Monday, 26 August 2019

Hello all,

There has been a flurry of ikebana activity of late. There were my two classes as well as the Ikebana International AGM and the Sogetsu workshop, all within three weeks.

At the Ikebana International AGM four out of the five heads of schools did a demonstration showcasing the styles of their individual schools. As always, members were encouraged to set up their own arrangements. For my arrangement, above, I used arum lilies and clivia nobolis flowers in a ceramic container that I bought at headquarters some years ago. Please go to the Ikebana International Melbourne for photos of the demonstration arrangements as well as those of the members.

For the class before last we workshoped kiwi vine, which was generously provided by my student Vicky. She had to have the top down on her sports car to fit the long vines to bring to class. Unless one is growing it, kiwi vine can be difficult to come by. I don't remember ever coming across it in a florist shop. We all enjoyed the chance to play with it and the added bonus is that it dries well, so  is very long lasting.

Nicole used a locquat branch and an aeonium zwartkop
Bredenia used an aspidistra leaf and a stelitzia

Jenny used mauve and yellow chrysanthemums 
Janette used sunflowers in this tall metal

Vicky used white chrysanthemums, whose stems were hidden
behind a chunky piece of the vine.

Lucy used camellias in this very stable ceramic vase, which
she recently purchased  from an op shop.
For our most recent class we went back to book 5 and did the lesson on jonquils or narcissus. The next two arrangements are mine. When I was preparing the first arrangement, considering what other material to use with the jonquils, the kiwi vine practically jumped up and said 'Pick me! Pick me!' So I did.

I wired the leaves for this modern arrangement.
Janette used this very smart container and just one variegated aspidistra
leaf with the jonquils
Nicole made this naturalistic arrangement with spring blossom
branches and loropetalum along with the jonquils

Bredenia's 'Pond' arrangement. She used weeping willow and oliander sprigs
with the jonquils and their leaves

Vicky used Siberian dogwood and
aelstromeria psitaccina leaves

Jenny created a mass by curling the leaves. She
also massed the jonquils in this modern
arrangement in a half moon suiban

Lucy used one split aspidistra leaf
with the jonquils in her self-made

Bye for now,

Monday, 12 August 2019

Hello all,

You may recognize the arrangement, above, as the one I included in my last post and which was placed in front of the speaker's lectern at St Paul's Cathedral last week. My original photograph was taken in situ, where the background was so busy that it was hard to see the arrangement clearly. We had a large family luncheon here yesterday and a number of people, who had seen my blog and then saw the arrangement at home, commented on how different it looked, prompting me to photograph it again against a blank background.

As is always the case when I'm entertaining, I fill the house with ikebana arrangements. Yesterday's lunch was no exception. Below are some of them.

The branch in the above arrangement came from an indoor ficus plant (I think microcarpa), which had become too big and I had planted into a large pot and kept outside. It wan't a particularly good plant and I wanted the ceramic pot in which it was planted, so I decided to get rid of it. But, not before I cut its beautifully curving branch (about 1 metre long) and made this arrangement. I struggled with appropriate accompanying material and settled on the oranges because none of the available flowers worked. The less visible material is a variegated euphorbia.

My magnolia soulangiana is at her absolute best at the moment - just before the flowers are fully open. The simplicity of the arrangement is deceptive because the branch had to be secured in the vase diagonally to maximize the feeling of movement. I attached a stick to the bottom of the magnolia stem using two screws because, if I had used only one would, it would swivel. The appendage was attached in such a way as to wedge against the vase at its widest point, making it very secure.

For the tables where guests would be eating I made a number of glass arrangements using kiwi vine, courtesy of Vicky. This was left over from a large number of kiwi vines that she had brought for the class to workshop. More on that later. I chose to make low, glass arrangements so that they may not obstruct the guests' view of each other.
Glass container, kiwi vine and bromeliad flowers
With lisianthus

This was my arrangement for the class workshop of kiwi vine
Bye for now,

Monday, 5 August 2019

Hello all,

I have mentioned before that my ikebana is mostly opportunistic. I come across materials which have potential and I go from there. Case in point is the arrangement, above. I was looking through my monstera deliciosa patch for just the right shaped leaf, when I came across this flower, which, of course, had to be cut and arranged. It's a very thick and heavy flower with a short stem presenting some limitations. The container I used is semicircular with an opening of about 2 cm, making it ideal for wedging the stem tightly. I then had to consider which accompanying material to use. After discounting other possibilities, I settled on the agave. Its strength balanced with the strength of the flower and its sculptural shape added depth and interest.

And here's another such arrangement, above. These dear little white flowers (Leucojum) are a delightful surprise because, when I planted them, I thought they were something else entirely. They are just the right size for this much prized container, which was given to me by my daughter and son-in-law.

During our recent exhibition, of which I have spoken before, my sister-in-law Toula gave the demonstration, assisted by our other sister-in-law Betty. Toula made a number of interesting and varied arrangements, three of which I have included here. The rest can be found on our blog at Sogetsu Ikebana Victoria. You will also be able to see the arrangements of the second part of the exhibition.

Toula (left) and Betty 

New Zealand flax and jonquils. Toula used two
containers intertwined

Dried Strelitzia nicolai leaf and stelitzia reginae flower

A service was held yesterday for Hiroshima Peace day at St Paul's Cathedral in Melbourne. It is a tradition now for members of Ikebana International to create arrangements for this service. I volunteered to do the Sogetsu arrangement and Chieko Yazaki head of the Shogetsudokoryu school assisted by students made a much larger arrangement.

Below is my arrangement in front of the speaker's lecturn. I used a large, flexible pipe, which I have attached to a board, as my container and created contrast by using bamboo triangles sprayed white. I finished it off with New Zealand flax and a mass of arum lilies. Unfortunately it is very difficult to photograph the arrangements with such a busy background.

Chieko created a large, naturalistic arrangement with a gorgeous black pine branch, Japanese quince and assorted flowers. This was placed in front of the pulpit.

I leave you with this rather cheeky arrangement. I made it using the loquat branch that was in my exhibition piece but, which was still quite fresh and I added the crucifix orchids. There is no kenzan in the container. The branch and flowers are wedged into the bottom, which comes to a sharp point.

Bye for now,