ikebana and life in japan

a blog about ikebana and life in japan


Fall Ikebana Exhibition 2013, Part 2

On Sunday, November 10, and Monday, November 11, I took part in the annual prefectural fall ikebana exhibition. The weekend before, I and two of my students took part in the city-wide exhibition (click here to see that post), so I have had a busy couple of weeks. But they have been great busy!

About a month ago while at the flower shop getting flowers for one of my lessons, I noticed some very nice, large dried leaves. I asked if they were special order for someone, but the staff said that they were actually left over from an exhibition held in October. That meant I could use them if I wanted to, but I had to think about it. Because they were so big, I would need a large container, and I didn't have any. So, my search for a container began.

I looked around at different second hand shops and even an antique type store, but I couldn't find anything. I asked my teacher if she had any large vases, and just my luck, she did! With that vase, I could use the leaves. Yeah! The next time I was at the shop, I saw that the leaves were still there and immediately bought them. Now, I just had to figure out what to put with them.

I thought I would like to another Bunjin styled arrangement, but it would be difficult to find materials to go with the leaves. One day at my lesson, I noticed that my teacher had a beautiful, old piece of lichen covered persimmon laying out in the corner of her yard. She had been through her garden cleaning things up, getting ready for the winter season, and she had put the old branch (one she had used about 10 years ago) in the pile to be thrown away. I asked if I could use it, and she said yes. I had another material for my arrangement. (When searching for materials, I look everywhere to try and find the perfect materials to use -- while driving, while walking, in the school yard, around the school, around my neighborhood, everywhere!)

I thought that some pine would also go nice with the arrangement, so a friend and I went for a little drive up in the mountains to search for some pine. We finally managed to find some, and after climbing up the tree to get to it to cut it off, I had some pine. Now I needed something to go in the front of the arrangement to give it a focal point.

I went to several different flower shops in several different cities looking for some unusual flowers, but I had no luck. I thought I could also use a potted plant, so I went to several different garden centers and found some huge ornamental cabbage plants that would be perfect. Everything was coming together.

Last, I thought it would be nice to give it a little color, so I decided to add some green chrysanthemums to the arrangement. They would give the arrangement a nice pop of color and help to fill out the space of the work. They would also help to give the arrangement a bit of a fall feel to it.

After a couple of weeks of planning, I finally had my arrangement completed.

Dried Sterlizia augusta, pine, lichen covered persimmon, 
ornamental cabbage, chrysanthemum "Anastasia"

It may be hard to tell from the picture just how large this arrangement is, but the ornamental cabbage in the front is about a foot wide! The large leaf probably stood up about three and a half feet out of the container. This is the largest ikebana arrangement I have created, and I think it turned out very well (if I do say so myself!).

Here's a picture of it from the left side so you can also see how far back it stretches.

It was a dynamic arrangement, and I think I captured the feeling of fall and the coming of the cold winter ahead. This was something that I don't normally do, and people noticed that. I saw these leaves and knew that I had to use them somehow. Since they are dried, I can use them again. Yeah! I thought they would look nice if they were gold-leafed. I could use them in a Christmas or New Year's arrangement, but that won't be this year.

Click here to see the arrangement I did for the spring exhibition.

As always, please feel free to leave a comment below or share the post. Also feel free to +1 the post.

Happy Fall!


Lynda said...

My MIL practises Ikebana. It is a lot more intricate than the finished product looks. You work is amazing.

Stephen Coler said...

Thank you for your comment! Yes, it does take a while to do one arrangement, but it is very therapeutic to me. Do you ever do ikebana with your mother-in-law?

Gail said...

I loved reading about how you shopped, found, borrowed and harvested all the items needed for your arrangement. Ikebana people look at our world in a different way than those that don't practice this art form.

Stephen Coler said...

You are so right. When it comes time for an exhibition, I am looking everywhere. And I am always thinking about how some dish or bowl could be used as a container. It opens our eyes to a whole to new world.

Wednesdaysflowers said...

I have been studying ikebana for 20 years and recently used colewort in a large bunjin also. I found it interesting to strip off the lower leaves to expose enough stem after uprooting it from a pot and washing it. I enjoyed your material search history and have found this to be exactly the process I go through also. I put red roses, evergreen cedar and an old dried branch (no green on it) with multiple brown branches of juniper for contrast.

Wabi-Sabi said...

Your works always seem to me very interesting.
I would love to enjoy your classes.
Sorry for my bad English ( Thanks to Google Traslate)
Regards from Spain !

Stephen Coler said...

Thanks for your comment. It sounds like you made a beautiful arrangement, too. I like to do bunjin arrangements, but it is difficult sometimes to find just the right materials. Do you have a blog or something where you post pictures of your arrangements?

Stephen Coler said...

Thank you for your comment. I'm glad that you enjoy the posts and the arrangements. If you are ever in Japan, please join my class! ;-) I also have an online course if you are interested. You can visit my site there to learn more about it.