I spent the last week in Vancouver where the weather was a vast improvement over Edmonton’s winter conditions. On the coast, everything is green already, and spring flowers can be seen and even collected, to my great delight. I also had the pleasure of a long overdue visit with our daughter Julie, son-in-law Sean and granddaughter Alexandra as well as with our good friend Diana.
I was hoping to get in a few Ikebana lessons during the week and I was served well beyond my expectations by my teacher, Martha Banno Sensei, who saw me every day from Monday to Thursday, during which time we managed six study sessions.
On the first day we worked on a transformative shoka, starting with an isshuike (one material) arrangement of peach blossoms. For practice purposes, we changed the arrangement into a nishuike (2 materials) of peach blossoms and irises, and finally, worked the same shoka into a sanshuike (3 materials) of peach blossoms, irises and palm leaves. We finished the afternoon by arranging an isshuike of pussy willow.
Day two saw us working two special shokas known as denkas. In the morning I arranged a futakabu-ike, a split shoka which, on this occasion, was composed of reeds on the one side and irises in the other. In the afternoon I learned how to make a shochikubai shoka which is a special arrangement celebrating the New Year and only used for that occasion, but it needs to be practiced and this week was as good as any. The schoshikubai is composed of three materials, bamboo symbolizing integrity, plum blossoms for courage and pine for longevity. This was the first time I ever used bamboo and it turned out to be a very exciting and dramatic material to arrange.
On Wednesday afternoon, after having reviewed the composition of various shokas, I created the miniature free style (jiyuka) pictured above. On Thursday morning I arranged and reviewed the composition of a rikka while in the afternoon I put together another jiyuka before bidding Sensei goodbye. It was an exciting and productive week.