kenzan

Ikebana tips #23: gravity-defying kenzan

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Sometimes our creative desires can be thwarted by equipment and one such situation is when you’d like to arrange heavy materials from the sloping side of a vase.

Clearly it isn’t practical to glue a kenzan to the side nor can you use another kenzan to hold it. But fortunately there is a very elegant and easy-to-do solution, as you’ll see in this tip; it is quite wonderful just how useful wire can be, don’t you think?

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 #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!!!

Ikebana Tips & Tricks #6: soft, hollow stems

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In my Ikebana classes I often show my students tricks that will help their Ikebana arranging. I decided to record this particular one after showing one of my Ikebana students, who remarked that it was such a very simple yet really useful tip.

So, the problem this time is how to hold tall, hollow stems, particularly those that are soft and difficult to insert firmly into a kenzan. Amaryllis is a great example, as you’ll see in my Ikebana tip #6

And don’t forget to send me your question or suggestion for a tip or trick and if I can turn it into a short video, I’ll be pleased to. Just contact me with your How to…? question.

Tips & Tricks #5: keeping your kenzan stable in shallow vases

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In my previous Ikebana tip I showed you how to keep your tall vase and the kenzan stable, particularly when using tall and heavy materials. But we also use tall, heavy materials in shallow vases in which gravel and a kenzan stabiling leg can’t be used.

This tip, #5, will show you how.

Do you have a “how to?” type question about Ikebana? Send me your question or suggestion for a tip or trick and if I can turn it into a short video, I’ll be pleased to. Just contact me with your How to…? question.

Tips & Tricks #4: keeping your tall vases stable

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Students and demonstration audiences often look on nervously as I arrange tall and heavy materials in tall, narrow-based vases.  They do look so very unstable.  So in my 4th Ikebana Tip, I thought I would show you how to overcome this, with a simple by very effective solution, and a rather special type of kenzan designed for the purpose.

Do you have a “how to?” type question about Ikebana? Send me your question or suggestion for a tip or trick and if I can turn it into a short video, I’ll be pleased to. Just contact me with your How to…? question.

This is how…and by the way, we stock these kenzan in my shop!