ikebana and life in japan

a blog about ikebana and life in japan


Zoukei Ikebana with Dirt and Glue

Zoukei Exhibit
Judges Prize
Dirt and glue on Styrofoam base

On September 12-13, 2014, I took part in the 23rd Annual Aomori Zoukei Exhibition. Zoukei ikebana is a totally free form of ikebana where anything can be used to make a sculptural arrangement. This was my forth time to participate in the exhibition.  

Professor Yokohigashi was the judge, along with Rijicho, the current headmaster’s mother. The Professor and Rijicho both congratulated me on my work and said it was very powerful and had a strong impact. They especially liked the natural cracking of the dirt as it dried. I thought the cracking was a nice contrast with the curved shape of the piece.

I was so excited and honored to receive the prize! I’m already looking forward to next year’s exhibition.

A different angle of the work.

Here you can see how large it is.

Judges Prize 

My certificate and prize!


Autumn Rimpa Ikebana

This week for my lesson, I did a Rimpa arrangement, which is unique to the Ohara School of Ikebana.

The Rimpa arrangement is a type of ikebana that is based on he highly decorative works of the Rimpa School, which flourished during the Edo Period. Representative artists include Ogata Korin and Tawaraya Sotatsu. The goal is to capture in ikebana the decorative qualities of materials and the overall design effects typical of Rimpa works of art. To this end, the unique characteristics of plants are exaggerated or refined. For the most part, materials used are those found in Rimpa paintings. Mastery of the Rimpa Arrangement depends upon knowledge and study of the original works of the Rimpa artists.
     -- taken from the English textbook from the Ohara School of Ikebana, Ikebana for Everybody

Arrangements are usually done in large, flat containers, especially for arrangements done at an exhibition. But for personal study and practice, the use of two Basic Moribana containers can also be used. All of the materials, except the small chrysanthemum, were from my teacher's yard. I was lucky to find interesting and unusual shapes with the Toad lily, and the the Japanese Pampas Grass (susuki) was a beautiful shade of red.

The arrangement spreads out horizontally, giving full play to the shapes of the Toad lily. The small chrysanthemums give a nice contrast and focal point connecting the two containers by placing a small group of them in each. Last, I added the susuki, which was the most difficult part for me. They spread out throughout all of the groups helping to unify the work as a whole. The susuki leaves also help to connect the groups to each other. Showing the surface of the water is also a point in this arrangement. It helps to give the arrangement a light feeling and helps the viewer to feel the cool fall breeze blowing over the surface of the water.

Rimpa Arrangement
Toad lily, small chrysanthemum, Japanese pampas grass (susuki)

You can see in the above picture how it stretches out horizontally, but there is also a depth to it that doesn't really come forth in the picture. So, I decided to take a video of it to show that off. (If you click on the four arrows that are pointing out in the lower right-hand corner next to the vimeo logo, it should make the screen larger.)

rimpa from stephencoler.com on Vimeo.

Please feel free to leave any comments below. I love to hear what you have to say.