A fortnight ago I had the honour of teaching a double workshop for the Sogetsu Ikebana New York Branch at the Japan American Association, New York City. It was a joy to be able to teach face-to-face workshops again and to have the opportunity to meet so many talented US‑based ikebana artists.
My favourite part in the lead up to any international workshop is visiting the local flower market. The flower market in New York City is quite different to others I have visited. Rather than a single building or large wholesaler, the NYC Flower District is made up of a multitude of individual storefronts along 28th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues).
Arriving early in the morning, I was thankful for the relative warmth of each small shop, which gave me some reprieve from the bone chilling -10 degrees C (14F) cold. Once we had made our selection, we carried our bundles of flowers and branches home on the bus and spent the rest of the morning preparing them for the following day’s workshops.
The theme for both the morning and afternoon workshops was to create and deconstruct forms to produce mass and negative space. In the morning, members deconstructed bamboo mats and used them alongside pine and chrysanthemums to create arrangements in which negative space was integral to their creations.
The afternoon workshop was equally as fun. Arrangements that focussed on mass and negative space were created by combining Gloriosa lilies and liriope with cardboard egg cartons. I was overjoyed at the results! Everyone created very beautiful and diverse arrangements.
I would like to express my sincerest thanks to the Sogetsu Ikebana New York Branch for giving me the opportunity to teach face-to-face workshops. International workshops are not only a wonderful way to share knowledge and exchange ideas but also, as we move forward, they provide an opportunity to raise our hopes for the future, forging new friendships that will last a lifetime.
All of the participants arrangements can be viewed on the Sogetsu New York Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/ikebanasogetsunewyork/
My deepest thanks and gratitude goes to Christine Donck-Guelton for documenting the workshop and photographing everyone's arrangements.