Variation #1: Ikebana Lesson IV

It’s been a few weeks since my last Ikebana post. Dang, I’ve been busy with study and class projects for my oceanography class. Time to squeeze in some flowery stuff again. Our teacher has been summoned to Japan for the Sogetsu school’s quinquennial Ikebana celebration, and it’s time for me to catch up on my posts!

You’ve faithfully read along as I’ve shared my previous lessons on basic upright and basic slanting styles. We’ve “graduated grade school” in my teacher’s words, and have begun to introduce some variations. The variations on the basics are numbered, and this lesson I’ll be sharing “Variation #1”, both upright and slanting, Nageire and Moribana.

The pieces are still the same – it’s the positioning that varies in the ensuing lessons. In the basic upright and basic slanting styles, the highest point  – Shin or Soe, respectively – was tilted forward and to the side by about 15°, and both on the same side of the central axis, with Hikae alone on the opposite side of that axis. The difference in these variations is the tilt of that “vertical”. Instead of 15° front and on the same side, that vertical now will tilt 15° to the back, and on the opposite side of the axis with Hikae.

Really, that’s the diff. We still have to pay attention in selecting our materials that they are shaped appropriately for their selected component of the Shushi, and that they work harmoniously. As Sensei teaches us, the pieces need to “talk to each other”. You don’t want Soe turning her back on Shin – they need to face each other to be a happy family.

First we learned the Variation #1 of upright Moribana. The succulent Cistanthe grandiflora (syn. Calandrinia spectabilis) looks great with this Japanese maple.

Succulent and maple in Variation #1 upright Moribana

Next we learned Variation #1 of upright Nageire. We still had the same options of building our framework in the Tsutsu using Soegi-dome or Jumonji-dome, depending on the needs of the materials chosen. I had some kinda flexible branches that wouldn’t split well, so I had to go with the Jumonji-dome, fitting in some Komi to hold my plants. I used a New Zealand epiphytic plant for my Shin and SoeGriselinia lucida – and for Hikae and the Jushi I cut branches and flowers from Choisya ternata ‘Aztec Pearl’. I love how they worked with the vase I chose from the selection in the classroom!

In Variation #1, your upright-most piece will now tilt to the back.

Upright Nageire Variation #1, with Griselinia lucida and Choisya ternata ‘Aztec Pearl’

The following week we did Variation #1 on slanting Moribana. I chose to do mine reversed – Gyakugatte – because my plant materials looked better from this angle with my Kenzan in position 4 than if I’d placed my Kenzan in position 3. I was duly impressed with my classmate Elaine’s piece, so I’m posting a pic of hers, too. She did Hongatte – normal positioning – with her Kenzan in position 3. We both had some stunning color combos! I tend to be a bit more muted, so I love the sharpness of her choices.

Slanting Moribana Variation #1 Gyakugatte, using Dutch elm (Ulmus hollandica ‘Wredei’) for Shin and Soe and Physocarpus ‘Summer Wine’ for Hikae and Jushi

Elaine’s gorgeous slanting Moribana Variation #1 Hongatte

This last pic was the teacher’s own creation that is from a way-future lesson. She was demonstrating horizontal arrangements for the level four students (I’m still level one). I was just so damn moved by it that I had to throw this in, too. She had visited a Frank Lloyd Wright house – Falling Water, I believe – and was inspired to create this arrangement. Using bamboo and Tillandsia xerographica (a very popular one at my work), she did this amazing number.

Sensei‘s Frank Lloyd Wright inspired arrangement

See y’all next time!

One response to “Variation #1: Ikebana Lesson IV

  1. Pingback: Variation #2: Ikebana Lesson V | boZannical Gardens

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