Tips & Tricks

Ikebana tips #24: caring for your hasami

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I suspect that may of us take our hasami for ganted.  Use them, pop them in our toolbox or drawer and that’s it.  But have you noticed that the dirtier they get the stiffer they become?  Unless you have the non-tarnishing professional hasami, your hasami will probably rust and become dirty with plant sap and bits as you use them over time.

But you really can help to keep them in good order, just by using sabitoru, kitchen oil and a little TLC.  And here’s how.

 

 

Ikebana tips #22: yes, it’s Sellotape!

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I’m sure you have a roll of Sellotape at home. But have you used it in Ikebana arrangements?

This week I want to show you how to have some fun with clear vases, using Sellotape instead of kenzan or other flower-holding methods. Why do we want to do that? Well, kenzan are wonderful, but not very pretty, especially after many uses. So in a clear vase it just looks naff.

So, get your Sellotape ready and let’s see the tip…

Ikebana tips #21: calla spaghetti

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I love to create interesting and unusual artistic effects in Ikebana using all manner of things. None more so that taking plant materials and adapting them – you might say that this is giving plants new life in a different form.

Calla is a very versatile flower and the stems can be very interesting too. So try taking a couple of calla stems, and it’s ok if the flowers are past their best, and use them to create…calla spaghetti!

Ikebana tips #20: tricky little apertures

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If, like me, you enjoy using unusual Ikebana containers, you’ve probably come across some with tiny apertures. You know; the ones that are too small for a kenzan: where flower foam would be too messy; and chicken wire too fiddly. And unless you do something, your flowers just will not stay where you want them.

Well, of course, there’s a simple way to deal with that and this tip will show you how. Yes, there’s some wire involved!

Ikebana tips #19: more from your daffs

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I suspect that most of us enjoy our daffodils; that burst of colour and energy that heralds the spring and warm weather and lots more flowers to come. But when our daffs are finished, the tempotation is to take off the dead the flower heads, fold over the leaves to make them a bit tidier, then ignore them until the next year’s spring.

Well really we shouldn’t just ignore them, because with a little trick we can do wonderfully creative things with their leaves – before we’ve folder them over, of course.

So, if you still have them unfolded, get out and cut a few daffodil leaves then use this simple wiring technique to do some lovely creative Ikebana arrangements…here’s this week’s video.

Ikebana tips #18: get your stapler ready

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There are all sorts of way to get creative with leaves, and sometimes the best ones are really the simplest…like this one.
With just a stapler and your imagination, you can take all sorts of leaves and fix them into shapes that give you unexpected opportunities for creativity.

Ikebana Tips #17: fun with phormium

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You have probably gathered that I enjoy the freely creative side of freetsyle Ikenobo Ikebana as well as the more traditional. I also like helping my students to expand their creativity in all sorts of ways; some techniques can be really unexpectedly simple, like in this tip.

This time you don’t need any tools, just your thumbnail and your imagination…enjoy!

Ikebana Tips #16: more modifying leaves

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I really love to see creative freestyle Ikebana arrangements. Fusing nature with human creativity opens up infinite possibilities to make really striking Ikebana arrangements. You’ve probably seen many of my students (and some of my) freestyle arrangements in the class photos I post most weeks.  If not, you can find them here or on my Instagram .

Anyway, I’d better show you my video for this week, which is the second about modifying leaves.  This time I’ll show you two ways to use the same technique to create fabulous architectural shapes with leaves.  Once you’ve seen the video, go on and try it yourself.  You can use these techniques with lots of different types of leaves and to create lots of different shapes.

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Ikebana tips #15: wiring techniques 4

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OK so I know this should be “wiring technique 3”, but Keith put the wrong number on the video! So we’re stuck with it.  I’ll do number three soon…although we might call it number 7 just to really confuse everyone!

Oh get on with the video, I think you’re saying, well this time I’ll show you how to use wires so that you can bend hollow or soft stems to curves and even sharp bends.

I’m sure you’ve tried arranging things like daffodils, anemone and snake grass which, if you try to introduce a curve or more angular bend, will often just kink and flop over.   This wiring technique will help you to over come that.

Ikebana Tips #14: let’s try modifying leaves

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Nature produces beautiful materials for us to use, but sometimes we can also take what nature provides and modify it.  In freestyle we are being totally creative, so anything goes and this includes re-shaping or reforming leaves.  And sometimes you can combine leaf modification with wiring to achieve all sorts of creative contortions, for freestyle fun!