ikebana and life in japan

a blog about ikebana and life in japan


Fall Colors and Coffee Filters -- Fall Ikebana Exhibition

 The past two weeks have been full of ikebana fun.

From November 2nd to the 4th, the annual Hanamaki Arts Festival was held. I have been doing an ikebana work for the exhibition for the past 12 years. It is something I look forward to each year. But this year, I had even more to be excited about -- two of my students also did a work for the exhibition!

We spent a few weeks leading up to the exhibition trying out different styles and materials, trying to figure out what each one of them would like to do. One student decided to do nageire, an arrangement in a vase. We went to the flower shop together and chose the flowers that she wanted to use. It was a very dynamic yet chic arrangement. She did a wonderful job!

fasciated willow, Dracaena, carnation
My other student decided to do a Hanamai arrangement. I think she practiced three different ways using different containers. We also went to the flower shop and she chose her materials. Her arrangement was beautiful and elegant. She also did a wonderful job!

Trumpet lily, Aspidistra, baby's breath
I was so proud of the both of them. I think they each had a good time doing their arrangements and were pleased with what they had done. One of them is already looking forward to next year and decided what she would like to do!

I wanted to use some orange this year in my arrangement. To me, orange is a warm fall color that you don't see used that often. I went around to several different flower shops looking for something that would inspire me, but I couldn't find anything. The day before, I finally found something orange! I knew what I wanted to do to show off the color and the beautiful flowers.

philodendron aureum, pincushion, philodendron "black cardinal", kangaroo paw, Asparagus myriocladus
 I loved the contrast of the green and black philodendron leaves, and the bright orange in the middle helped to pull the arrangement together.

The art festival is held in an old gymnasium. As you can see from the pictures, the background is not the best. The pegboard is old and worn and is used year after year. I guess you could say that it has seen a lot of art over the course of it's life, but I think it is time for it to go! After the exhibition was finished, I took my work home and rearranged it to take a better picture.

A nice background and better lighting certainly makes for a better picture!

The next weekend, November 9th to the 12th, was the prefectural fall ikebana exhibition. The exhibit is four days, but it is divided into two halves so that more people can participate in the exhibition. I did something for the first two days.

This year, I wanted to do a zoukei work. I like to use common objects and use them in a new and unusual way. This time, I decided I wanted to use coffee filters to create something. Last year, I had searched the Internet looking for Christmas wreath ideas and had stumbled upon a coffee filter wreath. It was beautiful in its simplicity. I didn't make the wreath, but the image was stuck in my head. I thought I could use coffee filters to create a large shape that would be simple yet beautiful.

After a couple of weeks of working on it on and off, and using 600 filters in the process . . .

coffee filters, chicken wire
Many people were enamored with it, trying to figure out what it was made from. Some people thought that it was made from carnations, but when you looked at it up close, you could see that it was made from paper. I was very happy with the result. I think that this is something that can be expanded upon, creating a series of zoukei pieces in the future.

Here are a few more pictures of the piece that I took at home.

the dark shadow down the middle, created from being able to see into each crumpled filter,
followed you as you moved around the piece, giving it a sense of movement

light from one side

a close-up of the tower

a very close-up of the coffee filters

It was a busy two weeks, but it was a fun two weeks. Beautiful arrangements were made by some of my students and a crazy tower of coffee filters was created by me.

How can you not love the world of ikebana?