ikebana and life in japan

a blog about ikebana and life in japan


Autumn is in the Air

It has been a busy couple of weeks with work and teaching. I've also been working on a new piece for a zokei exhibit this weekend. I'll post some pictures of the exhibit sometime next week and show you what I made.

This past week, autumn has finally arrived. The days have been getting shorter and there is a definite chill in the air during the night. Last night, we were down in the single digits for the first time this season (keep in mind that the temperature is measured in Celsius). I have been loving this weather. Soon the leaves will begin to change, and the trees will be full of color. Every year, I am amazed at the colors I see. I wonder how this year will turn out?

Tonight, we were treated to a beautiful sunset. I was teaching a class of three 6th graders, and one of the students suddenly gasped and was pointing out the window. I turned around and was also caught in surprise by the sky. This past week has been gray and rainy, so I couldn't believe the colors that I was looking at. It didn't look real with the pinks and purples. And closer to the horizon, the sky was a blazing yellow-orange-purple color. We stopped class for a few minutes to enjoy the view. And just as suddenly as the sky lit up in color, it went gray with the sinking of the sun. Only with the crisp fall air can the sky light up like that. It was a great way to end the week.

The pictures don't do the sky justice. . .


Free Style Ikebana

After you have mastered the basics of ikebana -- where to place the stems, at what angle to slant them down or out, how long or short to cut each stem, etc. -- you can throw all the rules out the window and creat a Free Style arrangement. In this type of arrangement, anything can be used as materials, and any type of container can also be used, if you choose to use one. Everything is free, as long as a balance is created within the work.

While going through some pictues today, I found this Free Style arrangement I had done a few months ago. I started with five leaves of Aspidistra, or it's more common name Cast Iron Plant, and went from there. I thought a white container would be a nice contrast to the green leaves, so I chose to use Madoka, a basic container often used in Ohara-ryu Ikebana.

Usually with a Free Style arrangement, some type of movement is required, and the movement should extend beyond the confines of the container. I chose not to use any type of frog or spikes to hold the leaves in place, instead relying on the tension of the bent leaves and tape used in stragic places.

Have a look at the end result.

View from the front

View from above
View from the back