January 2017

Ikebana Tips #12: wiring techniques 1

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In Ikenobo Ikebana we love to be creative, and in this tip I’d like to show you as simple way to get  creative with leaves, by using wire.

This is a simple way to take soft leaves that will break if bent or just spring back and shape them the way you want them.  Here I demonstrate how to bend beautiful cordyline leaves into gentle curves.  This is a technique I use in lots of arrangements.  In rikka I can make the right-angled bends we need to accompany mizugiwa and in freestyle….well you’ll see in my finished arrangement.

Ikebana Tips #11: alternatives to kenzan pt4

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My final alternative to kenzan pinholders in Ikenobo Ikebana

This time I thought I’d get really traditional.  But although traditional, this Ikenobo Ikebana technique is really still very useful today, and with some advantages over kenzan pin-holders.

Often we use vases with narrow apertures, for which kenzan are not practical, or perhaps just won’t fit. For freestyle and Nageire we have already covered using twigs, wire and uzumaki, but even they may not do the job we want.  This is especially true when we are arranging Tatehana, the predecessor to rikka, and if you are going to arrange large traditional rikka, then straw is a must…seriously!

So here’s the video…I hope you’ll enjoy and try this at home.

Ikebana Tips #10: alternatives to kenzan pt3

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More alternatives to kenzan pinholders in Ikenobo Ikebana

In my previous tip I showed you how to use wire and uzumaki in vases with awkward apertures, or glass vases with wide open tops. These are quite modern ways to hold your flowers in Ikebana arrangements. In today’s double tip I’ll show you ancient, traditional ways using just twigs.

Both these methods have been in use by Ikenobo Ikebana masters for centuries and they really are still commonly used today. The first is a simple way to hold flowers in Nagiere style and I think many of us have exeprienced the tricky problem of holding flowers at interesting angles in this Ikenobo Ikebana form.

The second is great for shoka and its simplicity belies its usefulness in achieving the straight line of stems we want…and watch out for the final element to fix the flowers in place once you have your arrangement completed.

So Lets take a look at the video…I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Ikebana Tips # 9: alternatives to kenzan pt2

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More alternatives to kenzan pinholders in Ikenobo Ikebana

In my previous tip I got all colourful. And this time I am mixing one colourful, contemporary alternative to kenzan pinholders with a perhaps usually hidden one.

Clear vases can present a challenge; how can we hide the kenzan? Well, the first way is to use coloured wire, get creative and make it part of your Ikebana arrangement!

And then there are the awkward vases, that most schools of Ikebana, including Ikenobo, love to use. You know, the ones with tiny or odd-shaped apertures into which nothing will seem to fit….like the arch-shaped one I show you in the second part of the video.

So Lets take a look at the video…

Ikebana Tips #8: fun alternative to using kenzan

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Alternatives to kenzan pin-holders #1

These days kenzan pin-holders are our usual method for holding flowers in Ikebana arrangements. But kenzan are a relatively recent introduction.

Kenzan origins are tightly-bound bundles of straw called “komiwara”, that would be pushed into the stem of a vase and the materials inserted between the straw. More of that in a later tip, but I thought it would be fun to start 2017 with a colourful variation of komiwara; drinking straws! Yes, that’s right.

I will post a few more alterntives to kenzan, old and not so old, over the coming weekes but let’s start with my tip to show you how to use, drinking straws in Ikebana.