Demonstration at Animethon

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Floral interpretation of fireworks.

The Summer holidays have come and gone and we had an enjoyable time travelling to Creston, British Columbia, to visit with family and friends. We had our granddaughter Ella along for the ride as part of her 11th birthday celebration which is an event often carried over a couple of weeks. At times, some family birthdays were celebrated over a whole month, just ask our grandson Mylan. Enough digression.

I had hoped to write earlier about our flower arrangements, but weeks went by without any being done. We were to attend an ikebana workshop in Saskatoon at the end of July, unfortunately, the event was cancelled at the last minute. Not to despair, we had been invited to do a demonstration during Animethon 22 which took place this past weekend. During this festival, thousands of young people come to Edmonton to celebrate the popular arts of Japan, most notably, the anime, and many come dressed as their favorite character.

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Yesterday, August 9th was the last day of the event, and for the second year, we offered a demonstration of ikebana.  The free style above was one of the arrangements done for the occasion. Other arrangements have been posted on our EJCA Ikebana Club website. To have a clearer picture of that event, please visit our contribution to Animethon 2014.

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Kurimoto Japanese Garden Spring Festival

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On June 7th, our EJCA Ikebana Club participated in the yearly Spring festival at the Kurimoto Japanese Garden, a special area of the Devonian Gardens of the University of Alberta. This is a cultural event in which many of the clubs sponsored by the Edmonton Japanese Community Association choose to participate. Our Ikebana Club offered both a demonstration and an exhibition of arrangements done on location by myself, my devoted assistant, Brenda , and a number of students whose arrangements will be identified by their name tag. For a detailed view of the exhibition please see the Club’s web page. Each of the images can be enlarged by clicking on it.

Rikka Shimputai Featured at the Garden entrance.

Rikka Shimputai Featured at the Garden entrance.

Texas’ Chapter Anniversary Exhibition

The two arrangements above were contributed by visiting professors from Japan who, along with the Headmaster Sen’ei Ikenobo, honoured the attendees by their presence, their arrangements and their teaching, which will be the subject of another post. I wanted to offer an extensive coverage of the exhibition but, unfortunately, my photography was not good enough and, therefore, what follows is a mere selection of what was on exhibit. On this occasion, I did miss my official photographer.

Headmaster Sen’ei Ikenobo in Houston

Headmaster Sene'ei Ikenobo with Mrs. LaVerl Daily,president of the Rexas Chapter.

Headmaster Sene’ei Ikenobo with Mrs. LaVerl Daily, president of the Texas Chapter.

When it comes to ikebana, I have a lot of catching up to do as I have to cover activities that have taken place between May 28th and June 7th. The report will take place over several posts and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did the activities.

On May 28th and 29, the Texas Ikenobo Ikebana Chapter celebrated it’s 50th Anniversary, and the event opened on the 28th with a large exhibition of arrangements by members of the Chapter, and the exhibition, as customary, was reviewed by the Headmaster. In the foyer, leading to the exhibition room, stood the Headmaster’s own Rikka Shimputai.

Rikka Shimputai by Sen"ei Ikenobo.

Rikka Shimputai by Sen’ei Ikenobo.

The major attraction, however, came in the afternoon when Sen’ei Ikenobo performed a much anticipated demonstration during which he composed six different arrangements, three shoka shimputai, two jiyuka (free style), and one rikka shimputai. It must be noted that Sen’ei Ikenobo created these new styles, the shoka shimputai in 1977, and the rikka shimputai in 1999. Both of these styles were introduced in order to make Ikenobo ikebana better reflect contemporary sensibilities, yet retaining “the traditional and formal sense of beauty which, over many generations have come to mark Ikenobo rikka” and shoka.

The beginning of the demonstration with the insertion of the first yakueda.

The beginning of the demonstration with the insertion of the first few yakuedas (or stems).

The demonstration was followed, as usual, by a Reishiki-ike which is a ceremonial and moving type of arrangement done in three parts. Professor Shinobu Akino made the arrangement assisted by Professor Taichi Inoue.

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Tulips Shoka Isshuike

 

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The Isshuike of tulips is a simple shoka arrangement, yet, as any Isshuike, one has to strictly adhere to the rules. Only two flower stems are used, one for shin and one for tai. It is important to use attached leaves as much as possible, if the leaves are not suitable, other leaves have to be cut from a stem and reinserted appropriately with the flower. Fortunately, tulips are plentiful in Spring gardens allowing us to practice this arrangement at this time. Today, my friend Miguel and I collected our material from his garden and produced the following arrangements.

 

Vancouver Ikebana Workshops

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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.

P1080797Professor 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.P1080798

 

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.

 

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