If you have never attended a workshop before here is a bit of a checklist - not everything is essential but will end up quite useful.
TREE MATERIAL. This can be a raw unstyled suitable tree you may have already, a pre-trained piece of material or an existing bonsai you want to refine or even totally change. Often you will have a tree at home that has never quite reached its potential and these are perfect to bring along as a few new sets of eyes loooking at the tree can see styles that are overlooked. Choosing the right material for a workshop is the most important part - give yourself something to spend the day on to get the most from the day.
TOOLS. Depending on what tree you intend working on a few tools will be essential. They dont have to be expensive and you dont need every tool under the sun. Really the important ones are a sharp pair of scissors / pruners, a set of wire cutters and if you can, a concave cutter or knob cutter. This last tool will create hollow cuts that heal flat on the tree - a job that ordinary secateurs can never achieve. Other tools are optional and can be borrowed on the day from one of us
Turntable. Not essential but very usefull if your tree is large and heavy
Camera / sketch pad. Very useful and often overlooked. It is good to have pictures of 'before and after' to see the progression of your trees. A sketch pad can be used if you have a challenging piece of material and want to come up with a plan before cutting off important branches. If you have time taking some pictures, doing a sketch or making a photoshop virt before you come can save lots of time on the day
Wooden wedges. Quite often a change of trunk angle can transform a tree from boring to dynamic in one simple move. Using a couple of wedges under the pot to prop it gives the new angle to style the branches to, and if you keep the tree proped at this angle until repotting time the leaves and fine twigs will already be growing at the right level for the new design.
Extras you may need depending on the work you plan could be potting soil, pot mesh, a tray to keep your work area tidy, dustpan, brush, black sack, carving tools etc
The bonsai workshop.....a mixture of social event and an opportunity to get some tree work done with as much or as little help as you want.
Traditionally the club has a workshop with John Trott. This is a good time in Cornwall to do many major tasks - pruning, wiring, styling and i've even repotted a few trees before with no problems. We use the usual hall (see where we meet) on a Saturday or Sunday and try to limit the attendance to 14 or 15 people. Over the 6 to 7 hours there will be an opportunity to listen to Johns plans for each tree and to do a bit of work on them as well.
To offer more opportunity to work on trees Marcus will hold 2 workshops free to members, one in May and one in November..(Both are also open to non members for £25 pp) These are non club events but are put on to benefit the members and their trees
WIRE. It is very hard to create a convincing bonsai tree without some use of wire. Wiring is essential to steer branches and trunks in the direction you want, to shape the finer foliage and twigs into mature and pleasing shapes, and to pull down branches that rise up in a 'young tree' image. Initially aluminium wire is fine for all your trees, in time you may wish to invest in copper wire for pines and junipers as it does a much better job in the long term