Tips & Tricks

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!

Ikebana Tips #13: wiring techniques 2

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In my previous Ikenobo Ikebana tip, #12, I showed you a nice easy way to get curved shapes into leaves, so that you can bend them without them breaking.  This tip is also nice and easy, and it will let you have even more fun with shaping leaves.  You may have seen some examples in my recent classes photos.

You will need wire and some sticky tape or surgical tape but it doesn’t have to be anything special.  So, here we go with wiring part 2!

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.

Ikebana Tips & Tricks #7: caring for your kenzan

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Kenzan pin-holders may be heavy and made of metal but they do still need looking after.

Pins get bent, the rubber mats accumulate bacteria and bits of plants get stuck in them. If you don’t clean them after use, they’ll taint the water of your next arrangement. Leaving the pins bent will make it difficult to add your materials.

And if we look after them they will last longer.

So how can we care for our kenzan pin-holders? This tip will tell you how.

This is my last Ikebana tip of 2016, but I already have another nearly ready to post, to start 2017.

Happy New Year!!!

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