Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Hello all,

Today I'm writing from my sick bed, or rather, 'sick couch' where I'm reclining, with feet elevated, whilst recuperating from surgery to my feet. This will be the status quo for several weeks, which means I will be very limited in what I can do, including ikebana. However, I have photos of some work I did in the past two weeks that I can share with you.

Below are two views of a Christmas table arrangement using gold wire, mahonia leaves, a rose and two dogwood flowers.

My stelitzias are in full bloom and had to be used. This is a case of 'The embarrassment of riches'.

Wall arrangement using strelitzias, young gyamea lily leaves and the mitsumata I used in Japan and then sent to my self by mail.

This arrangement using strelitzias and New Zealand flax is 1.5metres in height. However, the flowers were much taller and had to be cut down for the proportions with the container.

In this Christmas arrangement, I also used strelitzias with pine, gold wire and baubles.

Here I used the superfluous pine needles that I removed from the pine branch in the previous arrangement with two agapanthus buds that I 'encouraged' to bend.

Because I hate throwing away anything potentially useful, I had to find a new way to use the rest of pine needles from the previous arrangement and I came up with this weird 'UFO' creation.

And speaking of 'the embarrassment of riches', my agapanthus, of which I have many, are bursting into flower. I've been out in the garden tying down many of the buds whilst they are soft and pliable, which then grow with curved and twisted stems. I used 3 twisted buds together with 2 fully open flowers and a piece of weeping mulberry for the above arrangement.

Bye for now,

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Hello all,
I can't believe that two weeks have passed already since my last posting. It seems time is accelerating at such a pace that I can hardly keep up, especially heading towards Christmas.

We recently had an interesting theme for class. My student Aurelia Dong brought in four paintings made by her mother, Shijing Zhao, an accomplished artist, who worked with calligraphy brushes.  Some of my senior students and I made an arrangement each referencing one of the paintings. Unfortunately, because of the glass on the frames, the photographs do not show the true beauty of the work. 

Working with such beautiful works of art was an enjoyable and inspirational experience and we are all grateful to Aurelia for making her treasures available to us.

                   Vicky Kalokathis

                                                                                         Lucy Papas


Bredenia Raquel

Margaret Wilson

                                                                                                                                                   Emily Karanikolopoulos                       

Lucy Papas

                                                                                                                                                                                   Emily Karanikolopoulos                                                                                                                  

For my lesson with Elizabeth last week, our theme was 'Roses'. I made this arrangement using two glass containers. In the lower bowl I placed red roses in a circle and in the upper decanter I placed stems with leaves up-side-down. I call it the 'Morticia' arrangement.

Last Monday I ran a workshop for our sogetsu group with the theme 'Ikebana for gift giving'. I made six different arrangements, as examples, using a variety of different containers. For the workshop we all used Oasis (florists' foam) in small, ceramic bowls. We tried to create works that would travel well with materials that would last. Below are my six pieces, which passed the 'portability' test because they traveled safely to the workshop and then back home again. 

You can see more photos from the workshop in a slide-show if you click on our Sogetsu link.

I leave you with a couple of miniature arrangements that I enjoyed playing with.
Bye for now,

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Hello all,

I was very saddened to hear of yet another loss to our little community in the recent passing of Brenda Thorpe, one of our founding members. Brenda contributed a lot to ikebana over the years but most especially during the time that our Ikebana International Group was exhibiting in Daimaru department store. We will miss her.

Julie Alston was another member, who passed away on 12th June 2013. As per her wishes, her funeral was a very private affair, which meant that none of us was able to attend. Recently, her family, very generously, made available to the ikebana community Julie's containers. Those of my students who bought containers and I, thought it would be a fitting tribute to Julie for each of us to do an arrangement in a container that once belonged to her. I believe she would have been happy to see the work that was done in her containers. 

 Janette Fonda
         Monstera leaves and Viburnam opulus          

Helen Novic
Loquats and succulent

Lucy Papas
Strelitzia leaves

                                                          Vicky Kalokathis
                                     Agapanthus leaves and geranium

Bredenia Raquel
Willow and spuria iris

Emily Karanikolopoulos
Stripped conifer, loquats and alstroemeria leaves

The branch that  I used in the above arrangement is the same
one I used in the arrangement on the left, which I did on 28th
August. It was still green when I stripped it to use again.

On the 30th October, I did a demonstration for The Floral Art Association of Victoria. Those of you who have read my last blog can be forgiven if you are a little confused because I then wrote about my demonstration for the Victorian Floral Art Association. They are, in fact, two different groups.

It was an East Meets West theme, with three senior floral artists demonstrating three very different but equally pleasing arrangements as set out below.

Barbara Maier

Norma Bathie

Janet Alesich

Then we enjoyed a delicious, east-meets-west supper followed by my ikebana demonstration of seven arrangements. My student, Nicole McDonald, was my very capable assistant for the evening, fetching and carrying materials and containers. For me, it was a very pleasant evening because I was doing what I love best in front of a very receptive and appreciative audience.

Again, I recreated my arrangements at home for the purpose of photographing them against a blank background, which would have been impossible on the night of the demonstration.

Using two containers - a glass decanter inside a ceramic bowl with two holes. Hippeastrum, watsonia and nandina flowers

Birds nest fern and spuria iris

A single philodendron leaf

An experiment with cutting and re-joining this palm spade. Strelitzia and alstroemeria leaves

Quintessential ikebana - a flag iris arrangement

Stripped wisteria vines and spuria iris

Pine, altissimo roses, iceberg roses and mizuhiki
(A little early for Christmas but I couldn't resist)

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Hello once again.

On the 15th October I had the pleasure of demonstrating for the Victorian Floral Art Assoc. Inc.'s AGM. I always enjoy demonstrating for this group because they make me feel very welcome and seem appreciative of my work. Also, because they are experienced floral artists themselves, they understand what's needed for a demonstration and they provide everything without my having to ask.

On the day, I had Vicky Kalokathis, who is my sister as well as my student, assisting me. After some coaxing, I managed to convince her to demonstrate one arrangement and here she is with her piece. She used watsonias, which are growing wild near a creek and some common weeds to create this light, pleasing arrangement.

I demonstrated seven arrangements and the ones that photographed best, I've included here.

Corky elm, anthuria and iris leaves

Fishbone fern and roses

 Haemanthus lily leaf and Strelitzia Reginae

Mahonia and roses
Loquat stem and dutch iris

As I could not take photographs myself, when I got home I recreated the arrangements so that I may photograph them properly. To those that attended the event, I apologize if there are some small differences from the original but, I'm sure, you know that we can never recreate perfectly something we've done before.

The loquat branch in the tall black vase has been reused a number of times with different flowers in this wall container. And it is still as fresh as the day I cut it.

The Floral Art Society of Victoria Inc. has paid me the great honour of asking me to set up a large ikebana arrangement as part of an event that is taking place this weekend at the Herbarium, Royal Botanic Gardens.

The Royal Horticultural Society of Victoria is celebrating its 165th birthday with the launch of the book - 'A Seed is Planted: A History of the Royal Horticultural Society of Victoria'. There is an exhibition of floral art from the Victorian era to today by the Floral Art Society of Victoria and my piece is the ikebana component.

1880's English influence
Barbara Maier

1950's and 1960's
Myrna Demetriou

1964-2014 representing ikebana
Emily Karanikolopoulos

1970's and 1980's Japanse influence
Norma Bathie

Norma Bathie

Janet Alesich

Spring would not be the same without at least one iris arrangement in the traditional style as has been taught to us over the years by Theresa Feile, one of our founding members.

So I leave you with this photograph until next time.