Monday, 25 August 2014

Om swastyastu from Bali.

I'm writing this blog whilst sitting by the pool in a hotel in Denpasar. Sam and I arrived here three days ago in desperate need of some R&R knowing, that unless we went away, we would not be able to rest. I left the writing of the blog for when I got here because there was absolutely no time to do it at home.

So, here we are at the beautiful Chedi hotel in Sakala. Being winter, the temperature is a perfect 28 degrees with a light balmy breeze and the staff are all extremely friendly and eager to please. It seems no request is too much trouble for them. The hotel is new and luxurious. Also, this being their off season, they are not very busy, making it ideal for us.

It's probably just as well that I don't have heliconias like these growing in my garden because they wouldn't last long but Oh, how much I would enjoy arranging them!

I had to include a photograph of these exquisite frangipanies, which grow in great abundance here because they take me back to my wedding day. They were imported from Queensland for my bridal bouquet.

Surrounded by all this lush, tropical vegetation, the ikebanist in me was salivating. I resisted for the first day but the next I asked Dea from Guest Services if I could cut some material and do an arrangement. She was very helpful, giving me permission and providing me with a pair of scissors.

Of course, I have no containers, kenzans or any other tools but, as an experienced ikebanist, I improvised. I used the waste paper basket for a container and some toothpicks to join stems. I even had to resort to the sewing kit for needle and thread to hold the leaves together. This is the first time I 'sewed' ikebana. The important thing is, I had fun! Below is my tropical creation.

There was a lot going on at home, recently, family wise as well as ikebana wise.

For class I had set the theme 'The Challenge of the New', which was a theme for a class that Iemoto conducted when I was in Tokyo and I thought my students would find interesting. They were to use containers of mine that they had not used before. In preparation I, too, made arrangements in new containers.

The first is in a container I bought from the sale of Glynn Lemeiris ikebana collections after her passing. I used fine wisteria branches twisted around to follow the shape of the container and extend forward. I used my cymbidium orchids and a little bit of some very thorny wattle on the right.

The next arrangement is in a container I have used before however, the metal piece I used with it is new and was bought at headquarters. It helps to support this very heavy curved lily and its leaf

On 10th August we had a family celebration with 35 guests for lunch, preparations for which took up a lot of time before the event and, of course, cleaning up afterwards. There was also time devoted to arrangements around the house some of which are featured in the photographs below. To be perfectly honest, whenever we're entertaining, my first priority is the ikebana arrangements and then I worry about the food.

A while ago, when I was cleaning up around my pots, I discovered that the roots from the agave had escaped the pot and were growing underneath creating a delicate lace-like material. I sprayed it black and used it in this rather large glass container with my home grown anthurium and it's leaf.

For the dining table I wanted something light that would not obstruct guests' view of each other, so I used this glass decanter and light wisteria branches, dietes leaves and the last rose from the garden.

The food was buffet style and was placed on two large trestle tables. The arrangement below was placed on a stand on the table to elevate it above the food and was an interesting focal point for the room as it measures over 1.5 metres across.

The next morning, utterly worn out, I stumbled into the Gasworks Gallery with the same arrangement and placed it on the plinth for the Ikebana International Exhibition. It took a lot to secure it in the car without damaging the long dogwood branches or the lilies but I managed it.

A number of people asked me how I bent the lilies. The answer is I 'train' them as they grow. I push down the buds when they are very young and pliable and secure them, so that as they grow, they reach for the sun, thus creating a permanent bend.

I direct you to the Ikebana International blog for photographs of more arrangements.

Two days later, I had class with Elizabeth Angell who set the theme 'Using Rope or Packaging Material'. I enjoyed playing with some of the rope I have in my storeroom and I made the three arrangements below.


I leave you here as the swimming pool beckons.

Bye for now,

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