Design & Decor - Flower Arranging

The intricate art of ikebana

Incorporate elements of this Japanese floral arranging tradition into your own array of blooms

Incorporating ikebana into your arrangements
Here Irene shares four tips that you can use when creating your own floral masterpiece.

1. Assemble the right tools. Ikebana clippers called hasami don’t have a spring grip like some shears. Sharp scissors or secateurs can substitute. Consider investing in a kenzan, which is a needlepoint holder or frog. “It’s better than floral foam because it’s reusable and lasts forever,” says Irene. Look for hasami and kenzan at garden shows, botanical shops and specialty garden stores like Lee Valley. And just about any container that holds water can be employed.

2. Make thoughtful choices.
The first step is determining what statement you want to make. “Remember that ikebana is an art—so think about what you are trying to say,” notes Irene. The occasion, purpose, season, mood and location of the display—all these elements—should influence your chosen container, materials and scale of your arrangement.

3. Find freedom within the form. Embrace the creative process but remember the asymmetrical, balanced form. “Choose different sizes and shapes of the same flower to create interesting lines. Add contrast and texture. And vary the height and direction of materials to create movement,” advises Irene.

4. Keep it clean and simple. For beginners, it’s best to stick with no more than three materials. For example: leaves, flowers and branches. “Always make fresh cuts under water and remove lower leaves so nothing but stems are below water,” recommends Irene. “For tree materials, cut branches on an angle for easier insertion into the kenzan but cut flowers flat.”

ikebana-inset-marcia.jpgAn arrangement inspired by haiku
Misho practitioner Marcia Lenglet knew exactly what she wanted to achieve with the arrangement at left. Inspired by her own haiku entitled Summer, her arrangement reflects the iconic Canadian pine, which according to Marcia, “is the pine that shoots up higher when you’re looking along the shoreline—the one that makes a statement against the sky.” Pine, Asiatic white lilies and bull rushes combine in classic lines firmly rooted in a footed ceramic bowl by Cheryl Wyre that Marcia selected as it “features the roughness of birchbark and went with the pine.”

Photography courtesy of Ikebana International, Toronto chapter 208


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