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A Quieter Tree & a Smaller House

03/28/19

I've long appreciated the subtlety of Michael Hagedorn's bonsai. Michael tends to avoid flash and overstatement, even in some of his crazy experimental stuff.* Here's Michael's caption for this understated bonsai... "Japanese Maple ‘Beni-Kawa’ with an unusual pot choice, an unglazed brown."

Here’s Michael in his own words (from his blog)…
The decision was to show off the reddish rose of the branches and trunks, to have that be the focus. Often a key tree color is balanced by the opposing color on the color wheel—in this case, the pot would have a green glaze. By NOT going that route we have a quieter tree, with the focus on one simple color. The matte, medium brown clay of the pot recedes leaving the trunk and twig color as highlight.
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I cropped Michael's original for a closer look at some detail, like the fine branching or the multiple colors on the trunks. Or even the hairs on the moss

Michael continued from above…
Pot choice is an opportunity. See it as a chance to support what you most want to show in the tree. If what you wish to show off is color, often the way to do that is to stay close on the color wheel to the color you wish to show off. In this case, red (color to show off) and brown (supporting color).

The bonsai guidelines of balancing a color with its opposite are fine and useful, and often allow for jazzy results. Yet these guidelines may be sidestepped on clear purpose.
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-Michael's little house in his backyard (his apprentices live in the big house). "Kanso means ‘elemental and natural, free of non-essentials’---a good name for this tiny home which I built in 2017. And the flowers are nice."

*If you spend some time on Michael’s blog you’ll see what I mean by ‘crazy experimental stuff.’ For example… HERE and HERE

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