Sunday 27 September 2009

Hanging Flowers

Rowan and Allium.

Japanese Maple, Bergenia and Mustard flowers.

Sunday 20 September 2009

Like a Prayer

To me, the name Issey Miyake means perfume and exclusive black clothes. To others he is more of a guarantee of good taste and style. In the foreword to the book "Inspired Flower Arrangemnets" by Toshiro Kawase, Issey Miyake confesses that he cannot recall ever once having been deeply moved by a flower exhibition, and that he prefers flowers growing wild in nature. Still his conception of art was transformed in the encounter with the tatehana (standing flowers) of Toshiro Kawase.

This is a beautiful book with large photos of flowers arranged in japanese antique containers from temples, museums and private collections. At the end of the book there are comments to
each photo. Here are two of my favorites:

"All flower arrangement is a form of prayer. As I (...) stand the flowers, and give them water, I continually pray to something in nature. Through prayer, the starting point for all flower arrangement, the true heart of all plant life is revealed."

"The pleasure of arranging flowers lies in discovering the beauty of form, which gradually becomes apparent through the process of simplifying the materials used. By cutting a flower, you are able to penetrate the reality of it's form - a reality hidden while it is blooming in it's natural state. This is the unique fascination of ikebana; if not for that it would be a sin to cut the flowers."

The book also has a very interesting review of the history of ikebana, giving more attention than other reviews that I have read to the Shinto roots of Ikebana. It also focuses on the balanse between the tatehana style of ikebana, growing ever larger and more elaborate, showy but also sacred and formal, and the nageire style that came to symbolize the aesthetics of simple restraint and the momentariness of life.

by Toshiro Kawase
Foreword by Issey Miyake
Kodansha International, Tokyo and New York, 1990
120 pages. 74 large colour photos.

Friday 18 September 2009

Tall Green Leaves

Sogetsu Master Instructor Mr.Toshiyuki Ohki visited Norway last week and gave a demonstration at the Historical Museum. I wasn't able to be there, but I was told he made a fantastic arrangement with Cat's tail. I guess that is why my ikebana teacher gave me a bunch of Cat's tail leaves and told me to create an extra tall arrangement with them. I combined the leaves with some really beautiful Gentian flowers that I found in a shop. Nice and strong blue and green coulors. The leftovers where used for a Basic Upright arrangement, also with extra heigth.
Focus on straight lines, vertical arrangemnet, freestyle Kabuwake. Cat's tail leaves and Gentian.
Basic Upright arrangement. Strelitzia leaves, Gentian and Gerbera.

Saturday 5 September 2009

Lunching with Roses

Can you imagine having your daily lunch in a cantine with enormous Munch paintings on the walls? That's what life is like for the workers at the Freia chocolate factory in Oslo. And they even get to eat as much chocolate as they like. The cantine is facing a secluded garden. This is where Oslo Rose Festival takes place every summer.

I've been helping out with the ikebana exhibition at Oslo Rose Festival for four years now. It's only up for two days so we're keeping it a smaller exhibition. I made these five arrangements refering to flower themes in poetry and literature.

No wind; grass, dark pink rose and wild flowers in a raku vase.

"The most beautiful rose has been found"
(Hans Adolf Brorson 1694-1764)

Re-circling (for Sofu); scrap metal, lily and pine.

Nageire, Variation number 4; Spinosa branches with pink roses in a naked raku vase.

Summer Night; maple, yellow roses and pine.

"Turning strong men into dreamers"
(Nils Collett Vogt 1864-1937)

Further into the forest (Little Red Riding Hood); Larch and red roses.

"And whenever she had picked one,
she fancied that she saw a still prettier one farther on,
and ran after it."

You'll find more about this ikebana exhibition on my Norwegian website, including photos of some really nice arrangements by my teacher Lisbeth Lerum.
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