Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Bonsai! Badges! What we did in July.


Now let me cast my mind back to early July... what was up? What were we doing? I do remember the usual seasonal madness of 'school's out' and the general 'b***er it, it's July' feeling being heightened by the weird aftermath of the Brexit vote. There was a fair amount of debate / moaning / shock shared as we assembled in the hall, readying ourselves for the day's meeting and workshop. Luckily our frazzled nerves were to be soothed by a very calming agenda, namely learning about the beautiful art of bonsai trees and then crafting lovely brooches and badges with Jayne.

We were joined by Keith Martin, illustrious husband of our member Wendy and a bonsai tree enthusiast to boot. 'Bonsai' is the Japanese art of cultivating miniature trees in containers. Keith brought along a large sampling of his own collection, and talked us through the whys and wherefores of bonsai, knocking aside a few preconceptions in the process. Contrary to what many of us thought, there is nothing special or unusual about bonsai tree species or stock, so don't fall for internet 'bonsai kits' Keith warned us! They are simply grown from a cutting, seedling or small tree of any normal tree species that is suited to the process that the bonsai art form involves. The goal for the bonsai grower / practitioner is to cultivate a small tree that perfectly mimics the shape and style of a mature full-size tree, but in beautiful, miniature proportions, and the grower achieves this through ongoing close attention to the plant, using techniques like pruning, root reduction, defoliation etc...

Very contemplative, very zen, and no, I can't get the image of Mr Miyagi out of my head either. "The purposes of bonsai are primarily contemplation (for the viewer) and the pleasant exercise of effort and ingenuity (for the grower)." (thank you Wikipedia!) And thank you Keith for sharing the bonsai love with us.


The day was topped off with crafty loveliness and fun with Jayne. There was a choice of creating felt brooches and badges in a variety of cute and quirky designs, or continuing with the name badge project that was started in June (see the last post). As our group has expanded, and more new faces have joined, we've been confronted with the fact that it is sometimes impossible to remember everyone's names. So, rather than continue with calling everyone Kate or Claire (which does yield some success!) we decided we needed some shiny new name badges to wear at our meetings. Jayne brought in her usual vast array of tempting crafty supplies, tips and tricks, and we all had carte blanche to make as we pleased... pictures please!



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