Monday, 6 August 2018

Hello all,
I made the arrangement, above, for our recent Ikebana International workshop, which was run by the head of the Ikenobo school, Yukako Braun. This was to b a Free Style workshop exploring the principles of shapes. In the Sogetsu curriculum we have a similar lesson - 'Repeating Similar Forms and Shapes'. Over the many years of practicing and teaching ikebana, I have used every geometrical shape at least once, so I was looking for something different. I was pleased with the shapes that I made with the bamboo and I finished it with nandina domestica nana.

Ukako sensei approved of the arrangement but felt it needed a flower. According to ikenobo philosophy, it is not ikebana if it does not have a flower. If I had brought one with me, I would have put it in the arrangement for the purposes of the workshop. However, according to Sogetsu philosophy and, in particular, according to Kawana sensei, a flower in this case would be superfluous and considered a 'decoration'. I'm fascinated by the differences between our two schools. For more photographs of the workshop and, in particular, of the arrangements made by Ukako sensei and her students, please go to II Melbourne, where you will also see photos of our recent exhibition in the lobby of the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins.

Below is my contribution to the exhibition. It came about when I found this 1.8 metres, stainless steel, mesh-like material. The challenge was to have this very heavy piece stand upright. I had the board and the idea of how to support it but not the tools. Enter my very clever brother-in-law, Peter! Having placed it very snugly into the slot that he made, I was then faced with creating a delicate balance by distributing the weight between the front and back to prevent it swaying forwards or backwards.

Last Thursday I had the privilege to do a one hour demonstration for the Box Hill Floral Art group. They called it their 'Friendship Day' and it was in aid of SHARE THE DIGNITY - "In the Bag" Christmas Appeal.

I have had a long and warm association with this group, having exhibited with them and having demonstrated for them a number of times. They are friendly and welcoming and an extremely receptive audience. With me, of course, was my stalwart assistant, Lucy. I had prepared and loaded into two cars the makings of ten arrangements plus one that was auctioned for the fundraiser. Lucy and I drove our respective cars and arrived at the venue, only to find that I had left my tool kit at home. So, my trusty assistant jumped in the car and went home to fetch it. What would I do without her!

After a sumptuous lunch provided by the members, I proceeded with the demonstration, which went off without a hitch.

A naturalistic arrangement using two types of camellias in a
ceramic container with a wisteria handle
An example of 'Fresh and Unconventional Materials'
Mother-in-law tongues, strelitzia and polystyrene

An example of the lesson in Book 5 - 'Complementing an Art Work'. My Art pieces are brass macaque monkeys, which I bought in
Japan. I see the larger one as a protective parent over the baby. My Siberian dogwood branches and arum lilies curve around
the sculptures in a similar protective way.

An example of the lesson in Book 5 - 'Glass Containers'. The decanter has a red
stripe down the centre, which I tried to repeat with the Siberian dogwood. I added
nandina berries and night jasmine berries

An example of 'Repeating Similar Forms and Shapes - 'Umbrella grass stems,
clivias and alstroemeria psittacinna leaves

Another 'Fresh and Unconventional Materials'
Aluminium lattice and umbrella grass in ceramic container

Another example from Book 5 - 'Composition Expressing a Movement'. In this case 'Pouring'
I had a lot of fun with this arrangement. My cousin, Nieves gave me  this vase, which
was clear but I sprayed it white because I wanted to conceal the interior. I found a stand,
which could hold it up and added dietes leaves to give the illusion of pouring liquid

The  flowers in this leafless wattle (acacia aphylla) look like little
jewels. I used jonquils for mass in this self made container.

'Miniatures' is also a lesson in Book 5 and is, usually, very popular. I, certainly,
love making them.
And, finally, a Christmas arrangement. I know it's out of season but it will be upon us
in no time. I found the pine after a particularly windy day that brought down some
large branches from a tree in my neighbourhood. In the demonstration I had used
white magnolias but they did not survive the trip home, so I replaced them with arum
lilies. I used nandina berries, a glass snow flake and mizuhiki

Bye for now,

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