Tag Archives: ikebana

In A Vase On Monday—Summer Song

Each Monday brings the chance to join Cathy’s In A Vase On Monday to share an arrangement using materials gathered from the garden. As a special challenge Cathy has suggested we create an Ikebana-style floral design this week.

In A Vase On Monday - Summer Song

In A Vase On Monday – Summer Song

Ikebana is a fascinating art form, a centuries-old, Japanese flower arranging discipline with strict rules that followers may spend a life-time trying to master. Though not having that background, I admire the aesthetic, which emphasizes asymmetry and open space and seeks a harmonious balance among  the container, materials and overall surroundings. There is a quiet, meditative component to Ikebana as well that I find appealing.

This design began with a stalk of canna with two large leaves. I made parallel cuts into one side of the darker, shorter leaf to create a fringed effect. The idea was for the fringe to fall evenly spaced along the right-hand side of the design. It looked beautiful for a very short time before it began shriveling and curling. Unlike Aspidistra which can withstand this type of manipulation, the canna leaf displayed distress immediately but retained an interesting character nevertheless.

Canna Leaves, Fringed

Canna Leaves, Fringed (back view)

 

The canna stalk was inserted first, positioned in the kenzan to the right at a slight angle and back. Next several thin stems of pure yellow Rudbeckia laciniata were secured slightly left and forward. Additional rudbeckia flowers were placed low to meet the edge of the container.

The open and playful form of the rudbeckia is in contrast to the broad, heavy leaves of the canna, yet they hold equal weight in the composition.

In A Vase On Monday - Summer Song

In A Vase On Monday – Summer Song

A small amount of orange Asclepias works as an anchor and helps tie the design to the container.

Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)

Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)

Materials
Flowers
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant) (Orange Glory Flower)
Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)
Foliage
Canna
Mechanics
blue/brown ceramic circular dish
black, round self-contained Kenzan (flower arranging frog)
black stones

 

Thanks to Cathy for hosting this weekly chance to express our flower arranging interests. Visit her at Rambling In The Garden to discover what Ikebana inspirations she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday. Feel free to join in.

In A Vase On Monday—Sweet Pea Reduction

In A Vase On Monday - Sweet Pea Reduction

In A Vase On Monday – Sweet Pea Reduction

Each Monday brings the chance to join Cathy’s In A Vase On Monday to share an arrangement using materials gathered from the garden.

Though the house is filled with a cheerful and lively abundance of Shasta daisies, echinacea and gladioli, for today’s vase I chose to concentrate on making a design that would be spare and constrained.

A long shallow dish with a metal interior was the inspiration and starting point, countered by a fan of gladiolus foliage standing upright at one end. A small but heavy Kenzan vessel was used to hold the leaves in place. One leaf was bent into a loose, circular shape, while another was manipulated with angular cuts. Small black stones were scattered out from the base of the Kenzan.

Next a lemon yellow celosia was added near the base, followed with a flower from a Ruby Slippers oakleaf hydrangea and the top of a white gladiolus holding three blooms.

Hydrangea, Gladiolus, Celosia

Hydrangea, Gladiolus, Celosia

A long stem of Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea) with new and aging flowers was inserted close to the gladiolus stems, its position secured into the Kenzan at the base and reinforced higher using a couple of the wispy sweet pea tendrils to latch on to the gladiolus stems.

Finally a woody stem of chrysanthemum foliage was bent and added to swing out across the dish to the left. One improvement I would make is to increase the length and arc of the line formed by the chrysanthemum, perhaps replacing the chrysanthemum with flowing bear grass.

In A Vase On Monday - Sweet Pea Reduction

In A Vase On Monday – Sweet Pea Reduction

Materials
Gladiolus
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)
Fresh Look Mix Celosia (citrus colors)
Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea)
Foliage:  Gladiolus, Chrysanthemum
Mechanics:
shallow, oblong footed dish, metal interior and black matte exterior
black, round self-contained Kenzan (flower arranging frog)
small, black stones

The photographs tend to flatten the dimensionality of the flowers, especially that of the sweet peas.

Chrysanthemum leaves and Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea)

Chrysanthemum leaves and Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea)

They are reduced to shape and color creating pattern in a most interesting way.

Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea)

Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea)

Thanks to Cathy for hosting this weekly chance to express our flower arranging passion. Visit her at Rambling In The Garden to discover what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday. Feel free to join in.

Art In Bloom For Spring

Meadow Near Front of North Carolina Museum of Art

Meadow Near Front of North Carolina Museum of Art

Vernal equinox March 20, 2015, 6:45 PM EDT. Earlier in the week it was sunny and 80°F. Now, following a rainy afternoon yesterday, our first day of spring is overcast and 46°F. Tomorrow the weather should be nice again and warmer, 70°F.

Given yesterday’s rainy forecast it was a perfect time to travel to Raleigh to view a special floral show on opening day at the North Carolina Museum of Art.

Outdoor Display Near Entrance -  North Carolina Museum of Art

Outdoor Display Near Entrance – North Carolina Museum of Art

For this 4-day inaugural event called Art In Bloom, 45 floral designers each were paired with works of art from the museum’s permanent collection and invited to create interpretations of the art using flowers. (This has been done in other cities for a few years, but it was the first time for our state museum).

The displays were fascinating. They were large, rich in color and texture, featuring familiar and exotic materials (such as anthuriums, calla lilies, orchids, roses, proteas, tropical leaves) and they were presented in an array of interesting containers and frameworks.

Included among the 45 designers were my two teachers who, for the last several years, have offered flower arranging classes through the local garden club. Seeing their work in this exhibit was particularly exciting.  Unfortunately the quality of the dozens of photos I took were extremely disappointing and does not show their work to best advantage.

Jinny was assigned a Roman statue of Herakles. She responded to the white marble by using shiny and rough metal sculpture and anthurium with foliage. Sorry I cut off the top of the design–I could joke about where my eyes were but I truly was trying to include the description on the front of the stand.

Jinny Marino's Design

Jinny Marino’s Design

'Herakles' - Inspiration for Jinny Marino's Design

‘Herakles’ – Inspiration for Jinny Marino’s Design

Jinny Marino's Design

Jinny Marino’s Design

 

In a different gallery, Betsy’s arrangement was facing a different work of art than her assigned inspiration piece, Sunset (Medusa) (1945) by Eugene Berman. She seems to have played off both works of art.

Design by Betsy Ninninger

Design by Betsy Ninninger

‘Sunset (Medusa)’ – Inspiration Artwork for Betsy Ninninger’s Floral Design

Design by Betsy Ninninger

Design by Betsy Ninninger

Ikebana

This morning I returned to the museum for another Art In Bloom event.

Ikebana: Classical to Modern. Kyoko Petersen of the American Institute of Floral Design is a professor in the Ikenobo Ikebana school in Kyoto, Japan, the birthplace of ikebana. The presentation highlights classical ikebana arrangements along with newer styles introduced in the 20th century.

The demonstration was marvelous. It was enlightening to watch and listen as Kyoko created a dozen spectacular designs. She worked with many beautiful flowers, including orchids, anemones, peonies, quince and her favorite, camellias.

In some arrangements she strictly adhered to traditional principles set out hundreds of years ago, where nine elements of nature are represented (such as shady side, sunny side, waterfall). There are specific instructions for placement that cannot be altered. She began with this traditional design representing landscape.

Classical Ikebana - Landscape

Classical Ikebana – Landscape

Several of her designs illustrated 20th century adaptations made by the head master of the Ikenobo Ikebana school where she teaches. (The head master is forty-something generation.) The newer style takes into account people live not in castles, but rather in smaller houses. Also today the designs can take advantage of a wider repertoire of materials than those historically available. Kyoko also demonstrated free-form creations.

This design illustrates the modern simplification the master created in the 20th century.

Modern Ikebana

Modern Ikebana

This was one of my favorite designs. I tried to remember what the unusual leaves are called, perhaps begins with “Renaissance”? The surprising use of yellow pansy at the bottom adds finishing touch.

Modern Ikebana With Three Elements

This final design of the morning was an effusively abundant celebration of Spring, using camellias, peonies, variegated pine and orchids over a framework of weeping willow and weeping cherry. (Sorry for poor photo quality but perhaps you can get an idea.)

Ikebana: Homage to Spring

Ikebana: Homage to Spring

Ikebana: Homage to Spring

Ikebana: Homage to Spring

Ikebana: Homage to Spring

Ikebana: Homage to Spring

Kyoko’s presentation has inspired me to try to learn more about Ikebana.  Another event today that was sold out but would have been fascinating, was a hands-on master class with Shane Connolly, Royal Florist. He designed the flowers for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.  If you happen to be local to the Raleigh area, Art In Bloom is well worth your time.

So that is how I welcomed the changing season. And tomorrow I hope to back in my garden.