Those of us who either practise or just take an interest in Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement, must have come to realise that thinking and/or imagining outside of our normal ‘box’ is quite important to create an arrangement with some wow factor. My ability to do just that has, having practised Ikebana for some years now, grown more than I had envisaged before starting.
I was asked by a young lady to give a beginner’s lesson last week. Of course, due to the current restrictions it was held on-line via a video link although we both live in Ealing, West London. First, we started to explore arrangements with kenzan (pin holder) within a round container leading to three-dimensional composition.
Then my student showed me a narrow linear glass container that she has which made me think of a more contemporary type of Ikebana arrangement known in the Ikenobo school as Jiyuka. This style of arrangement does not need kenzan. However, the unique shape of the container itself gives rise to the overall design and this process means we need to think outside of our ‘box’, stretching the imagination. We generally tend to think and behave along a certain well-trodden path, not realising that there are unlimited ways available for any given situations. Through Ikebana I have come to appreciate that there is not just one answer, it depends on the context.
I am fortunate to get guidance from my aunt who has been an Ikebana teacher for over four decades. She once told me that the important thing is to keep learning and connect with flowers as often as possible. One of my methods of expanding my imagination is to see images of arrangements by other Ikebana practitioners as often as possible. This way my curiosity, desire to learn and practice more is kept alive.