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

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