thought a 3-point display would help the overall effect, and I had been growing a root-over rock trident maple for 10 years, over a rock I picked up somewhere in Washington state back in 1996. The two trees look good together.
As it worked out, Bill’s call for entries in 2018 was for smaller trees, fewer junipers, more refinement, more root over rocks, and more cascades. Good fortune.
In June of 2017 I began working with David on some ideas for a table for the pine. I had some ideas in mind, but I also didn’t want to limit David’s creativity. We agreed on dimensions rather quickly. The pot is an antique Chinese pot; narrow from front to back, so the table would be 22″ x 14″ x 13″ high. The height of the table would make the height of the overall display 34″ tall.
I also wanted to use a live edge element in the table, but since the tree and pot are rather formal, I wanted at least one corner of the table to be finished, and not live, with the live edge continuing the line in the foot of the pot.
This table, by David, belongs to John Kirby, and was displayed under a massive Juniper. It is beautiful, but the live edge was more even and predictable than the image I was trying to achieve.
Here is another David table, this one is maple. The live edge is definitely wilder, and it has a finished corner to the right:
So, with those discussions complete, I didn’t bug David much over the next 6 months. And then one frigid day in January , it arrived.
Here is the table, paired with the pine for the first time:
And another shot adding the ROR trident:
The dimensions are perfect, and the live edge is special. It plays well with the pot, but what I didn’t expect, and you can’t see from the front-on shots, is the fact that the live edge is not concave, but a peninsula. It took me a minute to wrap my head around it, but I couldn’t stop admiring it, which meant it was something special.
David was a bit cryptic about this, and only told me he had some ideas, and was finding just the right pieces of wood for the live edge. And then he went dark, until it was time to ship, but then all he told me was he would send me photos of the build after I had a chance to see the table in person. Intrigued? I sure was. So here it is:
What do you think?
Here are the shots he sent me of the build:
So, after a long wait, the stand is finally on display in NY.