Monday 18 February 2013

A Bud of Promise

Moribana. Slanting variation 1. Magnolia and Lisianthus.
Kenzan covered with broken glass for an icy effect.

A bud bears a promise of spring and new life. That's why buds are so important in ikebana, perhaps even more important than the open flowers. With a winter as long as the Norwegian, buds on naked branch awakens deep feelings. The bud is a symbol of hope.

In this arrangement, variation number 1 slanting style, the main feature is the big open space between the Magnolia branches. It symbolises the greatness of universe, a bit like when you get awe-struck by nature. A human being is quite small when standing under the big open sky, wether it is a starry night or a crispy cold winters day. In the slanting style the tallest branch stretches out in a soft elegant diagonal movement. Heaven is  close to the earth - and not necessary that far away from anyone of us. Every ikebana arrangement bears a message about relationships and relatedness. The message of this style is that of both distance and closeness at the same time.

Icy wintry wind
Magnolia buds closed tight
Patiently waiting

(Haiku by AshiAkira)

Looking for poetry on Magnolias I found this nice haiku that I would like to share with you. It's a newly posted haiku from AshiAkira's blog. If you like haiku and other poetry I recommend that you  visit this blog. It has a lot of inspiring stuff and it's all original work.

Sunday 17 February 2013

Satoru Kato - Installation Works

A gigantic red ribbon lingers between Bamboo trunks in a London park. It's an ikebana installation by contemporary ikebana artist Satoru Kato for the Crossover uk 2001 festival. The horizontal red line  near the ground contrasts the vertical lines of the bamboo trunks and the many green colours of the park. Crossover uk uses the visual arts to facilitate the exchange of ideas to promote cultural awareness between communities of different cultural origins and backgrounds. They have a special focus on Japan and South East Asia, and Satoru Kato has been involved in organizing exhibitions and participated in the 2001 and 2005 festival.

Crossovers Ikebana Installation 2001
Crossovers, Ikebana Installation (2001), Mile End Park, London.
Born in 1944 and having practiced Ikebana since the 1960s, Satoru Kato is no longer a newcomer. With a focus on presenting the "life of material itself", he is producing artistic events, installations and performances, working as an ikebana artist, ikebana critic and curator.

In praise of shadows at Tsumari
In praise of shadows at Tsumari (2009), Koshirakura, Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale.
As a member of Group F, Satoru Kato has also been part of the Ikebana House exhibitions at the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennales. The 2009 installation In praise of shadows at Tsumari consisted of weaves of plant materials in a modern expression, creating a dialogue with the old wooden building where it was exhibited. The description on the exhibition website gives the background for the work:
"Burning rice husks in the garden — a scene from the artist’s hometown evoked in his memory. Identifying memories of his hometown with Yomogihira village, the artist weaves together the memory of these landscapes. In sensing the subtle breathing of the house, the artist spontaneously alters his artwork. This is an approach that is unique to Ikebana artists. Similar to creating poems by association, the creation of art is associated and processed as a whole".
In the 2012 installation Tsumaarikourin the main element was a large red ball shaped object filling up the whole room.

Tsumaarikourin (2012), Koshirakura, Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale.
When I was looking for information on the work by Satoru Kato I came across a photo book documenting his sculptural ikebana and installations from the 1980s. I was able to buy this rare book and it is now part of my ikebana library. This last picture is from the book and it shows an avant-garde ikebana installation with large cardboard tubes. I love the colours and the use of straight and curved lines in this 3 meter high sculpture.

Satoru Kato, Untitled (1982) Cardboard tubes, 300 x 90 x 300.

Hana: Natural Material Art Arrangements of Satoru Kato
by Satoru Kato
Soft cover
Published by Satoru Kato 1989

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Enduring Winter

Naturalistic Freestyle, vertical arrangement.
"Bamboo" Knotweed, Pine, White trumpet lily, Ilex berries, Lisianthus

Surviving winter can be a tough challenge if you are a delicate flower - no matter if you're a human being or a plant. In ikebana, plants that can endure hard times are celebrated as carriers of strength and symbolic meaning.

A much loved motive in East asian art is the Three Friends of Winter; bamboo, pine and plum.  In Japan these three plants are known as 'the three auspicious friends' and are associated with the start of the lunar New Year, bringing good wishes for the year to come. Although the Japanese New Year is nowadays celebrated on January 1st., it is still sometimes marked on the traditional day following the Chinese lunar calendar.  In 2013 the date of the Lunar New Year was February 10th, so this blog post is not that far out.

Bamboo symbolises longevity, pine prosperity, and plum steadfastness. Together they bring stamina and staying power. Plum flowers are of course also a messenger of spring and new life. In every winter arrangement there should always be a hint of spring - an assurance of new life.

In this New Years arrangement, using the traditional colours white, red and green, the bamboo is cut in a fashion typical to the kadomatsu New Years decoration. Actually it is not bamboo, but Knotweed which is easier to grow in a cold climate such as the Norwegian. As you can see there are no plum branches. But there is pine and there is a hint of spring.

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