Again, going back to January (before my latest surgery), I had the pleasure and privilege of taking a root stand carving workshop with Sean Smith. Sean is probably the pre-eminent Japanese woodcraft artist active in the bonsai community in the U.S. today. You know, I once knew a man with a wooden leg named Smith. I never asked him the name of his other leg. But I bet it was Sean who carved the wooden one.
The above pic is off his Facebook feed. The wood we used was mahogany. It’s a good carving wood in that it holds detail well but it is also brittle along the grain so you have to be careful making too skinny details horizontally (the grain is running up and down on these blanks).
Here’s my virgin wood.
This is an example of one of Sean’s own root stands.
And the term “root stand” is a misnomer really, obviously it’s not a root we are carving but the whole process and technique is called “root stand”. I’m sure that there are some that are actually roots but most you see are carved in a similar process.
Now, a little about Sean: he doesn’t just do root stands. He is a classically trained diaza carver.
That’s the base a suiseki sits on (a suiseki is a stone that tends to look mountain like or such. It’s a whole ‘nother art that requires a book to explain. Look it up). The stone above was featured in the 3rd annual Nippon Suiseki Exhibit at the Metroplitan Museum of Art in Tokyo. One of the only westerners to have that honor.
Sean also builds bonsai stands-
He is also an excellent bonsai artist.
He styles in a beautifully naturalistic (and classical) style that most modern bonsai artists have abandoned. He also likes to pose with his trees. If I worked on the trees he gets to work on, I would too.
Getting back to the class, here I am during it.
And after it was over. The group.
My stand, still not finished, very much in a state of abandonment.
Thank you for the class Sean, I learned a lot. I wish I had gotten to spend some more time with you after the class, see you soon.
If your club or convention is looking for a good hands on class, I recommend contacting Sean Smith. He has Diana carving classes, stand building classes, miniature tokanoma building classes (which is as cool as it sounds). You will not be disappointed.