Tuesday 25 August 2009

Exam Works

I passed the 4th level Sogetsu student exam this summer. It requires that you create a number of arrangements in different styles. These are two of the ikebanas I made.

Simplified arrangement with Day lily and branches with small red flowers.

Disassembling and rearranging the materials -without kenzan. Rowan and purple flowers.

Monday 24 August 2009

Samurai Arts of War and Peace

This summer I visited the Asian Art Museum in San Fransisco and their exhibition "Lords of the Samurai". It will run through September 20, so there is still time if you happen to be around.

On display is armors, weaponry, paintings, lacquer ware, ceramics and costumes from the private collections of the Hosokawa clan, pre-eminent on Japan's southern island of Kyushu, that dates back 700 years. Lots of good stuff, rare and beautiful. Much of it have never been shown outside of Japan before.

I really don't agree with the idea of war lords combining culture (bun) and arms (bu), balancing domination and authority with mastering artistic and spiritual pursuits. Still it's interesting to get to explore the ethics and core precepts of their culture.

There doesn't seem to have been any notable ikebana masters in the Hosokawa family, but some of them were heavely into tea ceremony. Hosokawa Sansai (1563-1646) was one of the family's most important tea practitioners. He was one of seven disciples of Sen Rikyu (1522-1591), the tea master who perfected the Way of Tea. Among the chado utensils exhibited is a tea bowl attributed to Raku Chojiro (died 1589) the first generation of Japan’s most famous family of ceramic artists, the Raku potters.

Another lord of the clan, Hosokawa Shigekata, was a visionary social reformer. He founded a garden for the propagation and study of medicinal plants. In one of the exhibition rooms there is a collection of detailed paintings of different varieties of peonies.

Wednesday 5 August 2009

Waste Recycling

Modern Ikebana uses a lot of odd materials. I sometimes feel that it is difficult to loose the old situation or function of things that are re-used in an arrangement, and that can be disturbing. Usually one will have to work a bit with the material for it to come trough as pure form and colour. If one succeeds the result can be a great sculptural effect to the arrangement.

It's fun to play with waste materials, and it's really "ikebana" too - taking things a part and giving them new life.

Scrap metal and Calla

Black wooden containers, electrical wire and Calla

Tuesday 4 August 2009

Materials from the Sea

Earlier this year I met Truus Marrée, an ikebana artist from The Netherlands. Her work was featured at an ikebana exhibition in Oslo City Hall Gallery, where she was the guest artist. I published one of her arrangements in an earlier post.

I found this web-TV presentation on Truus Marrée when I was surfing the net. I think it is from 2007. Have a look! It's in Norwegian but still interesting to just look at how she uses materials found on the Norwegian coast, where she has her summer house, and combines them with flowers from her garden.

It takes a while to load the video, so please give it a few minutes.
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