Tuesday, 29 September 2015

My magnificent Magnolia X soulangeana

Hello all,

It's been a long time since my last post and I won't bore you with the details as to why. But I am playing catch up, so please bear with me.

The class theme for two lessons ago was 'In a tsubo vase'. That's a pot shaped vase with small opening used without a kenzan. This requires the students to find appropriate mechanics to support their work.

Below are three examples of mine:

Green Goddess lilies and New Zealand flax

Spent ginger lilies and aspidistra 

Rosemary and cymbidium orchids

And the work of some of the students:

Nicole McDonald
Bark, bird's nest fern and leucodendron

Helen Novic
Long leaf pine and bird's nest fern
Bredenia Raquel
Dried branch, gypsophila and carnations
                             Bredenia Raquel
                    Strelitzia with dried material
Margaret Wilson
Spirea,Bromiliad flowers and Carex Trifida leaves
Janette Fonda
Book Leaf pine and wattle

At last class we had some fun with miniature ikebana. We all did several arrangements each and presented them on some sort of board. A friend of mine, whilst admiring my display, referred to them as little ikebana hors d'oeuvres.

Miniatures appear to be easy but to do them correctly, we must not lose sight of the principles of Sogetsu ikebana. There is, also, the difficulty of mechanics. With tiny vases we cannot fit our usual horizontal or vertical fixtures or even kenzans, as we do with the larger vases, so we had to be a little bit more creative.

I made seven arrangements and I could, quite happily, have done many more.

Below are two examples of the theme 'Using two or ore containers':

Pine and calla lilies
Green Goddess lilies and Japanese flowering quince
I leave you with this simple but striking arrangement I made using a piece of agave that has been sitting in my garage for many weeks without water yet still looks fresh. With it I used some clivia berries.

Bye for now,

Sunday, 6 September 2015

 Spring is in the air...

Hello everyone and a very happy Father's day to all you dads out there.
After a particularly cold winter here in Melbourne, spring has finally arrived in all her glory. Every year, at the beginning of spring, I like to make the biggest arrangement I can using spring flowering blossoms and this year is no exception. The kitchen bench is a good spot for it as it can be seen and enjoyed from most of the living areas. The only draw back is the constant vacuuming of the falling petals but it's a small price to pay.

I'd like to remind all Melbourne readers that the Ikebana International exhibition at the Melbourne Town Hall is currently on and will end on 13th September. I'm including a rather poor photograph of my exhibit but you will all be able to see photographs of all the arrangements on our II website after the conclusion of the exhibition. Christopher James, who curated the exhibition, does a very good job of editing and posting photographs, so please look out for them.

Last month we had two days of very successful workshops with Seiseki Umemura (Yosh). The theme for the morning workshop was a combination of two lessons from our text books - 'A vertical arrangement with Flowers only.' Below are his demonstration pieces.

For the afternoon workshop the theme was another combined one -'A Horizontal Arrangement with leaves only' Below is his demonstration piece.

I only attended the first day of workshops and below are my two arrangements.

To be viewed from above
Again, I recommend you visit our Sogetsu website under Recent Workshops to see photographs of arrangements by Yosh and members. And while you're there, you might like to visit the 'Exhibitions' page to see works from our recent exhibition.

 When an opportunity arises to workshop material that is not readily available, of course, I take advantage of it.

Last month, my son-in-law cut down a book leaf pine (Thuja orientalis), which prompted me to run a workshop using this rather unusual material. For those who are unfamiliar with it, it is a conifer whose 'leaves' grow flat against each other creating a book-like effect. I used it in the four different ways below:

With New Zealand Flax

In its dried form with cymbidium orchid
and Carex trifida leaves

Horizontal Arrangement with camelias and
Banksia Rose
Variation No 1 upright style moribana
with camelias

Below are some of the arrangements made by students.

Aurelia Dong
With calla lilies and dried branch

Lucy Papas
with Oriental lily bud

Vicky Kalokathis
With Oriental lily buds

Margaret wilson
With calla lily buds

Nicole McDonald
With leukodendron

Bredenia Raquel
With Clivia berries

Helen Novic
With Green Goddess lilies

Janette Fonda
with Green Goddess lilies

I leave you with this playful piece.

Until next time,