At the same time that BSSF scheduled Matt for a demonstration for the Thursday general meeting, the club also scheduled him to do a group workshop on Saturday for six participants. That left Matt with nothing to do for Friday stuck in San Francisco. So, after the meeting was over on Thursday I asked him to work on a few of my trees.
I had commented to a couple friends that I seemed to be behind on my tree maintenance and wiring. I also had specifically left a couple trees to grow out in anticipation of the workshop that we had scheduled with Matt. As I thought about his skills and my own, I thought about my California juniper with grafted shimpaku foliage. I felt that I was able to style the tree initially to my satisfaction, but that in subsequent stylings I had struggled to get it to look as good because perhaps my experience with finely ramified shimpaku was insufficient.
I should mention that back in 2006 it was Boon who suggested the grafts and placed them – thus dictating the rough course to the initial styling of the tree. Boon’s abilities to develop stock into bonsai are quite good and I must thank him for this tree.
Matt took one look at the tree and said that he would be delighted to work on it. He made a sidelong wish that he could work on more mature specimen material here in the US. (If you have some, let him work on them! You wont be disappointed!)
It took Matt about three hours of thinning and styling to finish the tree. After he did, he asked me what I thought. At first I was a bit confused by the apex, having been so accustomed to the larger and more rounded style. But after a couple minutes of contemplation I was wholeheartedly onboard with the styling. Matt mentioned that for this tree, reducing the size of the pads and adding more levels of foliage makes it look more complex while also increasing the apparent age. My favorite bit is that the now-tiny apex seems to float like a little cloud above the rest of the foliage layers.
January 2015 Edit: Adding a shot of the side and back after the restyling.