Wire tree sculpture is nothing new. The use of wire in jewelry design is well known. However, when bonsai hobbyists get involved, it takes a beautifully unique 'twist.'
In July 2015, I saw a post by Tony Tickle showing a wire tree sculpture purchased by his friend Bryan Dillon. It was amazing. I immediately wrote to the artist Jun Navarro in the Philippines, and asked how he got started creating his wire trees.
His response was a bit surprising.
"For me, it's just a coincidence.
"... I was looking for some websites ... for real bonsai and how to take care of them ... on your website for the first time, I saw Ken To's Bonsai Tree and I was inspired ... That was the start for me ..."
Although Jun is relatively new to the technique, he seems to be mastering it with ease.
You can see the amazing detail in this close-up picture.
I asked about the green coloring.
Jun told me "It's green florist's wire with a little paint to make them more realistic, based on real bonsai."
You can contact him and see more of Jun's work on Facebook
How did Matthew Gollop, who resides in the beautifully wooded landscape of Norfolk, England get started?
"Although I have spent over 30 years on this earth, it has only come to my attention the beauty and strength of trees.
"Once awakened to such a thing you start spotting them everywhere, gentle giants which we share the planet with.
"This all started when I was at a meal and fiddling with a muselet from a champagne bottle (the wire which holds the cap on.) Without thinking, I began to bend the wire and tree to make a tree out of it.
"After almost killing myself with a spool of galvanized steel, I promptly ordered aluminum craft wire in, and set to work making trees."
This close-up shows how Matthew uses wire to smoothly create beautiful jins and shari on his bonsai.
You can see more of Matthew's designs on his Facebook page!
When I contacted Ken for his story, this is what he had to say.
“I made my first tree during Christmas of 2007 as a gift for my wife. In February of 2010, I made my wife a second tree for Valentine’s Day.
"My technique had improved by then but I still didn’t have the right wire. I finally found the perfect one for my needs and started making the trees.
(I always do things in abundance when I’m learning something.)
"It was the same as when I first learned bonsai, I knew the only way to get better was through perpetual practice.”
Notice Ken's tiny bonsai containers.
Many of them are from Jim Barrett, well known California bonsai potter (especially famous for his quality shohin and mame bonsai pots.)
“Just as it is in bonsai, it takes a lot of time and practice to understand the material and respect it.
While my passion is still with live bonsai trees, these help me hone my styling skills and I never get bored learning anything related to bonsai.”
Ben is a "handyman, artist/sculptor, guitarist, singer, composer, motorcycle tourer, and professionally a Nurse," who lives on the Philippines.
Ben enjoys working with wire tree sculpture and said "I believe I pioneered the waterfall effect."
His fellow wire artists give him full credit!
This is another of Ben's trees. This one, without water, is equally beautiful.
You can see more photos on his Facebook page.
While Tony Tickle (British bonsai artist) was giving programs in Israel (Jerusalem Botanical Gardens bonsai exhibit 2012), he met Amihay Yehizkiyahu. 'Ami' had some of his wire tree sculpture in the exhibit.
I was charmed by his lighthearted creativity! His scenes include trees, people and animals. No doubt, Ami has a great sense of humor.
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Craftsy sent me a copy of this class to review. I was very impressed, became an affiliate and do receive a small commission on purchases. (Which helps support this site.)
Know the basics? Ready for more?
Watch these amazing Colin Lewis bonsai class videos