Ikebana Floral Demonstration ~ Sogetsuryu ~
Ikebana (the Japanese art of flower arrangement)? You may think that Ikebana is a full-fledged and esoteric art for beginners. It may be true that the greatest creations are apt to be made by the most highly skilled experts, but there is plenty of room for amateurs if only acquire basic skills and useful tips!
On May 31st, 27 participants joined the ICT workshop, where we all got some sufficient knowledge and the general of the history about Ikebana, and more enjoyed an amazing floral performance in the second half of the workshop.
First, our special instructor, Mrs. Mika Otani who is a certified Ikebana instructor (1st grade professor), lectured about “what is Ikebana?” with pictures and her detailed explanations. Ikebana, as we would recognize it, first appeared in the Muromachi Period (from the late 14th century to the mid-16th century). It was getting popular by the shoguns and daimyo, and some artists concentrated on flower arrangement and produced a style, based on a standing branch in the center of the vase called “立華" Tatebana”, which being placed in the 床の間 “Tokonoma”.
千利休の茶花 “Senno Rikkyu's chabana” (simplified flower arrangements for tea rooms) jumped from the samurai warrior class to townsman or urban merchant culture. After that, a new highly symbolic style Seika (or Shoka) appeared, which was based a triangular framework, 天・地・人
“ten-chi-jin”; a different way of saying heaven, human and earth.
*e.g. 門松 “Kadomatsu” (a traditional Japanese decoration of the New Year) is similar to several traditions of Ikebana, the shoots are set at different heights and represent heaven, human and earth (basic upright style) with heaven being the highest and earth being the lowest.
Afterwards, Mika san started Ikebana demonstration using unique containers from Kenzan (needlepoint holder) to different-sized glass containers (e.g. wine glass, sake bottle, test tubes and much more). Her performance cutting branches and just simply putting flowers in a container was seemingly easy, but all her works were very fine balance and well-harmonized color arrangement!
Any plant material -- branches, leaves, grasses, stems, moss, and fruit -- can be used, as well as flowers. She told us that Ikebana was its asymmetrical form and the use of empty space on purpose as an essential feature of the composition.
Most of the guests paid rapt attention to her beautiful performance, but they luckily learned some unique techniques and tips (e.g. how to arrange/fix the branches and stems with wire/stapler) that are versatile and changeable to decorate your home.
Lastly, the beauty of Ikebana is in the total form of the arrangement, not just color combinations or the selection of different kinds of materials. Ikebana can inspire you to identify with beauty in all art forms, and give us a chance to how to arrange our living where nature and humanity are brought together. Moreover, Ikebana is not only creative expression within certain rules of construction, but a mirror of what we feel and what we are. We sure to enjoy developing technical skills combines materials to create a kind of beauty, and then the arrangement may help you to find out the depth of your feeling and minds.
(Posted by Tsubasa Kato)