Friday, June 6, 2014

Friday...with Ikebana

I pulled out one of my Granny’s Ikebana books yesterday and lots of her old notes fell out.
I had vaguely and rather nostalgically looked at them before, but I hadn’t actually read them.
The section above really touched a chord.
My table arrangements are brief moments which are never designed to last...they are flowers and tea after all, and only have a finite life span, but they are designed to delight.

I have never studied the Art of Ikebana ( unlike Beryl who had certificates ); I have always worked instinctively, but I find the aesthetics of it immensely pleasing. 
My Granny says at one point in her notes:
Like all forms, Ikebana needs a great deal of study.

I don’t have enough time just now for a great deal of study; I’m usually trying  to keep on top of the washing and ironing, and reading and studying has never been an easy or natural activity for me.

But I opened the book yesterday and saw a similar trough to one I have.
I have quite a few beautiful vases but am never quite sure what to do with the trough.
The picture showed Arum lilies and Yukka leaves, and although I thought the arrangement was quite dated, it inspired me to create one of my own, as I had recently been given the Arums from next door...

I realise that form in Ikebana is very important and this small diagram was really useful...

I went into the garden and picked some Montbretia stems which haven’t flowered yet ( and which are almost like weeds in some parts of the garden ).
I also picked a Giant Cow Parsley leaf, a Japanese Anemone stemmed leaf and a stem of Japanese Honeysuckle leaves.
When I started trying to put them together, I realised that actually the diagram on the opposite page was going to work better with what I had...
The Cow Parsley leaf didn’t work at all; it was far to overpowering and didn’t seem to move with enough dynamic; it didn’t compliment the Arums, but I felt the Japanese Anemone leaves did...
I very simply positioned them in the ceramic trough, with the help of some oasis, along with the Montbretia stems...

...and then added the Honeysuckle stem one Arum.
It took a few different attempts to make the Honeysuckle balance the piece with it’s natural shape and movement, and although I tried to emulate the 1960’s photograph in the book with 2 sections of ‘spikey’ leaves, it didn’t feel right.
One Arum didn’t feel right either, so I added a second, took away some Montbretia stems and placed a large stone I once brought back from a Cornish beach alongside, as I thought it somehow pulled out both the colour and the texture from the arrangement.

I was so pleased that I had been able to utilise yet another of my Granny’s ceramics, as well as her old book...
I love this picture of Stella Coe, the book’s author, with Grand Master Sofu Teshigahara. 
In the 1960’s she was a universally acknowledged authority in Ikebana...and in February 1965 she signed this copy of her book for my Granny, Beryl.


  1. Another beautiful post and a beautiful arrangement too, isn't it funny that you found the answer to what to put in your Granny's container in her book, it is perfect!

    (I worked out why I haven't been able to comment, I need to be on my laptop rather than ipad for some reason!)

  2. It's such a joy to share these journeys with you. The arrangement is beautiful.