ikebana and life in japan

a blog about ikebana and life in japan

1/19/13

Ikebana -- Living Flowers, Living Art, an exhibit

While home for Christmas and my winter break, I did something that I still can't quite believe I did.

I had my first solo ikebana exhibit!

I was home longer than usual this year because I had a nice break from work -- the kids I teach were on winter break. I had casually mentioned to my mom while talking on the phone with her one day that it would be nice to have an exhibit while I was home. I want to emphasize -- casually mentioned.

Well, I began to think about it more, she began to think about it more, checking on locations and starting to contact people. I had also casually mentioned it to my ikebana teacher before I left for home, but still wasn't sure if I could pull it off. I had bought a few containers to take home with me, just in case.

The day I arrived back in Arkansas, I went to the library. My mom had contaced different places around town, and the library had a room that I could use. The room was HUGE! But, I had found a place and decided that I would do it. I think I had a mini panic-attack in my mind when I finally decided to do it!

I contacted several local flower shops in the area, and Shirley's Flowers, Inc. were extremely helpful in trying to find all of the materials that I wanted to use. I had a long list of flowers and branches and wanted them in about a week. It was a hard order to fill, but she was able to find almost all of the materials that I wanted to use. I am so grateful to her for all of the extra work she put in to help me out.

I bought a few more containers, gathered some that my mom had in her house, and began to look around for some other materials that I could use. I live in the country, so while out driving one day, I spotted some branches that had fallen from the trees onto the side of the road. I snatched them up and put them on the back of the Jeep. I'm sure people looked at the Jeep strangly with all of the braches and different materials that were sticking out in all directions. But, they were just the branches and materials that I needed to finish all of the arrangements.

My mom was also a big help with the Zokei works. We worked on them for many, many, many hours, twisting coffee filters and hot glueing cups together. If she hadn't have helped me, I would have never got them finished on time. Thank you!

The night before, I did a little pre-planning. I made the landscape arrangement at home and also cut the branches of oak for the Bunjin arrangment. The next day, I spent the entire day at the library constructing the other 11 arrangements. I think I stopped for maybe 10 minutes to wolf down my lunch. I thought I would never finish everything on time, but I did. Barely!

On Friday, January 4 and Saturday, January 5, 2013, at the Bentonville Public Library in the Walmart Community Room, 400 people came to see the exhibit, "Ikebana -- Living Flowers, Living Art." I was surprised at the turnout, but many people were very interested in ikebana and flowers. Family, friends, and people from all over Northwest Arkansas came to see a little piece of Japanese culture and the thing I love to do. I was so glad that I could share this with everyone. It was a lot of work, but so worth it in the end. But, I think it will be a while before I do anything like that again. Especially by myself!

I hope you enjoy looking at the pictures and the explanations that I included for each work.





Rising Form
The Rising Form expresses the beauty of the rising appearances of materials that are grouped at the center of the container.

Materials:
Bells of Ireland, dianthus, leather leaf






Inclining Form
The Inclining Form expresses the beauty of the slanting appearances off materials that are grouped together at the center of the container.

Materials:
Yanagi makizuru, gerbera daisy, foxtail fern



 
Moribana, Slanting Style
In this Color Scheme Moribana in the Traditional Method, bird's nest fern is arranged to look as it does in nature, and the eight-leaf form has a beautiful, perfectly ordered appearance.

Materials:
Bird's nest fern, carnation, stock




One-Row Form (front-view)
The composition is created with three principal stems arrayed in a row with an interesting sense of rhythmic variations in the height and spacing of the materials.

Materials:
Mitsumata, hydrangea, mum, foxtail fern, Asparagus myriocladus






Hanamai
Hanamai expresses the beauty of plants brought out by their mutual interaction in three-dimensional space. Different materials may approach, touch, overlap, mix, or interlace with each other to create beauty through contrast or through harmony. It can be viewed from all angles.

Materials:
Curly willow, Peace Lily






Circular Form
The three principal stems are inserted at different points along the circumference of a circle, or in such a way that they evoke the appearance of a circle. It is a highly decorative composition created for the places where people live and work. It can be viewed from all angles.

Materials:
Calla lily, carnation, hypericum, gypsophila, sword fern






Radial Form (multi-sided)
The materials are arranged extending to the left and right of the container on an axis of symmetry, with an object flower placed at the center of the axis. This form is ideal for western style homes and can be used as a centerpiece for a table. It can be viewed from all angles.

Materials:
Bradford pear, Japanese Rose hip, Asiatic lily, mum, English yew

for Grandma






Zokei, Sculptural Arrangement
This is a freely conceived original work of ikebana. The arranger has an idea and uses it as the motif of the work. Any material or technique may be used to fulfill the aim. The composition should fit well into contemporary spaces.

In this arrangement, coffee filters were used en masse to create a column of texture that makes the viewer want to reach out and touch it.

Materials:
Coffee filters, mesh wire

for Kato Sensei






Landscape Moribana, Far View
The Traditional Method in Landscape Moribana is a form of ikebana which, while respecting the seasonal character and natural growth patterns of plants, uses an established range of materials and fixed methods of arrangement to express the beauty of a natural scene.

One of the most important principles in the method of arrangement is perspective depiction. In order to express the beauty of a natural scene in the limited space of a container, scale is very important.

In this Far-View Depiction, juniper are used to depict a tall, wooded forest at the foot of a distant mountain near a lake. The branch of driftwood represents withered trees in the forest and adds color variation to the green of the junipers. The mum are used small and low to give scale to the grand scene.

Materials:
Juniper, driftwood, mum, moss

for Dad






Bunjin Arrangement
This is a type of ikebana that is based on a Japanese interpretation of the taste of the Chinese bunjin, or literati. Emphasis is placed on the elegance and poetic nature of rare blooms, shrubs and plants. The Bunjin Arrangement in not bound by floral styles, and materials may be freely arranged to express one's subjective view of plants.

Materials:
Lichen covered oak, guzmania, pine

for Hideki






Kobana Arrangement
Kobana translates to "small flower" in English. A Kobana Arrangement uses few flowers and other materials and may be freely arranged to express the artists view of the materials.

Materials:
Pussy willow, Asiatic lily, Asparagus myriocladus

for Aunt Connie






Kobana Arrangement
Kobana translates to "small flower" in English. A Kobana Arrangement uses few flowers and other materials and may be freely arranged to express the artists view of the materials.

Materials:
Pine, orchid

for Mom






Heika Arrangement, Cascading Style
Whereas Moribana was originated and developed by the Ohara Schook, Heika, literally "vase flowers," is part of the ancient historical tradition of ikebana. The Heika of the Ohara School is a modern, sophisticated interpretation of this traditional style. The Cascading Style expresses the beauty of lines that flow gracefully downward.

Materials:
Japanese rose hip, lily (Stargazer)






Zokei, Sculptural Arrangement
This is a freely conceived original work of ikebana. The arranger has an idea and uses it as the motif of the work. Any material or technique may be used to fulfill the aim. The composition should fit well into contemporary spaces.

In this arrangement, Styrofoam cups are used to create three columns of various sizes and weights. The smallest column is thin and feels light, therefore it is used tall in the arrangement. The lowest column is the largest in circumference, giving it a heavy feeling. It is used low in the arrangement to balance out the tall column. The third column is placed next to the tallest one, helping to give the left side of the arrangement some weight and balance out the heaviness of the right side.

This is a perfect example of the asymmetrical balance of ikebana.

Materials:
Styrofoam cups in three sizes






 

12 comments:

Audrey said...

Dear Stephen, Congratulations on your solo exhibition! I've been following your blog for a few months--I thoroughly enjoy your fresh, lively arrangements and insightful commentary. Thank you so much for sharing both. Best wishes, Audrey

Anonymous said...

I truly appreciated your descriptions of each work, thank you so much for sharing this in your Blog!

nadia said...

Thank you for the explanations, you answered all my questions. You should be proud and I hope this will encourage you to have more exhibitions. Looking forward to more. Good luck.

nadia said...

I especially like the dedications, lovely touch.

çiçek said...

thanks for share

Stephen Coler said...

Audrey,
Thank you for your comment, and I'm glad you enjoy the blog! Please feel free to comment anytime.
Thanks,
Stephen

Stephen Coler said...

Anonymous,
Thank you for your comment. I think having a description of the work helps the viewer to better understand it.
Thanks,
Stephen

Stephen Coler said...

Nadia,
Thank you for your comments. It was a lot of work, especially having to do all of the arrangements on my own, with no help or criticism from fellow ikebanaists. But, it was a wonderful experience. I would like to do an exhibit again in the future, but not for a long while!
Thanks,
Stephen

Stephen Coler said...

çiçek,
Thanks for your comment and reading the blog!
Thanks,
Stephen

Ahmedabad Florist said...

Very special blog.

Stephen Coler said...

Ahmedabad Florist,
Thanks for your comment. I'm glad you enjoy it!
Thanks,
Stephen

Ahmedabad@CountryFlora said...

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