Styling Competition Basics

By Rob Kempinski

Tips and Tricks

Rob shares his ideas on how to compete in a styling competition:

  1. Commit to the design.  
  2. Don’t need to use every branch
  3. Follow the basic rules, 
    • Left branch, then right or back branch – at least for the first 3 branches
    • Place first branch on left and right and have them come toward the front
    • Make the height of the tree match the trunk thickness
    • Place thicker branches down low
    • Select branches so they are closer together as you get to the apex
    • Make the spacing between branches gets closer as you approach the apex
    • Direct the apex so it points on same direction as the number one branch (usually)
    • Create a scalene triangle with the overall silhouette with the long leg going   with the number 1 branch 
  4. Show your skills so the judges can see what you can do 
    • Thin the foliage to the ends so you can make little upright pads
    • Make some dead branches (jins) that fit the design 
    • Place a dead strip along the trunk (shari)
    • Use good wiring technique on every branch
    • Use raffia to bend a heavy branch
    • Use a small torch to remove fuzzies on the dead wood (use a piece of wood or something to protect the live foliage form the heat)
    • Consider the planting angle – tweak it a bit
    • Try to avoid guy wires
  5. Practice, practice, practice wiring – this will be one of the big discriminators along with the design.

Bonsai Society of Brevard

For more detailed information contact our Brevard based Bonsai club.

The Bonsai Society of Brevard is one of the many clubs within the Bonsai Societies of Florida.