Wednesday 29 February 2012


In the Sogetsu School curriculum there are two lectures about using fruits and vegetables as the main materials in ikebana arrangements. The first one, Morimono, belongs to the category where plant materials are arranged either fleeting in water or placed directly on a tray or a table. The other lecture is a freestyle arrangement where the focus is on creating a sculptural form using fruits and vegetables. In addition to this one can of course argue that the lesson about arranging fruit-bearing branches is also about using fruits.

Ginger root, pomegranate and turnips.

This week I'll be posting some pictures of arrangements with fruits and vegetables. I'm starting off with a very simple morimono arrangement on a wooden tray. This is not a very inventive arrangement, but in a way it's a good illustration on how to translate the principles of three main branches to other materials than branches.

In traditional ikebana arrangements the balance is achieved from the lengths and proportions of the three main branches that are creating a triangular shape. Transferred to fruit and vegetables the balance is not about the length but more about the shape and weight of the fruit. The most dominating fruit or vegetable will then work as the Shin branch. A fruit that has less volume but is still quite weighty will be a complementary Soe, and one or several smaller fruits with a different character will work as Hikae. You'll get the same triangular shape, but you'll have to think more in terms of volume and wight than of length.

Morimono arrangements are used to symbolize abundance and prosperity, often in relation to the autumn harvesting and the richness of what the earth can produce. These arrangements have a history that can be traced back to fruit offerings that were placed before Buddha statues in temples.

If you return this week you'll see more of the tasty temptations placed on this tray, and also other fruits and vegetables. Stay tuned.

Monday 27 February 2012

New Small Vase

Birch branches and Cymbidium.

I'm constantly hunting for new vases to be used for ikebana. On my last trip to Sweden I found several goodies. This one is a small ceramic vase by Mari Simmulson for Uppsala Ekeby. I haven't investigated the production number but from the look of it I would guess that this vase was designed in the 1940s or 1950s. I think it looks great with a simplified arrangement such as this one, with just one birch branch and two yellow Cymbidium flowers. The vase has a brown, orange and blue glaze and the shape seems inspired by Japanese or Chinese vases - how appropriate.

Saturday 25 February 2012

Exhibition Photos - Ikebana

These are my ikebana arrangements for the exhibition "LORDS OF THE CAPITAL, WHY NOT REMAIN HERE AND LENGTHEN YOUR DAYS" by Aeron Bergman and Alejandra Salinas @ 0047 Oslo.

Ikebana and Do Not Build Any Homes Below This Point, 2012, sandblasted "coral sea" granite and sheet of Marmoleum™ linoleum.

Lombardy poplar, Gerbera and Aspidistra.
1960s studio ceramics by Erik Pløen, Norway.

Ikebana and Contagion, 2012, Belgian linnen, patch cables and ocean sound.

Weeping willow, Lilies and desert plant.
Japanese freestyle ikebana vase.

Exhibition view.
Styrofoam platform with artwork.

Birch, Asparagus fern, Cymbidium and Mimosa.
Midcentury vases by Gunnar Nylund
and Carl-Harry Stålhane for Rörstrand Ateljé, Sweden.

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Red Lily and Willow

Weeping willow, red lily, Aspidistra and an unknown dessert plant.
Vase by Brigitte Schneider, Atelier Tokibana, France.

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Exhibition Photos - Lords of the Capital

The opening night of Aeron Bergman and Alejandra Salinas' first solo exhibition in Oslo turned out to be a wonderful experience. The pictures are now on the web together with a presentation text by the artists, and also pictures from the ikebana arrangements and the live ikebana performance.

I've become really fascinated by the ideas behind this exhibition. Here is a teaser from the presentation text by Aeron Bergman and Alejandra Salinas:
"Storage media in human history include both biological and inanimate objects. Tradition is a powerful biological method of idea transmission. From oral history to daily ritual, old ideas adapt to new contexts and the ideas are altered, often radically, while still maintaining some essence. Examples of physical inanimate storage media include grave markers, ceramics, linen, buildings, printed matter, and recently, the unstable hard drive. One difference between the biological and the inanimate archive is that objects that have survived long periods of time are orphans, stripped of their relevant contexts. Therefore we often appreciate old objects primarily for their formal novelty, or just for the fact that they are old. The biological archive, traditions, rituals and human practices, on the other hand, exists precisely because we have adapted old ideas into current contexts."
Photo courtesy: Salinas Bergman

Sunday 12 February 2012

Aeron Bergman and Alejandra Salinas @ 0047 Oslo

Opening reception Friday, February 17th 7 pm: "Lords of the capital, why not remain here and lengthen your days?"

0047 presents artists Aeron Bergman and Alejandra Salinas in an exhibition exploring how ideas travel through history. The longevity, preservation and durability of ideas depend on the format of their “time vehicle”, be it in form of traditions and rituals, physical forms like books and printed money or today’s massively emerging digital storage. Bergman and Salinas expose the frailty of human history with works made by money bills, grave signage, ceramics, flowers and honorary plaques.

I've been asked to contribute with three ikebana arrangements. The ikebana arrangements are an integrated part of the exhibition, and I will be doing one of the arrangements live at the opening reception as a performance.

0047 is located at Grønland in Oslo.
The exhibition will be up until March 25.

Saturday 11 February 2012

Exhibition Preparations

Preparing for an exhibition usually requires lots of planning, visualization, sketching and testing different materials. It's kind of fun if you can keep a playful spirit. I'm currently working with a project for an art exhibition in Oslo. I'll give you a sneak peek of my preparations. This is what it looks like at an early stage in the planning.

Thursday 9 February 2012

Utsurawa-ba @ Cozmo's

I've been following the monthly sessions by Utsurawa-ba, So-sen Imai (ikebana) & Koyu (bass), on the internet for a while and I always find them really inspiring. This video is from their performance in December last year.

I hope to go to Japan later this year and will definitely look out for their shows to see if I can get a chance to see them in real life. Wouldn't that be fun?
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