Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Straight Lines - Naturalistic and Abstract

Salix and Eustoma.
Naturalistic freestyle, straight lines.

Ikebana materials are traditionally arranged in a naturalistic way, showing branches and flowers the way they are naturally growing. The lines of the materials is the most important aspect, determining how to arrange them.

The philosophy of ikebana distinguishes between the nature or outer appearance of plants, and their inner character. This inner character, shussho, of each plant is what the ikebana artist is trying to express. This is true in any style of ikebana. Therefore, bringing out the lines of a material is not only about showing its outer nature, but also and even more so, to express the inner character inherited in the lines.

The Sogetsu school is known for a more abstract style, introduced by the founder Sofu Teshigahara. This approach to ikebana is not based on the natural growth of the materials, but rather on the  abstract shapes and qualities of them, often analysed as geometric shapes. From a Sogetsu point of view, it can be argued that the abstract approach, seeing behind the nature of the plant, is a more effective way of expressing the shussho or inner character. That's also why Sogetsu students always start with the basic styles and naturalistic arranging, before moving on to creating abstract freestyle.

Lilac branch, Salix, Mimosa.
Abstract freestyle, straight lines.

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