Ikebana, the traditional Japanese art of flower arrangement, has a 600 year history. It began when the practice of offering small flower arrangements to Buddhist shrines were taken out of the religious context. It originally developed as an art to enjoy nature, bringing flowers into the Japanese home. Today, in this age of information technology, ikebana is much needed to help us reconnect with nature. Its role is to spark and stir the energy of our body, mind and spirit.
Just as there are many different schools of martial arts, ikebana also has many different schools, each with its own style of practice. The ikebana school that I practice is called Sogetsu Ikebana. This is one of the newer schools, as it was established in 1927 by Teshigahara Sofu. It was the first school to break away from traditional styles of ikebana to incorporate the evolving Japanese lifestyle. The ikebana flower arrangements were originally displayed in the Japanese tatami rooms in an alcove called the tokonoma.
The tokonoma is a dedicated space where ususally a scroll, ceramics, artwork, and flowers are displayed. The image above shows a tokonoma. As you can see, because the area is a walled in alcove, the art is viewed from only one direction, the front. As the Japanese lifestyle became more Westernized, they enjoyed flowers in different areas of the house. No longer was ikebana limited to just being displayed in the tokonoma. Ikebana was enjoyed in living rooms, dining rooms and in public spaces. With the change of environment, Teshigahara Sofu, believed that ikebana also needed to adjust to these changes. Flowers were now viewed from any direction, not just from the front. Sogetsu style teaches us that ikebana must consider the environment as a whole. Where will the flowers be placed? What angles will the flowers be viewed from? What type of container should be used? What materials are you using? With the ever changing times, Sogetsu ikebana is also evolving. The Sogetsu school believes “that ikebana can be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere with almost anything”.
Often ikebana is thought of as small flower arrangements in vases that decorate the home. This is what most of us do for our own enjoyment. But, ikebana can come in all shapes and sizes. Master ikebana artists from Japan do large sculptural installations that can occupy parks! One great master artist is Tetsunori Kawana.
You can see all his creations on his website : Kawana Passage. Master Kawana has created large bamboo installations all over the world from New York to Melbourne to Moscow. This is his latest installation in Moscow, Russia – Garden of the Apothecaries, using 400 pieces of bamboo! The other is a separate piece and that is my teacher in the photo who went to assist with the installation. You can now see the scale of these projects! Aren’t they magnificent!
Now, I am happy to announce that Master Kawana is coming to Seattle!!! He will be performing live ikebana at the Kirkland Performance Center on October 3, 2015, Saturday at 1:30 p.m.. This is a very rare chance to see a Japanese master performing live, on a very large scale. A group of Sogetsu ikebana enthusiasts in Seattle, called Ikebana Power is putting on this show. Under the supervision of our Sogetsu teacher, Megumi Schacher, and other Sogetsu teachers, a group of us women, are working hard to present this fabulous show for the general public to enjoy. It is a very rare opportunity to see a Master Ikebana artist, such as Tetsunori Kawana, in action. Tickets are now on sale for $35.00.
Please click here for tickets. Ikebana and the Fundamental Energy of Plants
For those who are interested in art, Japanese culture, and flower this is a wonderful opportunity. Looking forward to seeing you there!
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.