The Art of Ikebana – Lesson 1

Ikebana VasesI’ve recently begun the journey towards honing the skill and art of Japanese いけばな (ikebana) flower arranging. In my journey I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by some of the best ikebana artists here in Tokyo to help instruct and inspire me.

Ikebana with Linnea NilssonAs I’m just starting out my first lesson is to create a basic upright style moribana arrangement where the stems need to be precision cut and precision placed at fixed angles on a spiky kenzan. There are three main parts to the arrangement which are the shin placed at a 10˚~15˚ angle, soe at 45˚, and hikae at 75˚. After the three main stems are perfectly placed it’s time to accessorize with jushi subordinate stems that add volume and depth to the arrangement as the kenzan is not supposed to be visible.

Ikebana MaterialsThe studio is filled with interesting add-ons that can make fabulous arrangements truly spectacular despite what they might look like carelessly piled in the studio corner. But I’m far from the stage where I get to go off textbook so it’ll have to be something to look forward to in the future as I progress.

Ikebana Materials

Ikebana VasesThere are also many interesting vases in the studio but again those will have to wait until I get a little further along.

Linnea Nilsson's IkebanaHere’s my first ikebana arrangement in its completed stage. What do you think?

Uppsala Botanical Garden

DSCN7526When the weather is as gorgeous as this, there’s nothing quite as nice as taking advantage of it by being outdoors. Therefore, I chose to spend my day in the beautiful Uppsala Botanical Garden exploring the park, orangery and tropical greenhouse.

Uppsala Botaniska Trädgård, Uppsala Botanical Garden

DSCN7550The botanical garden also offered a very flattering vantage point for viewing the 16th-century royal castle.

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DSC_0120Apart from exotic plants and beautiful landscapes there was also a series of stunning photographs on exhibit that took its inspiration from plants such as linnaea or linnéa.

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Uppsala Botaniska Trädgård, Uppsala Botanical GardenIn the orangery there was an art exhibition by artist Ulla Viotti entitled brick garden and also a terrific cacti house that made me want add a few cacti to my otherwise only orchid collection.

Uppsala Tegel - Trädgård, Uppsala Brick Garden

Ulla Viotti’s brick garden.

DSCN7587The cacti house.

DSCN7593The cacti.

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花見 (Flower Viewing) 代々木公園

Tokyo Sakura Cherry BlossomsToday I went full on Japanese by spending my day in 代々木公園 (Yoyogi Park) admiring the view of countless cherry blossom trees in full bloom.

Linnea Nilsson, Tokyo Harajuku

Yoyogi Park Sakura Cherry Blossom Celebrations花見 (Flower viewing) is a very social activity where friends and family gather underneath the pink さくら (cherry blossoms) drinking sake and enjoy the arrival of spring. Party on everyone!

Tokyo Yoyogi Park Sakura Cherry Blossoms

Shopping at Liberty

Liberty Department Store, LondonAlthough winter is quickly approaching, the flower stands at Liberty department store show no signs of bowing down to the pressure. It’s such a delight to stop by to enjoy the bright floral view and scents before making one’s way indoors to marvel and probably pick up a few too many things that you really don’t need but want.

Liberty Department Store, London

I always find their arts and crafts section an inspiring place to visit. This little millinery section made me want to learn the skills of stars such as Stephen Jones and Philip Tracey. Britain with their stylish fascinator hats are an absolute wonder!

Liberty Department Store, London

Liberty Department Store, LondonYes, feel free to call me a total nerd but I actually found these large chess piece candles by Seletti rather amusing. In the right setting I’m sure they would look fantastic, but for now I’ll be sticking with my gorgeous French Cire Trudon candles.

Liberty Department Store, LondonFor the more traditional, there’s always the classic white, scented candle cup version from Astier de Villatte available. Don’t underestimate playing it safe once in a while, it could save you a great deal of buyers remorse. I’ve been keeping my eyes peered open early this year to see if I can find the perfect Christmas presents and save myself the stress of last minute shopping. How about you, are you an early bird or save it to the last minute type of person? Happy hunting everyone!

Liberty Department Store, London