Saturday, 28 March 2015

Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show

The  photographs above, taken by me, are two views of my exhibit at this year's MIFGS.

This artistic shot was taken by professional photographer and all-round lovely girl, Stevie van der Chys (

Hello all,

I apologize for this long break between posts but, to say that I've been busy, would be a gross understatement.

On the 8th March I ran a special workshop along the lines of Kawana sensei's classes that I attended in Tokyo.

I provided each student with three different kinds of materials with which they were work. No two students had the same materials.They could choose from my many containers and make  an arrangement of their choice. After discussion and critique by me, they were to photograph the arrangement and disassemble it. They were then to make another arrangement with the same material and using a different container of their choice. The aim was to make as many arrangements as possible using only a finite number of fresh materials. Thus, towards the end, students had to be very creative with the very small pieces of materials they had left. The workshop ran from 10.00am until 3.00pm with a break for lunch. In such a lengthy workshop we can tap into the creative juices that usually kick in and push ourselves to achieve so much more than in a two hour class.

I felt the workshop was very successful and the feedback I got from the participants was very positive. So much so, that I have decided to run such a workshop twice a year.

I was kept very busy going from student to student so that I was not able to photograph all the arrangements but I wanted an example of one student's work from start to finish. I chose Lucy's work because she is my most senior student but also for convenience because she is my sister and we live together. Considering Lucy took the photos on her mobile phone, the quality is not too bad.

Lucy's material was a branch of Japanese maple, three young Gyamea leaves and three sun flowers. Her arrangements are in the order they were made.

Leaf hanging over the edge of the

Bird's eye view

On 4th March, for class I provided leaves from my garden for my students to use, as their theme was Book 4, Lesson 2 - 'With Leaves Only'. Below is my example.

Front view 
I used 2 Strelitzia Nicolai leaves, 3 bromeliad leves and 5 calla lily leaves.
Bird's eye view

On 10th of March we had our Ikebana International chapter's 56th birthday meeting. The highlight was our speaker, Associate Professor Dr David Finkelstein, head of the Parkinson's Disease Laboratory at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health at Melbourne University.

After hearing his interesting talk we were asked to interpret the theme 'White Matter, Grey Matter' in our ikebana arrangements. I did the arrangement below using two hydrangeas to represent the two cerebral hemispheres and wisteria vines to represent the brain synapses firing. I also used some pink sedum for balance.

Front view

Side view

On 11th March I attended my normal class with Elizabeth, who, very kindly, supplied all of us with cumquats from her laden tree. Below are my arrangements. 

I created two 'surfaces with the contorted willow
and placed them one in front and the other at the back.
the cumquats are in between.

Bye for now and a very Happy Easter to all those celebrating it.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Hello all,
Recently I went back over my blog to refresh my memory in preparation for a talk I was to give to our group of my experiences in Tokyo.

Apart from the embarrassing typos that I discovered, I also noticed that one of the posts was not visible and it's the one about the Takashimaia exhibition. I corrected that and, if anyone has missed it and wants to go back to the archives to read it, it is the one dated 11th June 2014.

And now for the present. We often have arrangements which may have taken a lot of effort to create and we are loath to discard after part of it has died. So, we would, either replace the dead material, or rework what's left.

Below I have two such examples.

As seen in previous post

The same bulrushes and wire used with bark in nageire container
As seen in previous post

Container and persimons are the same. I used different
hydrangeas and bark

I was delighted to see one red nerine bloom in my garden. But what to do with just one flower? I have this interesting piece of glass with two little holes in it, which I placed over a plastic container with water in it.

Nerine with wisteria

Nerine with box thorn
Below are two arrangements I made in containers I found at the op shop.

This is made of wood, so I placed a small
plastic container at the bottom for water

This is made of some sort of resin and its original use was as a
 candle holder
On a recent drive through the country, I discovered a strange, small bush growing by the side of the road. It had these delightful lemon yellow coloured fruit that I have never seen before. Naturally, I had to cut some but the job was made very difficult by the thorns growing, not only all along the stems, but also on the leaves. I would like to know the name of this plant and would love to hear from any one that might be familiar with it.

In an arrangement with amaranthus and

The lethal thorns above and below the leaves

Close up of the fruit, which are about the size of large cherries

The next two arrangements are examples of the lesson in book four 'A Variety of Materials'

Seven different materials

Five different materials

Example of lesson in book four 'Using one kind of Material'
In this case I used bromeliad leaves.

                  Wall arrangement that I call
                'Fun with Flax'

Until next time,