Friday, 3 October 2014

Workshop Exercises - Seeing Through Another's Eyes

As mentioned in a previous blog post I attended ikebana workshops in Stockholm a few weeks ago. The workshops were with sensei Kathleen Adair from the Ichiyo School in Tokyo. Both the Ichiyo School and the Sogetsu School (my school) are modern ikebana schools, Sogetsu being founded in 1927 and Ichiyo ten years later in 1937. This means they are both reinterpreting the old traditions of ikebana and aim for a contemporary expression.

Light and darkness.
Leaves, Chrysanthemum, bleached fern, green berries. Ceramic container.

Although there are many similarities between the different modern schools, there are also differences in the philosophies and aesthetics. That's what made it so interesting to get an opportunity to experience Ichiyo ikebana. It's like seeing ones own tradition through another's eyes.

Firethorn (Pyracantha) and Monstera leaves. Ceramic container.

What I first noticed from the demonstration was that while Sogetsu traditionally have grouped the different plant materials rather separately to emphasize the character of each material, at least in this Ichiyo demonstration the emphasis was on spreading the materials throughout the arrangement to create a flow and balance. There where also more different kinds of materials and colours blended together, while Sogetsu has favored the use of a restricted amount, often just two materials, to get a strong and characteristic result.

Variegated grass, Clematis and Freesia.
Bamboo basket and ceramic bowl.

Bearing these differences in mind I instructed myself to think out of the box and try the Ichiyo way. This turned out to be more difficult than expected. It soon got really messy and unbalanced. The theme of the first workshop was light and darkness and contrasts. The second day the task was looking at the material you choose thoroughly and see how you best can arrange it and create a relation to the container. The funny thing was that when the sensei was suggesting changes to improve the arrangements she asked me to to put things closer to create more distinct lines, and to group the flowers together to get a stronger focus point. She aslo gave some useful advice to illustrate the idea of creating a flow through the arrangements.

Palm leaves, Solidago and round-headed leek.
Ichiyo ceramic container with wholes.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails