Ikebana Workshop: Fun with Flowers

'"Flowers become human in ikebana." - Sofu Teshigahara, Founder of the Sōgetsu School of Ikebana

Canterbury Japan Day came early to Tūranga last week, with events ranging from origami and haiku workshops to music performances. I had the pleasure of attending the ikebana workshop on Thursday, and it was such a treat!

Ikebana (生け花), the art of Japanese flower arrangement, has been evolving for more than seven centuries, and has gained popularity around the world since with its beautiful, elegant forms. We were fortunate to have the talented Robyn, Ellen and Vickie from Christchurch Ikebana Sōgetsu come and host a workshop showing us how to make sōgetsu-ryū (草月流), or Sōgetsu School style, ikebana arrangements.

The workshop kicked off with a demonstration of how to do a simple sōgetsu arrangement using flat suiban (水盤) vases and brass kenzan (剣山), also known as a 'spiky frog'. Check out the image gallery below to see Robyn putting together her arrangement.

The Sōgetsu School of ikebana gives its students more creative freedom that some other schools, meaning that any sorts of plants can be used. The workshop used a variety of different flowers, like roses and daisies, proteas and hydrangeas, even raspberry canes! The main focus of the arrangements was to emphasise the natural beauty of the foliage and flowers, rather than making them behave in an unnatural way.

Next we got to have a go at making our own arrangements! It was amazing how meditative and relaxing it was, even while taking a lot of focus. We each got to select our main branches, and used them along with the flowers we had at each table. I loved how everyone's arrangement turned out so different, even using the same techniques and style. It was such great fun, and a really unique experience that's made me want to do more!

Check out the gallery with photos from the workshop, including pictures of all the finished ikebana arrangements, and some stunning examples from the tutors.

A special thanks to the tutors, Robyn, Ellen, Vickie, and the helpers, Mary and Kay from Christchurch Ikebana Sōgetsu for their great work running the workshop, and to Consul David Tsunakake and Maureen Heffernan from the Christchurch Consular Office of Japan for their support.

Workshop Photo Gallery

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