The NEW Blog

Just a reminder to readers here, that I have moved the blog from this site to a new address . So take a look there for all future posts. Thanks!

I've Moved to A New Abode!

I've moved, to a new place. Not a physical move, but a blog move. I've enjoyed my time here on Blogger, it's been a great learning experience. Now I have moved to a dedicated home using Wordpress. My new home will be Sogetsu Atelier , so please bookmark it and stop by say "Hello". I'm working hard on the new site and hope that you will follow me and visit! There is still a lot for me to do at the new site, many new things to add , things to unpack and lots of blogs to add to my blogroll. So but sure to drop by and check it out.

Sogetsu Ikebana Exhibition


Sogetsu Ikebana Exhibit at the United States National Arboretum
September 19 & 20, 10:00am-4:00pm

Demonstration: Sunday, September 20, 1:00pm-2:30pmNational Bonsai & Penjing MuseumSpecial Exhibits Wing
Members of the Washington DC Metropolitan Area Sogetsu Branch fill the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum’s International Pavilion and Special Exhibits Wing with dramatic arrangements in this modern style of Japanese flower arranging. Sogetsu promotes an ikebana of no limits in which designers use plant materials of any type to create sculptural compositions. Watch master teachers demonstrate their techniques as they create a series of basic and free style arrangements during the drop-in session on Sunday, September 20 from 1:00pm to 2:30 pm. Free. No registration required.

The Poll Is Still Open, Your Vote Counts !


The poll in my previous post is still open, so take a look and VOTE! The poll is asking the question: "Is it Ok to actively study another school of ikebana?". This question came to me by chance a few months ago. I know someone who is studying with one school of ikebana and has just started studying another, and wants to keep it somewhat of a secret. Why, you might ask, would this be kept quiet? It seems that this person's sensei might not approve of their study of another school. So I was very curious about why that might be. I know lots of people who have have studied at least two schools, some have even gotten certificates from multiple schools. I started asking around and found that people were either very open to studying another school or very devoted to their current school. Perfectly understandable responses in my opinion.

Then I found MY answer to this question, from the So magazine, Volume 67, November-December 1987 in an article by famed Sogetsu artist and teacher Norman Sparnon:

"It was classical Rikka of the Ikenobo School which next took my attention. On receiving my Sogetsu Diploma I asked Mr. Sofu if I should study this classical style. He said "Yes, it will be good for your technique, and I will introduce you to a good teacher."

Some Workshops, A Demonstration, And A Poll

© Shuji Ikeda

This week I signed up to attend Ikenobo Ikebana workshops and a Sogetsu Ikebana demonstration . The two workshops are sponsored by Ikebana International Washington, DC Chapter #1 on Saturday, October 17, 2009 featuring Mr. Shuji Ikeda, Sokakyo Professor with the Ikenobo School of Ikebana. Details and registration are available on the Washington,DC Chapter #1 link above. After the workshops I will be going to see a demonstration by Ms. Soho Sakai, Riji of the Sogetsu School of Ikebana. The workshop is part of the World Association of Flower Arrangers 2009 Excursion Botanicus, a ten-day multi-state Seminar. The cost of Ms. Sakai's demonstration is $50, the event is at the L'EnfantPlaza Hotel in Washington,DC and it is open to the public . More information on tickets is at WAFA's website.

So this brings me to a question I have been pondering, and also asking for opinions on: Is it OK to study more than one school of ikebana? I know that you should not do more than one at the same time, but after you finish the curriculum for one school do you think studying another school is a good idea? I'd really like for your vote in the poll below, and also for some comments and thoughts on your opinion or your experience with studying with more that one school of ikebana.

Is it OK to actively study more than one school of ikebana?
Yes, it helps to further creativity and knowledge
No, you should stick with one school in order to do it well
Not sure free polls

Psssssst......Wanna hear a secret?

It'a a secret to some, unless you live downtown. I'm talking about some of my secret sources for containers for ikebana, and I am going to tell them to you now. The first one is Miss Pixie's at 1626 14th Street NW, here in Washington,DC. Miss Pixie's has a small, eclectic mix of items and things go quickly there. It'a a place to hit often to see what's new. I grabbed this ceramic vase there for only $12.

It did have some white paint on it, but with a little delicate scrubbing I was able to restore it just like new! Miss Pixie's website has a unique "window shopping" section so that you can get a preview of what is currently in the shop, hooray!

We'll continue down 14th street to my absolute favorite Ruff N' Reddy at 1908 14th Street NW. Open from 11AM to 6PM on Saturdays and Sundays ONLY, but well worth the wait. I have found an absolute treasure trove of items there. Be forewarned, it's chocked full of stuff and can be difficult to navigate due to narrow pathways thru the store. Here's the view from outside:

Here's the view inside, just so you see why it is much like a scavenger hunt. I must admit I would crawl through hell and back for a great piece of japanese pottery or antique bronze container.

Here's what you might find if you look long enough:

Glorious Blooms in the Urban Summer Garden


Since my partner and I moved into our current apartment six years ago we've been working hard on our urban backyard garden. It's great for growing flowers to use in ikebana, and in my mind that makes them the best kind. We've dug up lots of the backyard(with permission from our landlords) and created a space we love and cherish. Every year brings new things and a sense of excitement before, during and at the end of the growing seasons. I try to choose plants that I know will make great flowers for ikebana, but always seem to also get things that can be difficult to use. That's part of the challenge of ikebana, the mystery of what the outcome will be. If we knew exactly how it would turn out, some of the fun, challenge and discovery of creating would be lost.

The arrangement that you see here is made entirely with flowers from our garden . I wanted to used all blue flowers, since that has been our featured color this summer in early plantings. However I also used some violet colored flowers, and some chartreuse plant materials and I figured since they were all located together on the color wheel that they would be perfect together. I included lisianthus in both violet and white with a blue rim, blue balloon flowers, blue echinops, green spearmint and scented geranium leaves, blue angelonia and some stems of lavender. You might wonder what this arrangement has to do with ikebana, and there is a good answer. This would be considered a Moribana arrangement which literally means "piled up". If you would like to know more about ikebana , you can visit Ikebana International.

Blog Triage Begins

It's been a while since I posted, I got busy and I also ran out of steam. For a while I have been thinking about what I could do to get myself to post, and what I could write about. So to help me out a bit I decided to take the Blog Triage course with Alyson B. Stanfield and Cynthia Morris . With their knowledge and creative efforts and the support of other artists striving to improve their blogs, I can't fail.

Now on to my very first lesson , which is about who I want to read my blog. Who am I writing for ? I guess first and foremost I am writing for anyone who is interested in ikebana and flowers in general. I want people to share my journey, and maybe also to share theirs as well with me. But I also want artist of all kinds to come here also. Sogetsu Ikebana has a long history with arttist of all kinds: painters, ceramic artist, sculptors, glass artists, installation and environmetal artists and others as well.

I also want to make connections with other artists, not only ikebana but other types as well. It's a big world out there and there is so much to see and do. So feel free to leave a comment and share a little too!

This blog was started originally as a way for me to show my work, maybe get some feedback,and to chart my progression. I thought it would also be a really great way to encourage me to do more, and to some extent it has greatly helped.

It's not easy for me to write, as you may be able to tell from this post. That's going to be the one thing I really need to work on. I'm looking forward to see what I can do with this blog in the next month and beyond.

8th North American Sogetsu Seminar-Exhibition

8th North American Sogetsu Seminar

8th North American Sogetsu Seminar

8th North American Sogetsu Seminar

The exhibition for the 8th North American Sogetsu Seminar was a great success. I've posted photos from the installation of the exhibit above. The last two photos are from my group, the Sogetsu Washington,DC Branch. There are more photos already posted on my Flickr site. Click any photo above to go there. I will be adding more photos to Flickr later once I have a chance.

8th North American Sogetsu Seminar

8th North American Sogetsu Seminar

The 8th North American Sogetsu Seminar is now over and I have started posting my photos to my Flickr site. This beautiful large scale arrangment was done by Sogetsu School Iemoto Akane Teshigahara and her staff. I'm sure the hotel would love to have arrangements like this all the time! Whenever I see ikebana on this scale I am really inspired to do some on my own. So maybe this summer I can play with some materals and do at least one. I got a lot of ideas from the three different workshops that I attended. I met so many wonderful and talented people from all over North America and the rest of the world, and it was a great experience to see their ikebana.

8th North American Sogetsu Seminar


Yesterday I arrived in Palm Beach, Florida to attend the 8th North American Sogetsu Seminar. I attended the last one four years ago in Portland, Oregon and had a great time. My registration is done and I will be in 3 workshops during the next several days. This morning my branch from Washington, DC will be setting up our arrangement for the exhibition at the Delray Beach Marriott Hotel. I have my camera ready, and I'm hoping to get pictures posted and give some details about all of the events. Iemoto Akane Teshigahara of the Sogetsu School will present her demonstration on Saturday May 2, at the hotel at 2PM. I am sure it will be an exciting presentation!

Color and Movement


Recently I did several arrangements using some beautiful Balou cymbidium orchid blooms and kohlrabi. The light green color and almost squid-like tendrils on the kohlrabi seemed perfect for ikebana, and I loved working with them. Combined with the butterscotch coloring of the orchids, the kohlrabi was a perfect companion in color and movement. Several different arrangements were made, and lots of combinations tried. I shot these with the late afternoon sunlight for a different feel from the studio lighting shots. My hope is to bring some life into my photography. During the month of January I took a few photography classes with photographer Eliot Cohen in an effort to get to know my camera and to help me understand how to shoot better photos . Which brings me back to the various ikebana artist websites, books, and magazine articles I have been exploring. Seeing how they photograph what they are doing, and how the background setting influences their work . It's all food for thought, and a way to think about what I want to do and how to make it work for me.

A Late Winter Return


It's been a while since my last post, much too long. For me it has been a very busy time that has kept me from doing any ikebana, at least any that I had time to photograph. During the winter months I have limited space to work and to set up my photography background, and that tends to make the work very rushed to get done. I really don't like rushing work, it's better for me to be able to start a piece and to stand back from it and think a while about it. I've also been thinking about what type of ikebana I want to do. I started examining ikebana artists like Toshiro Kawase to see some really stunning work that I have connected to emotionally. His work can be seen at his website . These past few months I have really had to ask myself questions like "What direction I want to go?" , and "What kind of ikebana do I want to do?". "What excites me and draws me into this wonderful art in a way that captures my creative spirit and enthusiasm?" So during the next few weeks I will attempt to find the answers to all of these questions, and share my answers (and more ikebana) here.
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