Thursday, 15 June 2017

Hello all,

The above arrangement is dedicated to my uncle Nick and auntie Elizabeth, who, very kindly, sacrificed the largest of the few fruit on their pomegranate tree. The arrangement covers two themes - "Seasonal Materials' and "Fruit bearing Branches'.

Just over two weeks ago, our Sogetsu group had a workshop, which was conducted by Lee Johnstone. The arrangements were to incorporate two themes - 'To be viewed from all Angles' and 'Seasonal Materials - Atumn/Winter'

I took photographs of my arrangement from three different angles, below. As I had to leave the workshop early, I was not able to take photographs of any other arrangements. So, I recommend you go to our website - to see more.

In class a couple of lessons ago, the senior girls were given the theme 'Green Materials Only'. Below are some examples. They're quite self explanatory.





Freestyle Arrangement by Aurelia

I, normally, don't include photographs of basic arrangements but I was so pleased
by the arrangement, below, by Guy Pascoe, that I felt it deserved to be featured here.

Basic Slanting Moribana reversed
Bye for now,

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Viburnum Opulus branch,cotoneaster horizontalis berries (red) and melia
berries (green)

We are becoming more and more conscious of reducing waste in all aspects of our lives. This includes our ikebana, where we are encouraged to reuse materials as much as possible. Mr Kawana made a particular point of this in one of his very early visits to Melbourne and I have been trying to follow his instructions as much as possible.

The same vine in a wall arrangement
 with hydrangea and echinops

'Arrangement Using Vine'
Wisteria, cotoneaster berries and hydrangea

'Dried Bleached or Coloured Material'
Coloured Acacia aphyla, horsetail and peones

The same horsetail with rose

I made this arrangement with some leftover materials but I wasn't completely happy with it. When we were discussing this in class, I realized what it was that bothered me about it. The mahonia flowers were placed naturalistically, whereas the leaves were more modern.

 So, I gave it a 'haircut'. I think it's an improvement

And once the mahonia flowers died, I replaced them with this hydrangea

You may remember, on a previous post, my delight in all my beautiful agapanthus flowers. Well, I was much less delighted when I had to remove them all after they died. It was a long and tiring job but it gave me the opportunity to play around with flowers and stems.

'Only one kind of material'

The same arrangement a week later
Agapanthus stems
Bye for now,

Tuesday, 23 May 2017


We are very lucky in Melbourne to have four distinct seasons, especially for us Ikebanists, and I love all four. But autumn here is so stunning it takes my breath away. I have many deciduous trees and shrubs, which lift my spirits as I watch them changing colours. And raking the leaves on a sunny autumn afternoon would have to be one of my favourite pass times. Unfortunately, due to a shoulder injury, I can only do so a little at a time.

In the photograph, above, I started to rake the leaves from the mature golden elm but then had to stop and hand the job over to my lawn mower man, David. He used his efficient, albeit noisy blower to collect them into a large pile. Before I distribute them into my garden beds as mulch, I will give the grandchildren a chance to play in them. Also, I draw your attention to the state-of-the-art tree house that my neighbour and his son built on this, my favourite of my trees.


In our first lesson after my return, the senior students were set the theme 'Composition Expressing a Movement'. I attended a workshop on this theme in Tokyo. The first sentence in this lesson reads as follows: 'Create a composition by developing its idea from a verb of movement'. We had a great deal of fun thinking up different verbs that we could represent in our arrangements, so much so, that we didn't know when to stop. I'm including only some of tthe work that was produced.

'Bouncing' - Bredenia 
'Drpping'- Lucy 

'Balancing' - Lucy 

'Cascading'- Emily
'Tickling' - Emily
'Excluding' - Vicky
'Curling' - Vicky

'Saluting' - Vicky

I leave you with a freestyle arrangement using my favourite camellia, 'Kamo Hon Ami' and viburnum opulus branches in this cheeky vase.

Bye for now,

Sunday, 14 May 2017

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all the mums out there.

Last Tuesday we had our Ikebana International meeting where my sister-in-law Toula Karanikolopoulos was the demonstrator. Our theme was Using Paper in Ikebana, which is part of the lesson 'Unconventional Materials'. Toula used scrunched up paper that she died in subtle, pastel colours and added origami pieces to one side. She used New Zealand Flax and Singapore orchids in a container that she made herself.

Emily Karanikolopoulos

I wanted to use this Washi Paper that I made in Tokyo recently with my friend Emiko. But using an A4 piece of paper in an arrangement was quite challenging. This was one way to use it, almost flat, to showcase the details in the paper. I used aspidistra leaves and crucifix orchids.

Emiko Chishima in deep concentration making
her Washi Paper.

Below are just a few examples of arrangements using paper. For more photographs please go to our blog -

Christopher James
Betty Karanikolopoulos

Margaret Wilson

Nicole McDonald
After my absence from home and garden, I returned to find the Monstera Deliciosa flowering prolifically. Of course, I was compelled to arrange some of the flowers. In the arrangement, below, I used 5 flowers and three strelitsia leaves in a container I made myself many years ago. The copper strips pick up some colours in the container, which, unfortunately can't be seen in the photo. The flowers are very rigid and heavy making them difficult to place in an arrangement and the 'hood' of each flower falls away easily due to its weight.

Bye for now,

Friday, 28 April 2017

Some of the miniatures at the Sogetsu 90th Anniversary Akane Teshigahara
Solo Exhibition "Hana So"


Hello all.
2017 is the Sogetsu school's 90th Anniversary, so, prior to the Ikebana International World Convention, a number of celebratory events were organised by Sogetsu headquarters. This was very convenient, as many of us, who would be attending the Convention, chose, also, to attend some or all of the events.

I arrived in Tokyo quite early on the 5th April and, after leaving my luggage at the reception of my hotel as it was too early to check in, I went for a walk and, without planning it, I ended up at Sogetsu headquarters. The scene below is what greeted me.

The left hand side of the entry to Sogetsu Kaikan

Bamboo and stainless steel at the right hand side

This was outside the headquarters building and, as impressive as that was, I was not prepared for what greeted me inside the Sogetsu Plaza. It was mind blowing!

Rectangular pieces of stainless steel (close-up below) in their thousands lined the walls and floors of the 'rock garden'. Ikebana arrangements, from miniatures to large installations in antique rickshaws, were placed all around the plaza. The effect was mesmerizing.

I took the photograph, below, from the second story, where I stood for some time absorbing the view. I felt I was in 'fairyland'.

The one draw-back was the inability to get clear photographs of the arrangements because of the reflective nature of the stainless steel. I will, however include some of them, in the order that I took them, from the entry at ground level to the top level.

In case you're wondering what this material is, it is the roots of
the up side down bamboo, all sprayed black.

An exquisite glass vase made, I'm told, by iemoto.

If you look very closely you will see the rickshaw with masses of
spring flowering branches

This is the second rickshaw, also with spring flowering branches
This was also an opportunity to run some training sessions for the new Book Five - Technique and Creation.

I attended one workshop run by Eikou Sumura sensei on the theme 'Composition Expressing a Movement', where we had to select a verb that described some movement and depict that in our arrangement. Below is my arrangement and my verb was 'Hiding'

I used aspidistra leaves and bromeliads 
I also attended an all day training session with a Special lecture by Iemoto as well as other videoed material. There was also a demonstration by Suisen Takagi sensei of ten arrangements of different themes from the new book. Unfortunately I am not able to post the pictures that I took because it was stated very clearly on the printed material that we were not to do so.

Bye for now,