Have you ever felt the pressure to come up with something interesting or artistic? It's a paradox that these feelings appear in the process of creating ikebana, trying to express simplicity and humbleness. Still they do appear. And - you're in good company when they do.
I found an interesting and personal interview with Akane Teshigahara, the present iemoto (headmaster) of the Sogetsu School, on the internet. The interview is from 2005. At that time she was in her 4th year of leading the Sogetsu imperium. I would think she still felt relatively new in the position. Many people compared her to her father Hiroshi Teshigahara, who held the leader position before her.
"As the headmaster, I must manage and guide the school as a whole. It is also my responsibility and duty to pass on the precise teachings of our ryugi to coming generations. Yet, simply abiding by the teaching of Sogetsu and handing down that tradition is not enough. Although the basic teachings are never to change, new ways and forms of expression through Ikebana must constantly be sought. In fact, it is embedded in the Sogetsu teachings that while utilizing the traditional, you must always seek something new. As simple as this may sound, it is very difficult to accomplish and at times I feel pressured. At the same time, when the people of Sogetsu agree with my new vision, come together, and work towards that one goal of a new creation, I feel a strong sense of encouragement and happiness."
In the interview she also talks about ikebana as living sculpture. It is created for the moment. The fact that it is a short-lived art form is part of what makes it's impression on people so strong.
"Ikebana is the art of creating three dimensional pieces using plants. The difference between Ikebana and other forms of sculptures is that the materials are “alive”. Ikebana is a form of sculpture that exists only within a limited time span, transforms from moment to moment, then perishes.
In the Sogetsu School, there are times when we create pieces exceeding the average or standard size. Yet, no matter how grand or powerful the piece may be, it too will transform, deteriorate, and come to an end. This undeniable fact of all living things, that they are perishable, is the essence of Ikebana. I believe that because of its limited time, Ikebana has the power to touch people’s hearts strongly."