ikebana and life in japan

a blog about ikebana and life in japan


Winter Landscape Ikebana by the Waters Edge

Well, it's been a while since my last post. Why? I had to have knee surgery to repair the meniscus in my left knee. I'll spare you all the details. Let's just say the surgery went well, and I am on my way to recovery. I only have two to three more weeks of using crutches. So, maybe, by the beginning of March, I will be walking normal, using my own two legs, not one leg and crutches.

Anyway, before I had to go in the for the operation, I did get to have my ikebana lessons a couple of times.

The first week, I did a landscape arrangement portraying a scene at the waters edge. It is a late winter arrangement, so there is no snow or no materials conveying the image of snow. The arrangement just depicts the beauty of a cold, winter day, with the first flowers starting to bloom.

The Japanese narcissus have started to bloom along the edge of a river in the forest. And the camellia have also stated to bloom. The air over the water's edge is warmer, so the first blossoms of the camellia open ever so slightly.

With this view, from slightly above, you can see that the blooming camellia is still hiding under the leaf, protecting itself from the cold of the winter, and the snow that could still fall quietly to the earth.

The branch of the tree bends out over the water's edge, having been blown and broken by the harsh winds of winter. And a single leaf of the narcissus has also been bent by the winds, also stretching out over the water's edge.

To me it still feels a little cold with the vast amount of water showing in the container, but the hope of the colorful and warm spring to come can also be felt with the narcissus and camellia blossoms.

I think that the Japanese narcissus is one of my favorite flowers. The sweet smell is intoxicating, and the small, delicate flowers are so beautiful against the green of the leaves. Trying to show the beauty of the narcissus leaves is a little difficult, trying to make them look as natural as possible, all the while deconstructing and then reconstrucing the grouped leaves.

It has been very cold here in Hanamaki. Most of the past month has been below freezing, even during the day, with lots of snow falling quietly to the ground. This arrangement just reminds me that after a cold, harsh winter, there is the beauty of spring to look forward to . . . along with me walking again!

I hope you are all having a warm winter, wherever you are.


Nora Kay said...

This is very lovely. Sure makes me wish for Spring a little faster. I am always amazed with your wonderful arrangments. You really do a nice job.

Hideki said...

Beautiful! I like this style ikebana.

Stephen Coler said...

Thanks, Mom. My favorite season is winter, but I am usually ready for spring when it finally arrives. The cherry blossoms make the season!

Stephen Coler said...

Thanks, Hideki! The natural landscapes let you bring the outdoors in.

Anonymous said...

Very beautiful, really nice arrangement. I liked your word picture, too, describing the work---especially the part where you talk about the camellia sheltering itself under the leaves lest it snows again. Flowers DO have a sentient quality when they are viewed with a sensitive heart. I also like the way you portrayed the vast expanse of cold water, the immensity and force of nature, making way for the arrival of spring.

Reading your thougths, you made me realize that ikebana is capable of addressing multiple landscapes and levels of meanings at the same time. Wonderful! There's the natural landscape on a literal level (the cold winter pond), and then there's what could be called the landscape of the mind (on a more spiritual and metaphorical level). Your summing up the composition by using the word "hope" is just that---the arrangement becomes a metaphor for hope. And yes, I do see it expressed beautifully.

On a different note, take good care of your knee. Didn't know that you were undergoing surgery. Glad to hear that it went well. And may this new year be a wonderful year for you.


Stephen Coler said...


your posts are always so thought provoking to me. thanks!

ikebana definitely has many different levels, which can be seen/understood/comprehended/noticed/felt by the viewer and the person who created the arrangement. each person sees and feels a different thing, which to me, makes ikebana an art -- the interpretation of the onlooker.

thanks also for the wishes with the knee. i am slowly getting back to normal.