One of the most important materials in ikebana is "space." Using space wisely creates a larger arrangement that has a feeling of movement and helps to bring out the beauty of the materials.
For this arrangement, I used three branches of yuki-yanagi, or spiraea thunbergii, and three stems of snapdragon. A single branch is placed high in the arrangement, filling up the vertical space. Another branch is placed low in the arrangement, stretching out to the front, giving the yuki-yanagi and snapdragons a chance to interact. The tall branch was pruned back quite a bit to give the arrangement some space. The open space helps to show the beautiful and interesting curve of the branch and also creates a place for the snapdragons to be showcased.
And did you notice how all of the points of the snapdragons are pointing up? In Ohara-ryu ikebana, it is important to do this. It makes the flowers or branches that you arrange feel as if they are growing up towards the warmth of the sun. Their energy is going up. They feel "genki", or lively. If the tips of the snapdragons were facing down or off to the side, they would not look happy, but sad. These little things also add to the understated beauty of the arrangement.
|The Japanese name of the branch is Yuki-yanagi. Yuki is the Japanese word|
for snow. When these branches are in full bloom, they are covered
in small white flowers, making the branches look as if they are
covered in snow.
This view from the side shows how far forward the arrangement reaches out towards the viewer. Reaching out forward helps to bring the viewer closer to the flowers and makes for a friendly arrangement. But when it is viewed from the front, you don't notice the angle of the flowers. You can also see one small branch in the rear of the arrangement. It is placed in the back to counterbalance the weight in the front of the arrangement.
Doing arrangements in a vase can be a little tricky, because there is no frog or kenzan that the flowers and branches are pushed into. When doing an arrangement in a vase, you use special cutting techniques and also add some extra "stoppers" to the branches to keep them in place. I'll have to do another post on that another time. These techniques are what set Ohara-ryu apart from other schools of ikebana.
Space. Another important material for Ohara-ryu ikebana.
Having a little "nothing" gives the arrangement "something".
(I hope to be off of my crutches by next week. I have been working on building the muscle back up in my left leg and walking with a little weight on it. My knee feels better each day and it has a greater range of motion with each passing day. I will be running before you know it! Well, probably not, especially since I never ran before. But, it is a good thought, nonetheless!)