Sunday, 23 July 2017

A spring oasis in a cold and dreary winter.

Hello all,
Judging from the photograph above, you can be forgiven for thinking that spring has arrived in Melbourne. Not quite. This was taken during the winter solstice but the material is Prunus mume, Japanese flowering apricot, which blooms in early winter. The large pink peones were brought to class by my student, Guy, who very generously, brought enough for all the class to share.

Our most recent Sogetsu workshop was run by Lara Telford, who had set the theme of 'Wabi Sabi and ikebana'. This is a difficult concept to describe, but Lara, after much research and, despite the restriction of only 20 minutes of explanation, managed to help us understand this Japanese aesthetic a little better. We also learnt a lot by watching her excellent critique and correction. I recommend you visit our website -, where you'll see some very interesting work by our members.

This is the corrected version of my arrangement. I, originally, had more garrya elliptica
and hydrangeas, which Lara, quite rightly, suggested I remove.
Very often our ikebana is opportunistic. I have been doing some pruning in the garden and decided to reduce the size of my persimmon tree so that I may be able to cover it with a net to prevent possums, bats and birds from eating all the fruit. I should say here that I really don't mind sharing our fruit with the local fauna, but they don't feel the same. They have been known to strip the trees overnight, so drastic measures have to be taken. Anyway, back to ikebana. Not wanting to waste the cuttings, I gave each of the senior students a branch from the persimmon tree that they had not seen before and asked them to make an arrangement with it. They had carte blanche as to how they would use it.

For my arrangement I challenged myself by using one of the branches that grew vertically, with very little character.

Persimmon branch, oranges and cotoneaster berries
Vicky - Glass vase with chrysanthemums 

Bredenia - Caprosma caro red and hellebores 

Lucy - Tulips

The two 'Simplified Arrangements' below are mine.
Garrya eliptica and snow drop

The next two are by Aurelia

Camellia and jonquil

One of the most challenging themes in our curriculum is 'In a Suiban without Kenzan', which is near the end of Book 4. Some fixing techniques are usually required but they must be discrete and the structure should stand alone without relying on resting against the sides of the container.  This is Nicole's arrangement.

Corky elm and calla lilies
In my arrangement I used hawthorn with dark coloured berries
and New Zealand flax. Initially I tried using flowers with the
structure but it became too fussy, hence the flax.
Along with the peones that Guy brought to class, he also brought the roses that I used in the arrangement below. I also used gyamea and dietes leaves.

Below are the first of my Green Goddess lilies, that had to be picked and arranged.

Bye for now,

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