Friday, 20 July 2018

My grandchildren, Xavier and Hermione (both 6) after their first ikebana lesson. They were really proud of their work and couldn't wait to take it home. But they could not possibly be as proud as their grandmother.
Hello all,

Our Iemoto, Akana Teshigahara, has always encouraged teaching ikebana to children, perhaps because she was a kindergarten teacher before taking on the role of Iemoto. I would hope she would be pleased with the work that my grandchildren did.

The two photographs, below, are of an arrangement and a sketch of said arrangement by Guy Pasco. He was doing the lesson in Book 2 - 'Freestyle Arranging and Sketching'. Most ikebanist (me included) do a very rough sketch with this exercise but Guy, having studied fine arts has done a beautiful sketch.

Sadly for us, Guy has now left us but it was for the best of reasons. He has relocated up north where he was offered his dream job. We will miss him and wish him every success and happiness.

For a recent lesson I had set a theme from the Fifty Principles of Ikebana by Sofu Teshigahara, No. 31- 'Ikebana may be comparable to painting, music or sculpture'. Below are some examples.

I used agave leaves and strelitzia -
comparable to sculpture
Vicky Kalokathis used contorted hazel branches
with strelitzias - comparable to a painting

Lucy Papas used a palm spathe and
a cycad frond - comparable to sculpture

Nicole McDonald used willow stems and tulips - comparable to music

And now for some arrangements I did just for fun.

This next piece came about after I pruned my persimmon tree. I had one branch with three stems creating a dome shape. On its own it was too sparse to use, so I attached many other branches, more to one side than the other, thus maintaining asymmetry and added the green goddess to finish. I made the ceramic container many years ago. The design was inspired by the huge air conditioning pipes on the ceiling of the domestic terminal of the Sydney Airport.

I, absolutely, had to make an arrangement with the garrya eliptica while it is at its absolute best. The pale pink camellias (although they look white in the photo) went beautifully with the greeny-grey of the garrya. This container is also self made.

Japanese flowering quince and camellias - a match made in ikebana heaven!

The container for this little arrangement was a gift from the ladies in Wellington and I used echinops with squiggly grass that repeats the spiral on the container.

And one more thing, the Ikebana International Annual Exhibition will be on next week. The details are:

Lobby Gallery, Level 1
25 Collins Street, Melbourne
Tuesday 24th to Sunday 29th July, 2018

Bye for now,

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Hello all,

The photograph, above, is of Lucy's arrangement at our recent Sogetsu exhibition. It's hard to tell from the photo but it measures over 1.5 metres. I don't know the name of the branch material but Lucy had to use some serious mechanics to ensure it was perfectly balanced.

Last month I ran a workshop for the Victorian branch on the same theme as I did for the Christchurch group. That is, my method of wiring umbrella grass stems to create surfaces. This is something I developed over the years because I have an abundance of umbrella grass and because it lends itself to creating interesting geometrical shapes. I had prepared three examples and demonstrated the wiring technique. After that, the members were left to their own creativity. I have included my arrangements here, as well as those of two of my students. For all the photos of the group please go to Sogetsu Ikebana Victorian branch.

With a single stelitzia

With nandina domestica nana

Freestanding form with prunus mume (Japanesee flowering apricot)

My demonstration piece, completed at home, with the addition
of two pomegranates

Nicole McDonald

Dianne Longley, beginner

My student, Lei Wang's first freestyle arrangement
I recently had to prune back one of my loquat trees, providing the perfect opportunity for a class workshop using the branches. My two examples are below.

Loquat branches - using only one kind of material
Loquat leaves in glass vase with rose

Lucy Papas
Nicole McDonald
Vicky Kalokathis

I leave you with this photograph of my prunus mume in full bloom, which seems quite incongruous in this bleak winter weather. It's a beautiful, small tree that blooms in the middle of winter when there is very little else in the garden, apart for the trusty camellias. And its delightful fragrance is an added bonus.

Bye for now,