Thursday, May 17, 2012

Arranging Flowers

Ikebana Demonstration

I'm supposed to be cleaning out closets and sorting through storage bins for our upcoming pack out next week. However, I had committed to attend the Kamakura Chapter Ikebana International demonstration. Instead of preparing for our move, I spent  an hour and a half watching Rumiko Manako arrange flowers along with seventy-nine other people. It took some mental effort to quash my "I should be home sorting and packing" guilt/panic button to sit still and simply watch. The flowers were beautiful, the demonstration was interesting, and the audience's ability to stay with her for so long impressed me as one of those Japan moments, they can endure even for beauty. I have to admit to some fidgeting.


Manako Flower Academy

Rumiko Manako has traveled widely, lived abroad, and demonstrated in Paris, Japan, Thailand, China, and many other places as the president of the Manako Flower Academy here in Japan. The academy is an important and influential floral school that offers a variety of flower related courses from Japanese to Western floral designs, Ikenobo Ikebana, pressed flowers, and artificial flowers.

The floral demonstration was inspired by seven seas of the world. Each of the seven arrangements came from her experiences, travels, and thoughts. She offered brief commentary in Japanese which was translated for the audience. She has a wonderful speaking voice and exercises brevity in comments so that she and you can focus on the flowers.

It struck me as I watched her that she sculpts with flowers. Her arrangements are grand and have three dimensional shapes outside of a mere vase. She uses leaves to get at these different dimensions. She wove bear grass to create a sense of floating. It was all radically different from any ideas I've ever had about flower arranging. I leave you with some snapshots for your own inspiration.

Manako Rumiko arranging flowers
Inspired by the Aegean Sea
Inspired by the Andaman Sea
Inspired by the Baltic Sea
Inspired by the Yellow Sea
Inspired by the Mediterranean Sea
Inspired by the Sea of Kamakura (Sagami Bay)