The return trip home was uneventful, and for that we are grateful. The workshops with Professor Makoto Fujii were highly entertaining and we learned a lot from both his lectures and his corrections.Over two days we practiced Rikka (shofutai and shimputai), Shoka (shofutai and shimputai), and Jiyuka also known as Freestyle.
Professor Fujii teaches in Kyoto, at the Ikenobo Junior College and, working with young people most certainly keeps him on his toes. He is an excellent teacher, dynamic, enthusiastic and above all, a superb storyteller, which in jiyuka is essential if you are to have a successful arrangement. So he says. He illustrated this with his Titanic theme featuring the sunflower as Leonardo DiCaprio and the anthurium as Kate Winslet, the baby’s breath representing the wintery conditions, the steelgrass the dramatic elements, the blue and green elements for the sea, and finally, the hero sinking with the ship.
He then expected us to tell our own stories. Mine is illustrated in the above freestyle: I am the red gerbera, madly in love, and totally oblivious of the windstorm coming at me. Brenda’s arrangement, on the right, represents her dream of Spring coming to Edmonton. On that first day we also arranged some shokas. The classical shoka is called shoka shofutai and goes back to the 17th century when it supplanted the rikka which was considered too large to fit in most people’s homes. The simplified arrangement invited the arranger to be one with nature, respecting the inherent quality of each plant material inasmuch as possible. In 1978, Sen’ei Ikenobo introduced the shoka shimputai or new style, simplifying the form even more to make it harmonize with the modern aesthetic and availability of new materials year round.
On Sunday we studied the rikka and we had a choice between the rikka shofutai, which dates back to the 15th century, or the rikka shimputai introduced in 1999 by the Headmaster. The rikka shofutai has very strict rules or forms and is preferred by many arrangers for that very reason. In following the blueprint, you more or less know where you are going and how to get there. Many find the rikka shimputai more difficult as one has too much freedom. It is indeed difficult, but I find it quite appealing because when faced with more freedom one must arrange from the heart, and in time, perhaps, we can learn to be one with our material.
And for good measure I leave you with another jiyuka by Brenda.