My Frustration with Iwagumi-like Styles

Silister Trench

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Iwagumi layouts are almost always immediately captivating or numbingly lackluster, seldom in the middle. The reveal of a bad one is a lot like biting into an apple with the expectation of sweet, yet feeling the dry bitterness of something sour before taste catches up. The sour visual we notice before our eyes have a chance to pinpoint the origin is almost always the father-stone. Whether it's a lack of detail or poor position, the main stone will either sweeten or sour the layout right away.

- That's my Frustration with Iwagumi.

* * * *

I always have a hard time finding that one perfect stone (the one that doesn't exist) to draw the image together, and here's yet another take where I just can't find the one I need. This is my "Sandbox", where ideas go to die - sometimes! I had several panes of tempered glass that I didn't know what to do with, so I siliconed them together and made some sort of play area... then after realizing I didn't have a great place to actually put 100lbs of hardacape and sand in a glass container I had to make a stand for it, and inside is a layout I fiddle with every few weeks for the last few months.

The sandbox is 23 in x 19 in x 23 in. L x W x H.
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Coradee

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You have such a great eye for ‘scaping, what you may think are lacklustre to me are stunning I’ve seen your ‘scaping threads!
 
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Silister Trench

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Thank you very much, Coradee!

There's definitely a bit of luck, sometimes. Haha! Sometimes you happen across a beautiful bit of hardacape that drags the image in your mind out from its dark corner and into reality rather effortlessly.

This is definitely a luck design - when you just find those great pieces that makes it incredibly hard to 'scape badly.

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Silister Trench

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Question for anyone/everyone: should I keep going for a iwagumi-like layout, or spiderwood? The spiderwood may look better in the photo, but the iwagumi-like design is nowhere near what it would look like when complete. I have 20 lbs or more of stone to place in it. Doing a design like the spiderwood means I'd have to figure out how in the heck you'd clean that design in under 3 hrs so BBA doesn't cover all the wood over time. Haha! I can usually get maintenance done on all five of my aquascapes (clean glass, hardacape, trim plants, W/C) in 1.5 hours, but my spiderwood design looks like it would take 2-3x that amount of time by itself..
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Mcasella

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The spiderwood version looks like a dead tree on a mountain top, very pleasing visually. The just rocks one seems to not be quite tall enough to create the same effect.
Probably a sharper/jutting piece near right center that towers over the others would make the look just so.
 

scarface

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I'm with Mcasella. I like the height the wood gives to the overall 'scape that the rocks lack. My opinion might differ on the iwagumi once planted and established (that is, if you decide to stick with it).
 
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Silister Trench

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Mcasella said:
The just rocks one seems to not be quite tall enough to create the same effect.
Probably a sharper/jutting piece near right center that towers over the others would make the look just so.
You're absolutely correct. The rock layout is only about half as tall in the above photo as it would be when done. Currently 9" tall, and when finished I'd need to build it to at least 16". That doesn't sound like such a big problem - just add more rocks, duh... - I haven't found one that's not only big enough to be stable, but also has a similar appearance. Building that tall with heavy stones is one landslide away from a broken tank.

Mcasella said:
The spiderwood version looks like a dead tree on a mountain top, very pleasing visually.
This right here - this made my day! And here's why, the spider wood is too large to go into the sandbox (or the tank I was planning for) in any other position than how it is set in the photo. When I was messing with it before I added the stone my exact thought was "kinda looks like the roots of an uprooted tree" so I kept adding pieces of wood to enhance this dead structure look. For me, I have to give myself a reason why I placed something the way I did, why it should resemble nature, or how it might end up in a position based on natural elements. I imagined this uprooted system of twisted roots having come to rest this way because of a rock slide on the mountain this tree had grown from, which is why these very textured mountain stone came to rest at the entangled tree roots, where maybe the stones [naturally] should be weathered smoother from the ice melt flowing down the mountain to where the tree grew. The plants I imagined using for the layout would be very bright and colored with spring growth because it makes sense that a rock slide should happen as it warms and ice melts.

This made my day because it means my ideas, or thoughts, do translate visually at times.
 

Mcasella

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Silister Trench said:
You're absolutely correct. The rock layout is only about half as tall in the above photo as it would be when done. Currently 9" tall, and when finished I'd need to build it to at least 16". That doesn't sound like such a big problem - just add more rocks, duh... - I haven't found one that's not only big enough to be stable, but also has a similar appearance. Building that tall with heavy stones is one landslide away from a broken tank.



This right here - this made my day! And here's why, the spider wood is too large to go into the sandbox (or the tank I was planning for) in any other position than how it is set in the photo. When I was messing with it before I added the stone my exact thought was "kinda looks like the roots of an uprooted tree" so I kept adding pieces of wood to enhance this dead structure look. For me, I have to give myself a reason why I placed something the way I did, why it should resemble nature, or how it might end up in a position based on natural elements. I imagined this uprooted system of twisted roots having come to rest this way because of a rock slide on the mountain this tree had grown from, which is why these very textured mountain stone came to rest at the entangled tree roots, where maybe the stones [naturally] should be weathered smoother from the ice melt flowing down the mountain to where the tree grew. The plants I imagined using for the layout would be very bright and colored with spring growth because it makes sense that a rock slide should happen as it warms and ice melts.

This made my day because it means my ideas, or thoughts, do translate visually at times.
You can silicone them in place to achieve the look you want without the danger of shattering?

More like the scraggly remains of a tree that tried to grow too far where it shouldn't have and the wind and weather wore it down to nothing leaving it barren where someone might stumble upon it and look in wonder at nature and its power.
Smaller green growth would work, would a seasonal type plant (one that can go red?) work so you can make it look like it is going from spring to fall? Without the winter look though. Creeping through the edges of the spiderwood and around the rocks so fade into the background would give in some more depth.
 
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