ikebana and life in japan

a blog about ikebana and life in japan


Freestyle Ikebana with Bare Branches

Unryu weeping willow, monstera, Dendrobium phalaenopsis

Freestyle arrangements are one of my favorite to do (it seems like I say that about everything I post!). There are no rules as to where the materials should be placed, how long the branches should be, what types of materials should be used -- everything is free.

For this arrangement, I wanted to show off the unusual curves of the weeping willow. The branches are not contained within the container, but stretch out, around, and under creating a sense of movement. I used two monstera leaves to add some weight and mass to the work, creating an unbalance with the lines moving around the container. One leaf is inside the vessel, and the other is outside. This also creates a sense of movement and wonder, drawing the viewer into the work, trying to figure out how the materials are placed within the arrangement. Finally, to add a little color, I used three single blossoms of Dendrobium. Two were placed between the leaves to add a mass of color, and one was placed near the back to help draw the eye to the movement of the weeping willow.

a view slightly from the right side

 This view from the top shows more of the movement of the lines. Notice that the front has strong, bold lines that flow to the back of the container, which has thinner lines that are jumbled up. These opposites are important in ikebana. This unbalance creates a sense of balance -- the magic of ikebana.

"By observing the beauty and quietude of nature; the play of opposites, of yin and yang (in and yo in Japanese); and the asymmetrical balance of line, mass, and empty space, the ikebana practitioner strives to incorporate peace, harmony, reverence, and a feeling of centeredness into his or her arrangement and into daily life."  Joan D. Stamm

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