Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Hello everyone,

Last week our group held its first meeting for the year which included its AGM and a workshop lead by Betty and Toula Karanikolopoulos, my sisters-in-law. The theme for the workshop was 'An arrangement combining panty hose and wire in a sculptural form'. The girls made a number of quite amazing and creative pieces. Unfortunately, due to grandparenting duties, I had to leave the workshop early and didn't take any photographs. I would strongly encourage you to go to our website at sogetsuikebanavic.weebly.com for all the photographs.

I really enjoyed playing with these materials and made the piece below.

The brief also indicated that we were to use a vase and fresh materials to complete the piece but I felt mine didn't need it. However, in order to comply with the brief, I tried a number of flowers and leaves and finally settled on the amaranthus in a square, white container. I still feel it looks better without it. What do you think?

Having one leg of each of the pantyhose left over, I played a little bit more, this time with colours.

I couldn't even throw the scraps away, hence the playful piece below. The hosta leaves and flower are from a plant that was given to me by my colleague Lee Johnstone many years ago but has only just flowered, so had to be used.

Recently my sisters and I had occasion to visit the garden of Glenda Nielsen. I have known Glenda for a long time through our mutual love of our respective floral art and our appreciation of each other's work. We have, also, collaborated in doing the flowers in a couple of weddings. I'm not able to enumerate all of Glenda's achievements in floral art but, suffice to say, she has dedicated her life to it in all its forms including acting as judge for many years. She is now retired but, clearly, has not stopped gardening or practicing her floral art.

Glenda's garden, when seen from the front, looks deceptively small but is, in fact, quite long and narrow with something of interest at every turn, including a glass house at the end. It is definitely a floral artist's garden, rich in material for her use.

The garden also has a very generous owner. No sooner did we show some interest in a particular plant, than Glenda would pick up a shovel and dig some up for us. There were many interesting plants but, for us, the piece de resistance was the viburnum setigerum with its glorious berries that look like they're made of glass. All in all, a very pleasant afternoon. Thank you Glenda.

Glenda in front of her viburnum setigerum

A close-up of the berries of vibunum setigerum

In preparation for my trip to Okinawa next month for the Ikebana International convention, I needed birds nest ferns with which to practice. Two very kind ladies provided me with this precious resourse - my student Shaneen Garbutt and colleague Lee Johnstone. With the leftovers I created this wall arrangement.

Bye for now and stand by for my next post. I have something special to share with you.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Good morning everyone,
I say "good morning" because I'm writing this at some ungodly hour, unable to sleep due to a pesky mosquito in my bedroom! So, if you find mistakes, please forgive me, It's due to sleep deprivation.

Those of you who follow Christopher James' blog would have seen recently a tree that he featured from the Botanical gardens called Castanospermum australe ,also known as Moreton Bay chestnut, Australian chestnut, Black bean or Lucky bean. At about the same time my cousin Nick dropped in carrying a potted plant of the same tree saying he thought it was unusual and that I would like it, so he bought it for me.

The fully grown tree from Christopher's blog. It
produces bicoloured red and yellow flowers. The fruit
is a cylindrical pod with chestnut-like seeds.

My potted plant. Notice the chestnut-like seeds
from which it was grown

Now, back to ikebana. My student, Aurelia is a scientist working in a research lab where they use a casing made of grey sponge to secure various vials. At her suggestion, we decided to use these casings in ikebana following the theme 'Fresh and Unconventional materials'. The photos below show what they look like in the lab.

And here's what we did with them.

The two photographs, below, are of Vicky's arrangements where she used only some of the removable parts of the casing. She used with them Bougainvillea and umbrella grass stems.

In the next two arrangements Lucy Papas used both the large pieces of spongy casings as well as some removable pieces.

Umbrella grass stems and roses

Umbrella grass stems

The arrangement below was made by Aurelia Dong and I debated whether to include it here because the photograph doesn't do it justice. Because the aspedistra leaf extends forward, it tends to look bigger that it is and obscures the container. But, I can assure you, it is a good arrangement.

The next two are mine. We really enjoyed this exercise with the only problem being where to stop. We had so many ideas but not enough time.

New Zealand flax and bull

I used bull rushes on a glass base that has two holes, through which I
put the stems. Under the glass base is a container with water.

My arrangement of 'Disassembling and Rearranging the Materials'.

Aurelia's arrangement of 'With Branches Only'. She used
smoke bush and walnut branches

My freestyle arrangement using bull rushes, dietes and crucifix
orchid. I was given plants of the orchid by Helen Novic and
also by Shaneen Garbutt
Bye for now,

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Hello all,

Well, classes resumed yesterday with renewed enthusiasm after the holiday break. For each of the senior students I provided one very big philodendron leaf on a long stem and asked them to make an arrangement in a container of their choice, with or without other material. Below are my three examples:

This simple looking arrangement took me over an hour to work out
mechanics that would prevent the leaf, which is separated from
the stalk, from falling backwards.

Balance was also an issue with this
heavy lleaf
I partially stripped the leaf and used crocosmia and
agapanthus though it

The two arrangements, below, are by Bredenia Raquel.

This next one is by Vicky Kalokathis.

It's hard to see against the white background but there is a large, round,
white container, around which the stripped leaf is draped
The next two are by Lucy Papas

A small part of the large leaf with Crocosmia

This large, heavy leaf is perfectly balanced in this
ceramic container. It looks to me like it's wearing
a stiletto!
Nicole MacDonald's two 'Simplified arrangements' are next. The containers were each a gift from classmates for Christmas.
Flax and green goddess lily

Stripped agapanthus and Crocosmia

This is my example of the same theme

Aurelia Dong's class theme was 'With Leaves Only' and she made the two arrangements below.

This is my example

You would be justified if this next arrangement caused  you confusion. You don't, normally, see wisteria flowering this time of year but these stems were brought to class last night by my new student, Guy Pascoe. I had to arrange them despite the fact that there is absolutely no place in the house to put another arrangement.

Bye for now,