We have a lot of work in TORA International bonsai school this days! Students are coming, new and old trees are coming, so we are not bored! Some trees were cleaned and prepared for winter: this is Japanese white pine from Tomaž's collection. We cleaned all dead needles, cut some dead branches and turned them in to jins, we also added some wire on branches that weren't wired yet. The elegant tree is now in order again!
We also cut all the wire off on this Hinoki cypress, then cleaned all dead leaves and made some empty spaces in the crown. We let the sun and air in!
Furthermore we prepared a lot of new trees for future styling. Many times it is impossible to style the tree from start to finish in one step. If we over do it, the tree could die. This is often the case on demonstrations, when demonstrators are forced to complete their jobs. But in school we never put trees in risk. Instead we prepare trees even several seasons for final styling. There are two examples: first is Juniper, which will be styled in to nice cascade. But for now we just cut all branches that we'll not need. We cut more then half of green mass, so we decided that that is enough for one step. Now the tree will rest for one growing season, new shoots will grow and then the tree will be ready for final styling.
The same case with this Mugo pine. We select branches and did some major bendings to create main line. Next step will be done probably in one year time, if the pine will be ready.
This small Mugo was styled a little further, but we didn't wired all branches. We just created the main line and put the main branches in to position. The wiring was done by Tomaž R. Now the tree will rest.
There is another example - we prepared this Spruce this spring, tree rested during summer, Marko did take a great care about it, and now was ready for final styling:
Spruce as arrived to the studio, May 2014
May 2014, first step, we cut some branches and wired the main cascading branch
October 2014: Marco giving the final touch after first styling
So, in my opinion, is very important to prepare the tree for the styling. Also, some times, the tree doesn't allow us to style it all the way: maybe the branches are too long, or some thing else is the problem. And because there is no shortcuts in bonsai, one must wait. If we force the styling, we may create a pleasant silhouette, but the structure of the branches usually isn't good. And with that mistake we could ruin the tree ...