Friday 31 December 2010

A Ship of Good Fortune

Dried straws, Lisianthus and an Aspidistra leaf.

In classical ikebana the boat arrangements form a category of their own. There are ships lying in the port, ships coming in, ships going out, and ships in storm. A treasure ship coming in is a symbolic wish for all the good things in life. In addition to being related to the potential dangers of being out in a boat, ships are also metaphors of the voyage of life.

Pine and Freesia.

I'm posting two boat arrangement as a New Years greeting. The first is a modern interpretation of a ship resting on calm water in the port after a long trip. The other has more of a classical Seika form and represents a ship going home, bringing treasures from far away. Since this is a winter arrangement I've used very little materials.

Ikebana arrangements for New Years are usually not boat arrangements. As all seasonal ikebana they have their own flowers with symbolic meaning. Still - what can be more appropriate for New Years than an arrangement that carries all our wishes for a good year to come.

Friday 24 December 2010

Red and White for Christmas

The Spirit of Christmas.

It's been a snowy December, so I decided to go for a white and red themed Christmas ikebana this year. Silver painted Matsumata branches, pine, red Carnations and Baby's breath.

I'd like to thank all of my readers and contacts through 2010, and wish you all a happy holiday.

Tuesday 21 December 2010

Web Greetings

Through working with ikebana and writing this blog I have made new friends from around the world. We have never met, but we communicate and we exchange pictures and ideas.

This last year, Facebook has become a great meeting place for ikebana enthusiasts. Yesterday Hitoshi Inoue, one of my ikebana friends, sent me a greeting telling me that he had created three Christmas ikebana arrangements that he wanted me to see. Since the greeting was also to all of my friends, I'm reposting Hitoshi's artwork for you all.

If you are on Facebook you should visit the group simply named Ikebana, which I believe is the largest ikebana group on Facebook. There is also a Sogetsu Ikebana group, and several others.

Tuesday 14 December 2010

More Christmas

Branches with lichens, Poinsettia, Gypsophila and pine,
in a black wooden container.

Black and red, with a little dash of green makes a stylish colour scheme for Christmas. Add a silver or gold coloured ornament for a more festive look, and give the luxurious large roses a coating of glittery red metal threads. Pine is a symbol of long life, and driftwood and branches with lichens brings the good feelings of old traditions.

Black painted driftwood, roses, pine,
and Christmas ornament in a tall black vase.

This last arrangement I am not too fond of myself. It reminds me too much of the 1970's plastic decorations of my childhood. It would probably be a lot better with nicer candles though. Anyhow, it's an idea that you can work on if you like. All the materials are fixed on a large kenzan in the shallow bowl with water.

Dried salix, candles, pine, red carnations

and Christmas ornaments on a red glass bowl.

Monday 13 December 2010

White Christmas

Driftwood, Poinsettia, cypress and glass icicle,
with a white porcelain vase.

Christmas is getting closer. It's fun to plan and make preparations. I haven't decided yet what this years ikebana arrangement will be, but I found an old photo of a white Christmas ikebana from my archives to put us all in the mood.

I will be posting more Christmas arrangements tomorrow - please com back for more inspiration.

Thursday 9 December 2010

Purple for Advent

Purple is the colour of advent. In churches it's the liturgical colour of penitence and fasting as well as the colour of royalty to welcome the advent of the baby Jesus as king. Here in Norway a lot of purple candles and paper napkins are sold in the interior design shops. In the flower shops purple flowers are competing with the red or with Christmas flowers.

Advent arrangement in a white porcelain vase.
Norwegian spruce, purple tulips, pine
and thin handmade Japanese paper.

Seasonal ikebana arrangements is a big thing in Japanese culture. Every seasonal feast has its own flowers with a symbolic meaning. Today ikebana is spread around the world. Why not make a special ikebana arrangement for the advent season? I made this arrangement a couple of years ago. It has a seasonal feeling to it - like walking in a snowy forest on a crispy cold winter's day. If you want you can use red instead of purple and make it a Christmas ikebana.

Tuesday 7 December 2010

Collage Lotus

I was pleasantly surprised today as I took a tour visiting blogs I'm following to check out what's new. I started following Kathryn at Collage Diva a while ago because she was posting ikebana arrangements from her ikebana class. Reading her blog have also opened my eyes to her beautiful original collage artwork that is displayed on the blog.

The surprise this time was that she had created an original artwork for some of the bloggers that have left comments on her blog. Each piece is a combination of her own illustrations and hand-painted papers - all in her very own Collage Diva style. I love it, thanks Kathryn!

I'm posting "my" collage for you all. Please visit Collage Diva for more original artwork.

Sunday 5 December 2010

Scrapbook Traditions

Taking ikebana lessons usually also means taking photos of the arrangements, and sometimes drawing the finished results. This will help you see the development in your work over time. When you are drawing the arrangements you also learn to pay the attention to details, which is really important in ikebana.

There is a long tradition of collecting pictures and drawings of ikebana arrangements into books. In the Sogetsu school every student is expected to document his or her work in workbooks that are handed in when it's time for a new exam, a bit like a scrapbook or an ikebana diary.

I'm currently updating my workbooks with new ikebana arrangements. Some of the photos can be found on this blog. This process reminded me that I had planned to post a link to an interesting collection of ikebana drawings that is available on the internet. The library at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington DC holds a collection of old ikebana books that were collected by Ellen Gordon Allen, founder of the organisation Ikebana International. On the website of the library you can download the book "Rikka shodoshu", published already in 1684 in Japan. The book title means "The right principles of rikka". It's a three-volume set of color woodblock illustrations. Each volume represents one of three styles of rikka arrangements known as shin, gyo, and so. They are also categorized by season. Volume one contains an introductory text in Japanese and English - so go ahead and explore the long traditions of documenting ikebana arrangements.

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Anticipation and Originality

Anticipation or being enthusiastic, is an emotion involving pleasure (and sometimes anxiety) in considering some expected or longed-for good event. (Wikipedia)

I found this video for you on YouTube today. A guy and his scissors in an autumnal landscape.

You never know what awaits you when you are out looking for materials to use in an ikebana arrangement. Branches and plants look different when you take the time to notice their character. In anticipation and with a smile on your face you walk home with your newfound treasures.
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