My Ikebana Journey
Updated: Jun 26, 2020
Like most art forms we are either introduced to it through school or in my case by my mother. She has been studying Ikebana, Japanese flower arranging, for many years and I was always aware of the pretty arrangements in our home. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would spend 13 years studying this art form and eventually qualify to become an Ikebana teacher.
I always believed that Ikebana flower arranging was just too difficult for me, but like any art form, music, painting and even cooking it all requires practice and quietly observing the rules and learning the basic proportions.
Ikebana is the art of creating beautiful yet casual looking but also natural arrangements using the bare materials. When creating your arrangement there is an interaction between you and the material, which often leads to self reflection and worldly contemplation. This helps bring you as the arranger closer to nature leaving you with a feeling of inner peace and stillness.
Ikebana has four principles, fresh approach, movement, balance, and harmony. There is always a freshness about Ikebana, as you choose the flowers and material which is lead by a desire to create harmony between the flowers and the container. We are taught to use fewer stems and leaves which allows the flower to be highlighted leaving the viewer to enjoy the contours of the arrangement. Along with the four principles there are three elements to Ikebana, line, colour and mass. Line is an integral part of the art of Ikebana and must be studied carefully in order to be able to express its dynamic force. Line can express many moods such as joy, tranquility, movement and strength. Colour, as we know colours in nature are infinite, therefore we as the arranger must give considerable thought to our own emotions when choosing colour. In the past classical Ikebana, colours were generally subdued and the arrangements gave that feeling of tranquility. Today however, modern Ikebana we now use more dramatic and contrasting colours.
Many practitioners of Ikebana feel that the spiritual aspect of Ikebana is very important. One becomes quiet when one practices Ikebana. It helps you to live "in the moment" and to appreciate things in nature that previously seemed insignificant. One becomes more patient and tolerant of differences, not only in nature, but more generally in other people. Ikebana can inspire you to identify with beauty in all art forms - painting, music, etc., and to always expect the best in yourself.