ikebana and life in japan

a blog about ikebana and life in japan


Flower Artist Azuma Makoto -- Amazing!

I think of ikebana as an art form, one that has been in practice and development for over 500 years. What originally started out as an offering to Buddha has evolved into an art form for the modern age.

Azuma Makoto, a Japanese flower artist, has taken the art of flowers to another level. He has approached the world of flowers as an artist, not someone who does ikebana. He has truly created a new art form that expresses the beauty of flowers in new and unusual ways. One word to describe his work -- amazing!

add campaign for AQUOS tvs*
frozen flowers*
frozen flowers with a pine tree suspended in a metal frame with wire*
a moss instillation*
exhibit for the Shanghai Exhibition last year*
He is also a performance artist. Watch this mesmerizng video of him arranging flowers, all behind a screen, so all you see is the shadow.

Click here for his site to see more pictures and videos. Simply amazing!

*all pictures taken from his site


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope that everyone had a great time over the holidays.

I had a wonderful time at home in Arkansas over Christmas -- lots of shopping and eating and visiting with family, and a relaxing new year here in Japan. I've had a little over three weeks off from work and have enjoyed every minute of it. I hope I can remember how to teach when I have to go back to work tomorrow. . .

The first ikebana that you do for the new year is called 初生け, hatsu ike. Usually, I don't do much during this time of year. There are no lessons, and I'm usually too busy relaxing to do anything. But this year, a friend of mine asked me to do something for his shop window. I had never done anything like this before, but I thought it would be a good challenge for me (I want to challenge myself more this year in ikebana) and get the new year started off right.

For New Year, pine is a popular item to use. It is a long lasting material, strong in the cold weather, and green during the white winter. I thought that I would use three different types of pine to make an arrangement. My friend had a beautiful vase that his grandmother had made, and I thought it would be perfect for the arrangement.


After finishing the arrangement, I thought that it looked good, but it was missing something. It needed a little something to make it gorgeous, to show it off for the New Year. I went home and made a small pick of gold to go in the arrangement. I used some gold paper to fold a couple of fans and then used mizuhiki to make some bands of gold to go along with it.


I think the little bit of gold sets off the arrangement and gives it the special "New Year" feel. I have to admit, I have driven by the shop several times to see the piece in the window. You don't often get to see your works out in the public like this. Kind of exciting!

It was a good experience for me and got me motivated to do something at home.

New Year's Eve

New Year's Day with the morning light on the flowers

While home for Christmas, I also did a few arrangements.

Mom's dining room table
Five little arrangements along the table runner.
The red lamp was my father's mother's lamp.
I also went to my grandmother's house to decorate her table for her.

View from above
Circular Form with calla lilies

I think I have started the year off right. I plan on challenging myself more this year and hope to grow more in my ikebana.

I hope everyone has a great New Year! May the year bring you family, friends, laughter, and love.