Saturday 23 November 2013

Tropical Materials

Tropical materials.
Surfaces of leaves, keeping in mind the shape of the vase, contrast colours.

I couldn't resist making a quick arrangement using a few leaves and a flower from the gardens of the hotel I'm staying in at Bang Tao beach, Phuket. They have a wonderful garden with a lot of plants that I'm not familiar with, but also a few that I know - even lotus flowers!

In this arrangement I have intertwined some thin Spider Lily (Hymenocallis) leaves with the larger leave from a Parakeet flower (Heliconia Psittacorum), and finishing by sticking a red flower of Indian Head Ginger (Costus woodsonii). It has very small flowers coming out one by one from the red conic shape.

Thursday 21 November 2013

First Freestyle

The theme of last weeks ikebana class was sketching and creating a freestyle arrangement. The materials were limited to three straws, two leaves and two flowers. Using a limited amount of materials makes it easier not to crowd the arrangement, but keep the lines clear and work on the open spaces in the arrangement. Using two container also help to incorporate space in the work.

This was my beginners class' first attempt with freestyle ikebana. I think they all made a good job keeping in mind the principles we've been working with in the more fixed basic styles, and applying them in a creative encounter with the materials.

If you're in the Oslo area and would like to try ikebana, feel free to contact me as I am currently planning for a new beginners class to start early next year.

Friday 8 November 2013

More Cala - Curved and Intertwined

Flowers only, Curved lines, two containers
Ishu-ike, freestyle, moribana.

This blog post contains a few more Cala designs using the stems to create lines. The idea here is to connect two containers with curved and intertwined lines.

Flowers only, intertwining, two containers, curved lines.
Ishu-ike, abstract freestyle, moribana.

The stems were a bit too fresh for intertwining exercises. They get more flexible when they've been sitting around for a while. Even so, both my teacher and I were satisfied with the result. It was a good exercise to create as many different arrangements as possible with the same material.

Klick here if you want to see more Cala designs and read the first blog post in this short series.

Flowers only, intertwining, two containers, curved lines.
Ishu-ike, abstract freestyle, moribana.

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Abstract Cala Lily - Mass and Lines

Flowers only, straight and curved lines, mass and line.
Ishu-ike, abstract freestyle, moribana.

I found these magnificent Cala lilies at the market square today. They were exactly what I needed. Nice fall colours and long, ferm stems - perfect fore the challenge I got for this weeks class at my ikebana teacher: To make a variety of mass and line designs using the same material.

Flowers only, straight lines, mass and line.
Ishu-ike, abstract freestyle, moribana.

Mass and lines are two of the fundamental elements in ikebana. By showing different kinds of lines, basically straight and curved, in contrast with massed materials a peaceful balance is achieved.

In the teachings of the Sogetsu School it is usually said that the third fundamental element is colour. Christopher James, a friend of mine who is teaching ikebana in Melbourne, argues that it makes even more sense to exchange colour with space when it comes to the essentials of ikebana. The importance of space in Ikebana is, according to him, growing from the early Buddhist tradition of the triptychs, with the middle screen always depicting a “sacred” empty space. So, space has a traditional cultural connection to spirituality in Japan and is extremely important in ikebana. Maybe even to the extent that we should say "mass, line and space" rather than "mass, line and colour".

I find it to be an interesting observation that points out an important thing to keep in mind. When you think about it, the arrangements in this blog post are actually even more about the open space created between the lines, than the actual lines.

Flowers only, straight and curved lines, mass and line.
Ishu-ike, abstract freestyle, moribana.

The exercise of this blog post exemplifies in a good way that all parts of the plant is equally important in ikebana designs. It's not all about the flower part. In these arrangements the shapes of the stems are the main feature.

A couple of the stems had double sets of petals (I've never seen that before on a Cala), which helped a lot when it came to fixing the flowers against each other.

Flowers only, straight lines.
Ishu-ike, abstract freestyle, moribana.

Friday 1 November 2013

An Exercise in Humility

Variation no 2 upright. Rose hip and roses.

This weeks lesson at ikebana class was Variation no 2 upright style. In this variation humanity is placed lower than both heaven and earth.

Stella Coe interprets this as a representation of the humility of man before the wonders of heaven and earth.

You can find her interpretations of the basic Sogetsu styles in her book A practical and philosophical guide to Japanese flower arrangement, an ikebana classic that lives up to it's title and shares both practical and philosophical insights.
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