Small Successes in My Ikebana Studies in Tokyo 2

4—[12] Focusing on the Uses of Water

  • Fruiting Mikan (Citrus unshiu, or satsuma mandarin) and Pincushion Protea (Leucospermum) in a brown pottery suiban (flat dish). Not fixed with a kenzan (spiky frog).

In this arrangement attention is given to the water as the primary element. The water can also be featured in transparent vases and styles other than flat, spreading containers; however, a large suiban makes the emphasis of the water element more obvious and eliminates the need to address the composition inside a transparent vase. That said, it doesn’t necessarily make the arrangement easier. Branches don’t always behave as you might wish.

I chose autumnal colours for this arrangement as well as strong branches and flowers which would be stable in the arrangement. I had wanted to work with some of the larger fruit I can’t source in Canada which is available to us in the Sogetsu Kaikan classroom setting. Unlike 2—[16] Variation No.7 which also emphasizes the water element, in this instance the flowers do not need to float. They can be fixed with or without a kenzan.

To my surprise I got pushback on the colour of the container and was asked to consider using red, green or blue. I happen to love dark, rich tones, plus they are seasonally appropriate. However, we don’t have optimal lighting or noise-free conditions in which to photograph our work at school. Therefore, the autumnal flowers, fruit and leaves are much more vibrant and reflections in the water clearer to the eye than what the camera captures.

I did as Sensei asked and imagined containers with colours that pop. I could see the difference such choices would make to the composition; however, couldn’t get on board with any of those options.

Interesting, last year a different Sensei remarked on my exceptional sensitivity when I chose a mottled brown container and combined it with subdued blossoms.

Rule 33 from The 50 Rules of Sogetsu Ikebana by Sofu Teshigahara the founder of the Sogetsu School states: Select a container that accentuates the beauty of the ikebana arranged in it.  As beauty is said to be in the eye of the beholder, why not pick the colour which would do it for you.

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