Tips & Tricks

Ikebana tips #27: Introducing Shoka Shimputai

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For the next few of my videos, and as a prelude to developing more indepth lessons, I’d like to give you a tour of the different Ikenobo Ikebana styles.  To start with let’s take a brief look at Shoka Shimputai, one of the more modern of Ikenobo styles.

Shoka shimputai is modern, striking Shoka style of Ikebana that was introduced, in the 1977, by our current Headmaster Sen’ei Ikenobo.  It is a simpler form that reflects our modern lifestyles. Shoka Shimputai expresses life and is usually vivid and striking.  It embodies the concept of “less is more” …simple-looking Shoka Shimputai may be, but it can be tricky to arrange; watch out for mizugiwa…



Ikebana tips #26: alternative to Ukezutsu

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In my previous tip, #25, I showed you the traditional “ukezutsu” and how to use it. Of course, it’s not something everyone has lying around, so this time I thought I should show you an alternative that many of you will have in a  cupboard; a plastic water holder.


Ikebana tips #25: tricky rikka tip – ukezutsu


Rikka is a fascinating, beautiful style of Ikenobo Ikebana that is difficult to master. There are many techniques which will help you to create your masterpiece arrangement, and using ukezutsu to hold stems in position above the vase waterline is a key one to learn.  This tip will show you how.



Ikebana tips #24: caring for your hasami


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


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


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!

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