ikebana and life in japan

a blog about ikebana and life in japan


New Year's Ikebana and Winter Ikebana

Well, it has been over a month since I have posted. The only excuse, I was having too much fun getting ready for Christmas and then spending Christmas with my family back home in Arkansas. I ate and shopped and ate and shopped and ate and shopped. . . you get the picture. I always have a wonderful time at home, spending time with family and catching up over the past year; but, I also look forward to coming back to Japan so I can rest a little!
I guess I'll just jump right into the ikebana arrangements I did.

This year, once again, my friend asked me to do an arrangement for his shop's window. I was more than happy to have the challenge/experience again, so of course I said yes. Last year I used different types of pine to make the arrangement, with a couple of gold fans and some gold mizuhiki to add a bit of color to the arrangement.

I thought that I would do something a bit more traditional this year. Pine is a staple of New Year's material, and so are chrysanthemums. I found some young pine branches and some beautiful white, spider chrysanthemums. I thought that a touch of red would also look nice -- here in Japan, for celebrations, red and white are used as celebratory colors -- and bring in a celebratory feeling to the arrangement. I found some Senyro, which is also used during the New Year, and that added the red that I wanted for the arrangement.

I did the arrangement in a black vase, in a variation of the upright style. Because of the constraints of the space of the window, I couldn't extend some of the branches and flowers out to the front like you should for the upright style, thus a variation. I also had a small red and white New Year's decoration that I tied to one of the branches of the pine. That added a little more celebratory feel to the finished arrangement.

view from the front

view from the side

While I was home for Christmas, I also did an arrangement for my mother's table. I wanted to make a little forest on her table, and hopefully, it would be something that would last into January for her, or until she gets tired of it!

I looked for some little trees at different stores, but had no luck in finding any. Just when I thought I would have to do something different, I noticed some small pine trees outside of the Lowe's that is just down the road from where my parent's live. I whipped into the parking lot and took a look at them. They were originally $9.99 each, but were on sale for $2.25 each -- lucky! I scooped up 9 of the little trees and then found some small blue pine that were on sale for a dollar each. How lucky was that!

I found some containers at home, all of them green, that I thought I could use to make the arrangement. I thought I would do a forest in a one-row form down the center of the table. In Japan, I would use some kenzan to hold the trees in place, but I didn't have any with me. So, I ran to the local WalMart and picked up some floral foam, and right beside it, they had some small bags of moss. I knew that I could use that as the ground cover for the forest, so I picked up a couple of bags of that, too. Everything was falling into place. I had some red Hypericum and Baby's Breath, so I was ready to make my mother a forest.

I built up the forest with the pine trees, spreading them out along the table to complete my one-row form. I then added in the blue pine to give it some texture and add a denseness to the forest. I had some old branches/twigs that I inserted into the arrangement to give the feel of bare trees in the winter. I spaced out the Hypericum to give a little color and some variation and rhythm to the arrangement; and finally, I added in the Baby's Breath to make/give a sense of snow in the forest.

view from above

right side
the baren spot in the front right of the large container and the baren spot on the small container to the left
form connect the two parts of the arrangement and also give the illusion
of a clearing in the forest

the left side
the dense forest continues to the left of the large container

view on Christmas morning

the light shinning through on Christmas morning

a bright, happy forest
I also did an arrangement for my grandmother's table this year, too.

Last year, I did a circular form using Calla lilies. This year, I did a radial form using different greenery and white carnations. This arrangement can be viewed from any side, so the material on the left and the material on the right are different, giving more texture and variation to the arrangement. I used white carnations in the middle to bring a focus to the arrangement, and then filled in the middle with Baby's Breath, using a little on the right and left sides to connect both sides of the arrangement. Finally, I added red spray carnations to have the tri-fecta of Christmas colors -- red, white, and green. My grandmother was happy with the arrangement which put a smile on my face and hers, too!

view from the front (beautiful lighting!)

My sweet grandma. Can you believe she is 84? Beautiful!

three beautiful women -- my aunt, grandma, and mom
So, there you have it. That's what I've been up to since the last post.

I hope all of you who read the blog have a wonderful new year full of family, friends, laughter, and lots of love! Happy New Year!