Sunday, August 29, 2010


Friday afternoon at 4pm I had my first Ikebana class. I am officially a member of the school club now and once or twice a month I go to do some ‘flower arranging’. It was deadly! This cool old Japanese woman was the teacher, her hair was so long and grey, all pulled back really tight in a bun and her lips were crazy red. Not many did the class which meant I was mothered by both the teacher and the students. You pay around 5 euro for the flowers and then the teacher will guide you how to organise the arrangement. Each class you get a hanko stamp from the teacher and your aim is to get a certificate at the end.

You have a shallow vase with water, a small bowl with water (which you clip the stems in), a clippers , and about five flower stems. You also need a triangular metal thing with spikes which you submerge in the water and stick the stems into, its seriously spiky nobody warned me and I creased my poor wee finger on it! So what I picked up (from some students’ translations and pictures on the board) was that the arrangement is all based around the ‘subject’ this is the largest stem in the arrangement. The subject should measure twice the length of the vase + twice the height of the vase. It should be placed at the back centre of the spike thing and standing vertically. Next is your ‘anchor’, this is a stem with the most flowers I think, this should be 1/3 of the height of the subject placed in the same line as the subject but at the front, it should be at a 45degree angle. Then I kinda lost track but I know that all the stems must be placed in as straight a line as possible, no flowers or stems should dip obviously out of the arrangement. The other stems should be at alternative heights between the anchor and the subject, there are specific measurements but I couldn’t keep up at this stage with my lack of language! You should never cut the stems in open air but always submerged in the water bowl. I thought I did an ok job and the teacher was praising me a lot but she ended up sympathetically smiling and changing the whole thing! Live and Learn!

Flowers before
Ikebana Sensei
Teaching her tricks
The tools

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