Sunday, 18 September 2016

Calla lilies, green goddess lilies and clivia berries

Hello all,

Ikebana International was approached recently by a rather exclusive club in the city requesting someone to make ikebana table arrangements for a Japanese dinner they were planning. Lucy and I volunteered to do 18 table arrangements and one larger one for the entry to the dining room.

We had a number of challenges to overcome, such as to make all the arrangements low, so that they did not obstruct the guests' view. They also had to be quite narrow to fit in between the table settings. But the biggest challenge of all was how to fit all our materials and containers in one car, because we were allocated only one parking spot. This was impossible, so my ever-supportive husband loaded up his car and drove down then drove  it back home.

We gave quite a lot of thought as to how to approach this exercise and decided to use this opportunity to show people, who would otherwise not know about ikebana, the scope of our work. So we planned to make completely different arrangements on each table. We used all kinds of containers ie: ceramic, glass, basket and metal. We even made miniature arrangements on two tables. We placed 5 miniatures on a black board on each table. These elicited an unexpected amount of interest. People kept stopping and peering at them intently.

This was at the entry of the dining room

We were overwhelmed by the interest that was created even whilst we were setting up. Apart from the staff who were clearly delighted with our work, guests of the establishment kept drifting into the dining room saying they had been told to come and see what we were doing and as they left, they too were very generous with their praise.

All the photographs in this post were very kindly provided by Chieko Yazaki, the president of Ikebana International. As you can see, the tables were set up for dinner with a lot of glassware, which made it difficult to fit the arrangements on the tables and also to photograph them. As some of them did not photograph well, I am not including them here.

Mahonia leaves and red and yellow chrysanthemums 

The two arrangements, below, were placed on either end of one long table. They were made using one strelitzia nicolai flower,  which was cut in half.

One strrelitzia nicolai leaf, one monstera deliciosa leaf and three cymbidium orchid
Stachyurus stems, cymbidium orchids and alstroemeria leaves in a basket

Aspidistras and cymbidium orchid

Loquat branch with camellias
Calla lilies in glass decanters
Magnolia soulangeana and magnolia grandiflora leaves

I'm sorry, I don't know the name of this succulent.
Camellias and pine

The following three arrangements were placed on one very long table with seating for 23 people. The two 'pond' arrangements were placed on either end with the round one in the centre.

 We had so much positive feed back that it made all our efforts worth while. We are, also very grateful to the staff of the establishment for their ready help.

Bye for now,

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Hello All,

The exquisite flower in the above photograph is a tree peony and measures 18 cm in diameter. It was given to me by my student Aurelia Dong. She and her partner recently moved into their new home, in the garden of which was growing a shrub they could not identify. It had a bud that grew and grew until it flowered and revealed itself to be a tree peony. They, of course, are quite delighted, as am I to be given such a treasure.

It has been a busy ikebana week. On Monday, we had the Sogetsu meeting and workshop, which was organised and run by Joan Norbury, Eugenia Chudacek and Margaret Wilson. The theme was 'Random Encounters" and the brief read as follows: 'Unconventional material will be provided to create a moment of confrontation with the unexpected. This is discussed by Sofu Teshigahara in Kadensho p. 23, wherein he claims 'All of ikebana is about random encounters which are given meaning'.

The girls went to a great deal of effort to collect all types of man made materials, then put a selection in a plastic bag for each participant. They were all different and we had no idea what we would be getting. We were instructed to bring along a couple of containers and some fresh material to complete our arrangement.

Knowing my tendency to make large arrangements, the girls gave me a small bag with few and small materials to challenge me. Below is my creation in a container, which coincidentally, was given to me by Margaret Wilson. My fresh material was two calla lilies.

In marked contrast, Lucy was given a large bag with a lot of different types of material, from which she chose only two. And to complete her smart arrangement, she used one aspidistra leaf.

I started my previous post with the flyer for the Ikebana International exhibition, which is running currently and will be until the 16th September. The large, collaborative works are to stay for the duration of the exhibition but the individual pieces will be taken down and replaced by new ones. This will happen twice, giving many people the opportunity to exhibit as well as keeping the exhibition fresh.

Lucy and I put up our arrangements on Monday and took them down on Thursday. Below is Lucy's piece, in which she used Haemanthus coccineus leaves and one calla lily.

You will be able to see photographs of the rest of the pieces on our II website, after the conclusion of the exhibition.

In my piece, below, I used variegated aspidistra leaves and a fine wisteria vine, which I spayed red.

To have enough aspidistra leaves of similar size and direction for the above piece, I had to 'sacrifice' a great number of leaves. However, this embarrassment of riches gave me a rare opportunity to 'play' with the leftovers and, below, are just two arrangements I made.

This container is one of two that I made when I went to the Sogetsu kiln in April.
With the aspidistra leaves, I used several calla lilies and two umbrella grass stems.

I leave you with this class arrangement with the theme 'With Branches Only'

Prunus elvins, stachyurus and Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum
Bye for now,

Thursday, 1 September 2016

We'd love to see as many of you as possible at the exhibition.

Hello all,

In the wall arrangement, above, I used a branch of my Prunus Elvins, which is ready to burst into flower. The mauve tulips were given to me by my friend Connie and, I think, they complement the branch very well. And below is the same arrangement once the tulips died and were replaced with cymbidium orchids, which, I'm proud to say, I grew myself.

 For this week's class, one of my students requested we make an arrangement using spring branches and another 'To be viewed from all angles'. So we combined the two and below is my example, photographed from three sides. I used white and red Japanese flowering apricot, camellias, calla lilies and diosma.

 The stunning orchid in the arrangement, below, came from my Auntie Elizabeth's rather large collection. I had some difficulty arranging it because its natural curve, when the stem is placed in water, makes it turn away from the container. I had to cut the curved stem quite short to achieve the end result.

Arrangement "Repeating similar forms or shapes'. I used cymbidium orchids, weeping
willow and alstroemeria leaves

'With Flowers only'. Calla lilies, clivia and helleborus.

'With leaves only'. One Monstera deliciosa, one strelitzia nicolai
and several calla lily leaves which I folded into this tulip shape. 
Bye for now,