Saturday, 28 May 2016

My Japanese Flowering apricot (prunus mume) is quite confused as
it is flowering now whilst still full of green leaves. I removed the
leaves for this arrangement.

Yesterday I attended the funeral of Theresa Feile, a long standing member of Ikebana International and teacher of the Sogetsu school. She was a student and friend of Norman Sparnon, who often stayed with her and her family when visiting Melbourne. As an indicator of her fondness and respect for her sensei, she named her second son 'Norman'.

As an older and more experienced teacher of Sogetsu, Theresa was always supportive and encouraging towards me, a relative newcomer. Her ikebana work was always refined and beautiful and I learnt a great deal from her, even though she was not my teacher, especially about the arranging of flag iris.

It was a truly beautiful service. A celebration of a life lived to the fullest, which left a warm feeling in all of us who attended. The lovely ikebana arrangements made by her students and placed around the room were a fitting tribute to her. We will miss Theresa greatly.

Below is an arrangement she did in 2014 at the Sogetsu exhibition at Federation Square for our 50th Anniversary celebrations.

Theresa was known, particularly, for her iris arrangements and gave many demonstrations on the correct placement of flowers and, most especially, leaves. Below is one example of her work.

A fortnight ago we had our regular Sogetsu meeting and workshop with the theme 'Three simplified arrangements using the same materials', run by Thea Sartori. Please go to our website for the photographs of all the members.

The simplicity of these arrangements belies the skill required to make them. Simple does not equate to easy. Because each material used must be trimmed down to only it's very basic elements, whilst still remaining recognizable, extra care needs to be taken over which elements are to be kept. Every leaf, bud or flower must be placed correctly otherwise, the slightest flaw will be very obvious. Below are my three arrangements using bamboo and Kamo Hon Ami camellias.

You might be interested to know that I treated my bamboo by placing the stem in salted boiling water for about 10 minutes before placing it in the arrangement. This made them last for two weeks and, although the camellias have died, the leaves are still quite green.

Our theme for class last week was 'Green Plant Materials', one of the themes from the new book that has yet to be published. Having no direction from Headquarters about this theme, I decided that the students and I would interpret it in our own way, as I feel that it is important to experiment and extend ourselves. I heard Iemoto speak twice on the subject of getting out of our comfort zone and I took her words to heart. We will, naturally, follow the guidance of the book once it is available and if it differs from our concept.

I used Gyamea leaf from my friend Olga, flax leaves and clivia berries

Here I also used Olga's gyamea leaf with oranges and
keffir limes

Helen Novic used vine, aspidistra leaf and begonia leaves
Robyn Unglick used broom and berries
Bredenia Raquel used Aspidistra leaves and Chrysanthemums
Here Bredenia used Banksia flowers and their leaves
Lucy Papas used gyamea, flax and monstera
leaves in this wall arrangement

Vicky Kalokathis used Setaria Palmifolia leaves
and seed heads

If, like me, some of you have not received notification of a blog posting, I apologize but I assure you it was not my doing. I'm not very computer literate but I will try to get help from those who are and rectify the problem. In the mean time, I would appreciate it if you would let me know via email if you did not get notified of this or any other post and, if so, please enter your email address in the slot provided again. Hopefully the problem will be corrected. Thank you.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

View from our balcony of our elm trees.
Autumn in Melbourne.

Hello all,
We are lucky to have four distinct seasons in Melbourne, which suit ikebanists very well and right now we are enjoying a glorious Autumn.

The Sogetsu Annual Exhibition, with the theme 'Autumn', is now over and you can see photographs of the arrangements on our website. However, I'm including here photos of three of my students, who took part.

This hanging arrangement was done by Lucy Papas. She used
wisteria vines and loquat leaves, some of which she lightly
sprayed with copper.
Vicky Kalokathis used thick wisteria vine with
chrysanthemums and alstroemeria leaves

Nicole Mcdonald used nandina domestica nana
stems and russet coloured sedum

When surrounded with so much autumn foliage, it's hard to resist and, despite having very limited use of my left hand, I had to make some arrangements as per the photos below.
I use my Gingko very sparingly and here I have it with mahonia flowers. Arrangement
to be viewed from above.
Crepe Myrtle with oriental lilies in antique Japanese basket. This is placed under the
staircase and, even though the branches look like they are touching at the top, they
are not.
Wall arrangement of persimon branches and Chrysanthemums.
Unfortunately the photo doesn't show the depth. the stems 
extend 60 cm  forward. 

In our last class we had the theme 'Composition of Surfaces Made by the Massing  of lines. I made two examples.

Book Leaf Pine (Thuja occidentalis) stripped of leaves with
strelitzias, nandina flowers and berries

Spear grass sprayed silver and hydrangeas

Last week my very good friend Olga came to visit and brought me, among other things, some very tall gyamea leaves from her garden. Below is the result. It's a large arrangement placed under the stairs where it is viewed from the front and the side. Hence the two views. Unfortunately, it's hard to photograph with the stairs as background.

Front view
Side view.
That's all from me for now.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Happy Easter to all Orthodox Christians celebrating today.
4 years ago we lost a beloved aunt and before her house was sold I took a
small root of her strelitzia plant. This is the first flower.

I wanted to announce the exhibition that the Sogetsu School of Ikebana Victorian Branch will be holding:

East & West Art Gallery
665 High Street, East Kew

Dates: 2/5/16 to 15/5/16

Monday - Friday 11.00 am to 5.00 pm
Saturday 11.00 am to 4.30 pm
Official opening 2/5/16, 6.30 - 7.30 pm

The theme is 'Autumn' and promises to be quite interesting, so we would love to see as many people as possible.

This is my exhibit photographed at home as it will be behind glass and difficult
to photograph in situ

At the moment I have my left hand in a cast after it was operated on a couple of days ago and am typing with just my right index finger. It's a bit cumbersome but I'm persevering since I have a lot of time, due to my inability to do many other things.

You may remember, in a previous post, I included a photo of a possum that has made our window sill her home. I thought she was a Common Brush tail but on closer inspection, she is a Common Ring tail possum and, if you look very closely, you will see that she is suckling two babies. I had a lot of difficulty photographing them in this tight and dark space. Where is David Attenborough when you need him?

On the 9th and 10th April, three days after we returned from Japan, Yoshiro Umemura was here to run workshops with our group. I, very hastily, managed to prepare four arrangements but I was not able to take many good photographs, so I direct you to our website where Christopher James has, once again, done a wonderful job of taking, editing and posting our photos.

My example of 'Mass Focusing on Water'
I used massed pine needles and one leucodendron flower

Lucy Papas' example of the same theme. To be viewed from above.
She used Eucaliptus Seed pods and begonia leaves
And now some photos from class:

'Composition of  Surfaces by using Leaves'

'Shape of the Container'

The above, delicious looking cakes were made by two students - Vicky Kalokathis, from the evening class, made the passionfruit congratulatory one. And Nicole McDonald, from the afternoon class, made the cranberry cake to celebrate both my promotion and Helen Novic's 90th birthday. It was a delightful surprise for us all to enjoy.

That's all from me for now,
Until next time,