Arrangement in Japanese Room by Okamoto Seishu
Be it ever so humble.......
Yes, I'm back home enjoying catching up with friends and family and playing with my new containers.
Getting back home was not easy and I was very grateful to have Lucy with me to share the load. And what a load it was! Between us we had 10 items of luggage, not including our handbags, weighing more than 120 kilos. It took us an entire day to pack, weighing each item to make sure it did not exceed the limit but we were still over, so we had to send a large parcel home by post. When my husband, Sam met us at the airport he was horrified at the sight of our trolleys. Two bags were dropped but you'll all be pleased to know that no containers were harmed.
Having skipped ahead with my previous blog, now I'll back track a little in my next couple posts to fill you in on my final classes and goodbyes.
When Lucy arrived I was all set to show her some sights. So we went to Omote Sando, a fabulous shopping street, which Lucy, the shopping queen, appreciated, stopped at a French cafe and whilst enjoying our Lates al fresco, we watched this gorgeous busker.
Then walked to nearby Nezu Museum. This was my second visit to this small but important museum. I took Vicky and Peter there at the end of April when irises were about to bloom and it was the time of year that the museum bring out and display antique screens with paintings of irises. When we walked through the exquisite gardens in April there was only one early iris bud in the pond and I captured it.
In June, unfortunately they had all finished but we enjoyed walking slowly through the rest of the gardens.
Come Monday morning we arrived at Sogetsu headquarters for International class. By this stage I knew all the regular students and when I introduced Lucy to them they greeted her warmly as did all the staff. The theme was 'Freestyle Arrangemen' which Lucy did. As for me, after I picked my materials, Suisen Tagaki sensei suggested I do an 'Arrangement without kenzan'. Such an arrangement is hard to move to a place where it can be photographed properly and I was not happy with the shot I took, so I'm not including it here.
Lucy did this lovely freestyle using alliums and variegated leaves, which sensei praised highly.
Below is sensei's freestyle arrangement using three large leaves and two containers.
The next day we attended an Iemoto class in which we had the pleasure of Iemoto's presence. The theme was 'Ikebana with Green/Various Lines'. Below are Iemoto's demonstrations of the two themes.
As this was the last time I would be seeing Iemoto, I took the opportunity to thank her and to take this much prized photograph with her.
Lucy and I chose the 'Various Lines' theme and ran with it. Lucy used two large palm leaves which she halved then thinned out creating space between the remaining leaves. She used red willow for straight lines and a mass of the fine willow stems at the bottom. Iemoto called it a beautiful arrangement and commented on all the different features especially the mass at the bottom.
As for me, I remembered Tamae-san's suggestion of using challenging materials and picked Meadowsweet and bulrushes. I stripped the leaves and flowers of the Meadowsweet leaving just a few at the ends then curved them and caught them at the openings of the container. I wired three bulrushes and bent them to the back, then bent them again to come forward through the Meadowsweet. Again, Iemoto was very kind in her critique pointing out that I created my own lines and that keeping a small amount of flowers and leaves she felt was exactly right.
Lucy and I were very keen to have some private lessons with Kawana sensei but his schedule only allowed for two, the first of which was straight after the Iemoto class. So we packed up quickly and grabbed a cab to Mita where he holds classes above a florist shop.
The atmosphere here was a lot less formal and, judging by the chatter and laughter between the other students and Kawana sensei, it was also very friendly. We were made to feel very welcome and even though we could not communicate with the students, their Japanese hospitality kicked in and they ran around getting us tea, biscuits and anything else we needed.
Kawana sensei runs his classes a little differently to others I've attended. We were given a bunch of two or three different materials and we were to use them and only them to create freestyle arrangements one after the other. It's up to the individual how many are made as there is no time limit for each and everyone works at their own pace. It's a terrific challenge and by the end of the four hour lesson, we had a much better understanding of each material. Oh, and by the way, Kawana sensei's corrections and suggestions - PRICELESS!
I wanted to include the photos of our work despite the poor quality because I think it's interesting to see just what can be done this way. Below are my five arrangements in the order I made them.
I made this arrangement without a kenzan with this view as the front and, when I finished, Kawana sensei asked me to look at it from the other side. Clearly, a better view as the front.
In the above arrangement, I originally had the two flax leaves resting on the table. Kawana sensei suggested I lift them to appear to be floating. This was the end result.
Below are Lucy's four, again in the order she made them.
And to finish off a most satisfying and productive ikebana filled day, Kawana sensei invited us to join him and the other students for their regular after class drinks and dinner. We went to a nearby restaurant that specializes in chicken cooked in various Japanese styles. The photos below show our very happy group.
The following week we had another such class, just as productive and satisfying but I won't include photos here.
Until next time,