What is Ikebana?
Ikebana is written in Japanese with two ideographs, 生 ike, from ikeru, to make live and 花 bana, from hana, flowers.
The English translation of Ikebana as “Japanese flower arranging” is rather misleading. Ikebana is much more than just putting beautiful flowers in a vase. It’s “making flowers come alive”. We cut flowers and branches and disconnect them from a perfect balance of nature. The touch of an Ikebana artist, his personal creative expression, philosophy and dexterity transforms flowers to a new form and presence. We give flowers a new life. The art of Ikebana like any Japanese art has its roots in Japanese religion, Buddhism and Shintoism, and as a result, the way Japanese regard nature.
What is Sogetsu School?
“Sogetsu Ikebana can be created any time, by anyone in any part of the world, and with any kind of material”, Akane Teshigahara.
Sogetsu (moon grass) School of Ikebana was founded in 1927 by Sofu Teshigahara and run today by his granddaughter Akane Teshigahara.
The school is deeply rooted in Japanese tradition yet meeting the requirements of the modern age. It is a major contemporary school of Ikebana with headquarters in Tokyo.
Sogetsu School took ikebana from Tokonoma (home alcove) to office buildings, department stores, streets and parks.
Sogetsu School has participants in 130 countries.
What is the concept of Sogetsu School?
The Sogetsu concept is mass, line and colour.
We create mass with flowers and lines with branches. Colour is one of the most magical aspects of ikebana: it has an emotional power and creates fascination.
How do I learn Ikebana?
It is advisable to take fortnightly lessons from qualified teachers. We teach strictly to Japanese curricula (text books). It is a 2 hour lesson “hands on” but you are expected to practise at home.
“If the hands are properly trained, they will take orders from your heart, remain steady and always work for you”
What is the Sogetsu School Curricula?
“In Sogetsu, Ikebana basics are learned through a method called Kakeiho. It is designed to familiarize you with various kinds of plants to understand their characteristics, and to learn the basic rules and techniques for composing shapes.”(Textbook1, p 3)
You have to master 19 styles (shapes) before creating free style ikebana.
Do I need special equipment?
You need Sogetsu text book, Suiban (flat dish), Kenzan (needle aid) and Hasami (scissors) which you can purchase from Japan through your teacher.
You have to select and bring your own material to your classes as part of your training.
How long does it take to learn Ikebana?
It depends on the time and effort you put in. Like any form of art it takes a life journey to develop dexterity and evolve as a true artist. But you will create beautiful Ikebana from your first lesson.
Can I become an Ikebana teacher?
You can study Ikebana just for pleasure or you can become a professional teacher qualified through Japan. It will take a few years of training.
Is Ikebana a female art?
“I began to learn the art of Ikebana having been invited by one of my students. I know, you are probably wondering why a middle-aged man would be doing this, but I am constantly discovering that I have much to learn still, and, it turns out that Ikebana was a tradition carried out by many strong historical males, samurai and Buddhist monks not just women!”
Tetsuta Watanabe PhD
What is the difference between Ikebana and western flower arrangements?
“Ikebana is simplicity of expression. It is not a good ikebana to stick too many flowers or branches into the vase. In ikebana we utilize every single leaf, branch and flower. Ikebana is an art of space – the space between branches, the space between flowers and leaves and the spaces between masses. This space is a plentiful void projecting tension and power.” (Sofu Teshigahara)
Ikebana is not just about flowers, it is about creating new forms, it is about love and the need to create forms, and it is about the person who arranged it.
“In Western flower arrangements there are many prima donnas, in Ikebana -just one” (anonymous Japanese Master)
If you have any other questions, would like to have a chat about learning Ikebana or would like to organize Ikebana demonstrations and workshops please get in contact.