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?

Tokyo in Full Bloom

Tokyo, Japan in BlossomI’ve now escaped the cold, dull, rainy weather of London by trading it in for a bright and sunny Tokyo. Hurrah, I’d begun to forget what actual sunlight felt like!

Tokyo, Japan Cherry BlossomsThe plum and cherry blossoms are in full bloom here and couldn’t be lovelier. One of my missions while being back home is to secure myself a さくら (cherry blossom) frappuccino which will officially mark my transition into spring. They’re absolutely delicious!

Japanese Ikebana Arrangement by Akane TeshigaharaI stopped by 目黒雅叙園 (Meguro Gajoen) to catch a stunning いけばな (ikebana) flower arrangement exhibition that featured the impressive work of what can only be described as absolute masters. Above arrangement by the Sogetsu school iemoto, Akane Teshigahara.

The exhibition was held in the old Gajoen that was originally established in 1931 as a Japanese restaurant/banqueting annex that is marked as one of Japan’s cultural assets. What makes the building unique is not only the stairway of 100 steps that one has to climb in order to gradually be exposed to a number of rooms located on different levels but the incredible traditional paintings, lacquer work and tatami mats that create a historic atmosphere. Then, combined with the amazing flower arrangements it made for an unbeatable atmosphere.

Sogetsu – Words into Flowers

Teshigahara Akane, head master of the Sogetsu School

Today I took a quick train ride to Shinjuku where I visited the lovely Takashimaya department store. It was hosting the latest Sogetsu Ikebana exhibition entitled ‘Words into Flowers’, which opened today. The exhibition was spectacular but I expected nothing less as I happen to know a darling that’s currently sweating the Ikebana flower arranging world and every week I get to see amazing creations and I’m blown away each time!

Sakaguchi Suikei

Masuda Seikin

Teshigahara Akane

The exhibition was divided into sections with 11 “words or phrases” acting as the focal point in which the exhibitors would express their own interpretation of the words and phrases into gorgeous flower arrangements. The visitors will similarly see the words and phrases in order to draw their own conclusions and experience a deeper appreciation for the arrangements. The exhibition was curated to perfection which also featured background music and lovely spotlights highlighting each individual work in the masterpiece ensemble. If you find yourself in Tokyo at the moment, it is an absolute must see and the perfect opportunity to emerge yourself in culture. If you can’t make it in person, hope you enjoy the photos!

Tomiishi Seibi

Tsuchiya Kisen