Sunday 15 July 2012

Nordic Lotus @ Kunstland

I'll be doing an ikebana installation at Kunstland 2012, an informal art festival held deep in the Norwegian forest in Söndre Land, 120 km North of Oslo. If you happen to be around on August 4th I hope you'll come and check it out.

The ikebana installation will be in a space on the second floor of an old barn. I've been told it's very rough and dark so this is going to be exciting. I love this kind of challenge and I've started planning - so I think it's going to work. Hopefully I'll be able to find suitable plant materials from the local area.

Jorunn Irene Hansvik (N) Sculpture
Roar Werner Eriksen (N) Painting
Cripsin Gurholt (N) Livephoto
Stein Koksvik (N) Drawing
Lennart Persson (S) Ikebana
Yngvar Larsen (N) Installation
Markus Brendmoe (N) Drawing and painting
Cecilie Telle Nakata (UK)
Hiro Nakata (J)
Erland Edenholm (S) Video
Turid Gyllenhammar (N) Installation

Kunstland is arranged by the Norwegian artists Markus Brendmoe and Yngvar Larsen. This slide show is from last years Kunstland festival (I was not there). A beautiful and fascinating location. Photo credit: Yngvar Larsen.

Friday 13 July 2012

Let's Start From the Very Beginning

Basic Upright. Branches with small pink flowers, Roses.
Cermaic bowl by Carl-Harry Stålhane, Studio Rörstrand.

A basic upright ikebana arrangement is always part of an Sogetsu exhibition. It is the first arrangement you learn when starting studying ikebana with the Sogetsu School. This one is from the Oslo Rose Days exhibition.

This type of naturalistic arrangement depicts a small landscape scene. In the summertime the arrangements are richer and have more leaves and volume, showing off the energy of plants growing.

Basic upright is an optimistic arrangement, symbolizing plants stretching towards the heaven and also human capacity to reach spiritual goals. It's part of human nature to stretch for what is good and beautiful. We all have it in us.

Thanks for taking time to walk with me through the exhibition. This is the fourth and last of my contributions this year. It's been nice walking with you.

Thursday 12 July 2012

Morning Dewdrops

"Morning Dew", simplified arrangement.
Campanula rapunculoides (Bellflower), Hosta leaf, sprayed water drops.

Todays arrangement from the Rose Days Exhibition is a fun experiment using a leaf as a hana dome (flower holder). The Hosta leaf is curled in a curve by fixing the stem through a cut in the front of the leaf. The flower drinks water that is sprayed on the leaf and the stem of the flower goes through a cut in the curve of the leaf. This fixture is enough to hold the flower in place.

Trying to make an arrangement as simple as possible and at the same time interesting is a great exercise. Simplicity often communicates stronger than complexity. A simplified arrangement is fragile and often has an inherent sensitivity that touches peoples hearts.

dawn's glow
hasn't quite yet dyed
the dewdrops 
-Issa, 1821
Translation by David G. Lanoue.

Tokyo Nezu Museum - From Flowers to Tea

If you are in Tokyo this week this exhibition on flower and tea gatherings is a must. I've only visited the website of this fabulous museum, but will definitely treat myself to a visit on my next trip to Japan.

The exhibition From Flowers to Tea: The Art of the Elegant Muromachi Gathering runs until Monday July 16th. Here is a presentation from the museum website:

"During the Muromachi period, tea ceremony and flower arrangement displays were two popular forms of socializing. This exhibition features the utensils used in such Muromachi period social events. 
Muromachi period tea and flower aficionados collected superb examples of these different utensils, and used tea and flower events as opportunities to display and enjoy their collections. Many of the objects used in these social gatherings first came to Japan in the 13th and 14th centuries for use in Buddhist temples for both tea drinking and flower arrangements to adorn ritual spaces. These practices led to the import of a wide variety of tea and flower utensils into Japan from China, the Korean Peninsula and Southeast Asia. Later these imported tea and flower utensils were dispersed to members of the aristocracy and the military ruling class who each collected them for use in tea, flower and linked-verse gatherings. Many of the finest examples have been treasured over the centuries and remain with us today."
 Read more on the Nezu Museum website.

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Reflections on Water

"Reflexion", arrangement without kenzan, straight lines and mass.
Grass, Agapanthus, Baby's Breath.
Sogetsu plastic container by Hiroshi Teshigahara.

Water is always an important element in an ikebana arrangement, and even more so in the hot summer season. Water gives a feeling of calmness and freshness. It's cooling and relaxing.

I'll be presenting three more arrangements from the ikebana exhibition at Oslo Rose Days, with "water" as the theme of the arrangements.

This first one, "Reflexion", works on the contrast between the curving lines of the blue container and the straight lines of the manipulated grass straws. This is an abstract interpretation of the blitzing reflections that sometimes appears when bright sunlight hits a water surface. With the airy mass of blue and white flowers I also wanted to grasp the sky that reflects in the water and the calm feeling that comes from watching water surfaces.

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Welcome - Come Closer

"Creek bed", floor arrangement 180x120x60 cm.
Dry Aspen tree with lichen, Lupins, Pine, Baby's Breath.

The exhibition at Oslo Rose Days is over. The weather was better than expected and we had two busy days with many visitors. We had more space than usual this year, and even had room for a floor arrangement that could welcome visitors into the exhibition.

The theme of this year's exhibition was "water", and all the arrangements where related to different aspects of the theme. In the floor arrangement I was inspired by the water running down a forest creek, using dry wood, blue curving Lupin flowers, foaming Baby's breath, and long swirling green leaves.

As you can see the arrangement is based on the balance between mass and line, and straight and curved lines. In a way it is also an exercise in reshaping materials as the tree branches gets a quite different appearance when all the curved smaller branches are shaped into a mass and the taller straight ones are cleared form twigs.

Exhibition view just before opening.
The Freia hall in Oslo with original Munch paintings on the walls.

Detail of floor arrangement "Creek bed".

Saturday 7 July 2012

Exhibition Sneak Peek

Today I've been working on this years Rose days exhibition in the Freia park in Oslo. It's a lot of work to prepare everything.  But also a great joy to get the opportunity to share ikebana arrangements with people.

I'm posting one of my sketches as a sneak peek of the exhibition. In all there will be ca 20 different ikebana arrangements, and in addition Japanese woodblock prints, lacquerware, kimonos and porcelain.

The exhibition is open this Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 pm, and the theme of this years arrangements is water.

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Oslo Rose Days Ikebana Exhibition

If you are in Oslo this weekend, make sure not to miss the 2012 Rose Days arranged by the Norwegian Rose Society. It takes place in the Freia park, a secluded garden at the Freia chocolate factory.

There will be an ikebana exhibition in the Freia Hall. My ikebana teacher Lisbeth Lerum, other students and I will be there to meet you. This year there will also be an exhibition of Japanese wood block prints.

The exhibition is open this Saturday and Sunday only, from noon to 5 pm. Welcome!

Photo update:
Floor arrangement Creek Bed
Morning Dew
Basic Upright

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