I’m back to Ikebana life. It’s not that I ever stop doing it but rather going back to teaching, preparing for workshops, booking demonstrations, testing some materials.
On Feb 19 I ran a workshop for Sogetsu members.
The topic was based on 50 Principles of Ikebana, No 48: “Remember there are always new, surprising themes and approaches to arranging ikebana”
I was trying to demonstrate the process of searching for a new expression using the same material in two identical but different coloured containers.
Material: Persimmon branch, Aralia leaves.
Container: modern metal vase
In my 1st ikebana I inserted Persimmon branch into the vase than added Aralia leaves at the top and bottom of the container. To add colour I lightly sprayed Aralia leaves with red paint.
In my 2nd ikebana I used a down stick technique-Tate-no-Soegi-dome, split the top of it, and inserted a Persimmon branch into the split. I utilized the freshness quality of the fruiting branches to use them without water (you have to strip off leaves). This technique allows you to see the beautiful line of the branch.
Ikebana means not just to arrange flowers but rather transform and create.
I decided to transform Aralia leaf showing its beautiful veins. It looks more natural if you tear off the leaf rather than cut it with scissors. I decided to use just one leaf.
We can often find novel, unexpected materials but also to create the extraordinary from the simple beauty of plant material.
I noticed a lot of changes in Ikebana during my Japanese study at Sogetsu headquarters. Nothing stands still and it’s only logical that Ikebana changed over the years. Although we still admire old masters like Sofu , Kasumi, Hiroshi Teshigahara, Norman Sparnon and many others, we have to admit the change.
I was trained by Theresa Feile who was trained by Norman Sparnon in the seventies. New techniques, new materials, new expressions were discovered since.
Practitioners use more fresh plants materials. Perhaps it’s Western influence but it’s still Ikebana impression based on a strong basic core.
Every class the Master Instructors start from Basic Moribana or Nageiri.
Try to create with more than one branch and one flower, use multiples of fresh materials in one expression, and discover new forms. It’s challenging but rewarding.