Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Hello all,

The arrangement above, with its combination of prunus blossoms and camellias in an antique basket  represents, for me, quintessential ikebana.

Last Monday’s Sogetsu workshop was run by Christopher James, for which he set the theme ‘An arrangement incorporating text’. Christopher added-'I invite your free interpretation of the theme. In this regard the theme is meant to be nothing less than springboard for your artistic imaginations’.

It was very interesting to see how each member interpreted this theme. Many used actual paper with some text on it in their arrangement. As for me, I thought I should find an excerpt from literature and reference it in my ikebana. After much consideration of the various books I read since childhood, I settled on one of my favourite modern writers – Douglas Adams and his series of books ‘The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’. I chose an excerpt which I felt is very relevant in today’s tumultuous political landscape. 

'“The major problem—one of the major problems, for there are several—one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them. 
To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.
To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.”
Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Here is my arrangement in reference to the above quote. The strelitzia representing the ruler governing the people who voted him into power.

For class last week, the senior girls were given the lesson 'A floor arrangement'. I apologize for the poor quality of the photographs but the arrangements are very difficult to capture when they are so tall and thin.

Bredenia - Siberian dogwood and magnolia x soulangana
Lucy  - Dried strelitzia Nicolai leaf, Alstroemeria
leaves and chrysanthemums

Emily - Palm spathe and alstroemeria leaves

Nicole's last arrangement of Book 4 - 'Me in Ikebana'
Calla lilies and wisteria


Aurelia - bananas, capsicums and egg plant

Emily - mushrooms and spring onions

Emily- fennel and chili

I leave you with this next arrangement, which came about because I was given  this citrus fruit called 'Buddha's hand' (Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis) by my colleague Lara Telford. When I first received it, I was very excited. However, after struggling for some time trying to find a way to arrange such a heavy fruit my excitement began to wane. That's when my stubbornness kicked in and I persevered until I managed to balance it in this brightly coloured tsubo vase. I like the contrast of the blue against the yellow.

Before I leave you, I'd like to let you know that there is, currently, an exhibition by Ikebana International Melbourne Chapter in the lobby of Sofitel Melbourne on Collins. It will continue until Wednesday 30th.

Also, I've mentioned this before but it bears repeating. If you would like to email me, please don't send it through the blog. Google doesn't seem to work, so most emails don't come through to me. Please use my email address - and be assured that I reply to all emails. If you haven't received a reply from me it's because I have not received your communication.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Siberian dogwood bare branch, camellias and conifer

Hello all,

At our Ikebana International meeting last month, we had the pleasure of meeting the new patrons of the Melbourne Chapter, The Consul General of Japan, Mr Matsunaga and Mrs Matsunaga.

Also, Christopher James conducted a workshop with the theme 'Working with bare branches'. The photograph, above, is of my arrangement. I used a container by Graham Wilke, which has a small opening and required some serious mechanics to secure the branch above the container. For photographs of arrangements by all members and, especially, Christopher's, please go to our blog -

Our group met again this morning for our AGM, when we welcomed the new committee, headed by Patricia Ward as President. Afterwards, there was a demonstration by the Heads of five schools. Arrangements below -

Christopher James - Sogetsu
Yukako Braun - Ikenobo

Aiko Nakada - Ohara

Chieko Yazaki - Shogetsudokoryu
Eliasha Zhang - Ichiyo

We also had a number of arrangements by members, mine below, fits two themes - 'Shape of the container' and 'Colour of the container'. It is difficult to see the latter in the photo but the interior of the container has a dull mauve hue which is picked up by the hellebores. And on the subject of hellebores, I found that one day after they were cut and arranged, they wilted and looked quite sad. I plunged them in a bucket of water for a couple of hours, which seemed to revive them beautifully. They lasted for about two days before drooping again, when I repeated the plunging exercise with the same results.

For class last week the senior students were set the theme 'Jika Dome' - Direct Fixing, which is in Book 5. This seemingly simple fixing method can be quite challenging, especially with heavy branches, as it requires bending and balancing. In my arrangement, below, I struggled a little to balance the ginger seed heads facing inwards when gravity kept insisting on pulling them downwards.

Ginger seed heads, cordelines and hydrangeas

Vicky Kalokathis - magnolia branch and oriental

Bredenia Raquel - geranium and leucadendron salignum

The arrangement, below, has the theme 'Specific Scenes, Occasions or Spaces'. I chose to celebrate my husband's Name Day, a Greek tradition that we use as an excuse to get the family together and which falls on the 6th August (last Sunday). The dry material I used came from my bamboo, which sheds them as it grows. (If anyone knows what they're called, please let me know). These jonquils are the earliest to flower in my garden and I chose them for this arrangement because they are Sam's favourite flowers. He has fond memories of collecting wild jonquils when he was a boy in a little village in Greece and selling them to passing motorists for pocket money. While they're in season, I keep a little vase of jonquils always on his office desk.

Aurelia Dong - 'Disassembling and Rearranging the Materials
Lilly pilly

The black pine in this next arrangement was donated by some kind member of II a month ago and which looks every bit as fresh today as it did then. The kamo hon ami camellia, however, has to be replaced every few days but it's well worth the effort.

Bye for now,