15 September 2010


Yesterday, I attended my first Ikebana lesson. It was taught by a Japanese lady who stayed here for the last couple of years. She displayed a work of hers during the recent SGF 10 at our display booth.

I learnt about the triangle formation - shin, soe and hikae. The shin and soe are the branches and leaves, whilst the hikae is the flowers. There is a formula to the length and angle of it all as shown briefly below based on my memory:

shin : height = (length or diameter of container + height of container) x 1.5, angle = 15 degree
soe : height = shin x 3/4, angle = 45 dgree
hikae : height = soe x 3/4, angle = 75 degree

As with all such lessons, the trainer would show us how to put together the whole setup and we would then have our time to do it and she would walked around giving her comments and assistance. Her works were shown in the first 2 photos.

When she reached my display for the first time, she asked if I had any problems, to which I said no. She came back a second round and she just stared at my creation for a while, seemingly a bit stunned. I was nervous when it comes to such critiques because I don't like to be told that my work is like crap. I have pride in what I do and I take such feedback rather seriously.

Anyway, when she spoke, I listened attentively. She commented that ikebana is about space and depth, and mine (shown in 3rd and 4th photos) was too dense, much like a western style floral arrangement. In her words, she said there needs to be space for wind to go through and that I need to remove some leaves to create separation to give that sense of space and depth. With that, I let out a laughter. She then added that the combination of plants I chose was interesting and that I should continue to come back for her lessons because she thinks I would do well. When she walked away, I was back to some snipping of leaves etc. The end result was as shown from the 5th to 7th photos. Yes, I admit mine looks more like a western floral arrangement unlike hers which had a simple elegance to it with all the clear spaces around the plants.

But anyway, I received all the encouragement I needed and I would definitely be back again for the next round in October. The truth was, it felt therapeutic doing it and I was enjoying the fun and tranquility of piecing it together. Her notes were the same as those shown in the link below: