Saturday, 29 March 2014

Hello all,
I've had a week without classes and I took the opportunity to do a little sight seeing down south. First to Okayama, then Naoshima and Hiroshima. The JR pass, that everyone recommended I buy, came in very handy. But, I must say, as efficient as the Japanese Rail system is, it is very tiring going to and from stations and from platform to platform in the huge stations pulling along my luggage. It was worth the effort, however, and I feel the richer for having taken the trip.

I was very keen to visit Naoshima but I had mixed feelings about Hiroshima. I felt it would be too distressing to be faced with the devastation that was caused there. And it was. But there was also a feeling of hope that humanity will not allow this to happen again. And seeing the bustling modern city that has been built out of the ashes was uplifting.

Below are three examples of the art on Naoshima Island.

Thursday morning I attended my second class, the theme for which was, again, 'You in Ikebana'. I should explain briefly how the classes are run. There are two themes - one for senior students and one for those following the curriculum in the books. Students come in and set up their work, then the  instructor for the lesson demonstrates both themes. She then goes around the room critiquing each arrangement. In both classes I attended, the instructors spent a lot of time with each student, but sadly, it was all in Japanese. Except, of course for the non Japanese speakers, where the interpreter steps in to help.

For my arrangement I chose Gloriosa lilies and birds nest fern, both of which I grow in my garden and am familiar with but have never used together.

I used two triangular containers, the second of which is not shown in the photograph, and brought the fern from the back over the top of the front container, which holds the lilies. It's the same old problem with photos - we lose the depth. (For the critique, the teacher commented that the curved line of the leaf was 'very beautiful' and contrasted very well with the straight line of the lilies. she made one suggestion - because I'd used two containers, a smaller leaf could be placed at the back for balance. I did this but, unfortunately it doesn't show on the photograph.

Bisen Sumide San was the teacher and she was excellent. She handled the material for her demonstration of Variation No 6 horizontal nageire with expert hands bending and placing with ease. I fear the photographs don't do justice to the work.

Her second demonstration was for the theme 'You in Ikebana' and for this she used a fabulous container made by Iemoto Hiroshi with six openings. I have to admit I salivated a bit when I saw it. And Sumide San used it to best effect. She did a lovely spring arrangement in it.

Sayonara for now, Emily

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