A few days ago, we found out about an ikebana workshop for foreigners and we decided to check it out. After all, ikebana is one of the first things which come to mind when thinking about Japan, so it was the perfect time to learn a bit more about the subtle art of arranging flowers.
When we got there, the room was filled with enthusiasts, all eager to embark upon their first ikebana experience. Each of us had their own flowers, vases and tools neatly arrayed in front of us, and a nice lady explaining the technique.
First, we had to create the basic structure for the arrangement, which we learned is based on a triangle made out of some sort of reeds placed in three main points. The triangle symbolizes either heaven, earth and man or the sun, the moon and the earth, depending on the particular Ikebana school you follow. The first reed has to be inclined 15 degrees toward your left shoulder, the second needs to be shorter and bent at 45 degrees towards your left shoulder as well, while the third and shortest reed has to slope 75 degrees and point toward your right shoulder. Something like this:
Then, the remaining flowers (in our case, peonies and lilies) have to be arranged in a minimalist yet creative way, for the whole structure to express a feeling of verticality and lightness.
The backstage work looked more or less like this:
with the final result looking like this:
Later on, inspired by this small fragment of enchantment, we attended a professional Ikebana exhibition, featuring some really brilliant and artful arrangements.