Ikebana is the Japanese traditional art of arranging flowers. Ike (ikeru 生ける) means to give life or to arrange and bana (hana 花) means flower. It therefore translates as giving life to flowers or arranging flowers.
Ikebana is a disciplined art form in which nature and humanity are brought together. Consideration is given to the choice of plant material, vase, the placement of flowers or branches and the relationship of those branches with the vase and their environment.
Emphasis is also placed on negative space, which forms an important part of the arrangement.
The Sogetsu School was founded in 1927 by Sofu Teshigahara. It is one of the youngest ikebana schools in Japan and one of the most avant-garde.
Sogetsu Ikebana follows the philosophy that anyone can do ikebana; anywhere, anytime and with any material. Thus conventional plant material, as well as unconventional man-made materials, can be used in Sogetsu Ikebana.
Classic ikebana rules for basic arrangements are studied, however, importance is also placed on individual originality and creativity.
Ikebana is more than merely placing flowers in a vase. Sofu Teshigahara once commented; “Flowers become human in ikebana”. The soul of the person arranging ikebana is directly reflected in their work and, thus, an arrangement then becomes a direct reflection of that person.
Once you start studying ikebana you step onto the path of flowers, commencing a journey that can last a lifetime.
If you would like to commence your own flower journey please feel free to contact me regarding ikebana lessons. Alternatively, if you would like to join my journey along the path of flowers, please follow my blog.
Photography by Ben Huybrechts
Elements of Zen Buddhism are evident in ikebana. There is a strong connection with nature and the seasons.
In ikebana, the notion of 'mindfulness' is expressed in each arrangement, as importance is placed on the process and experience of arranging flowers, as much as the final product.
As with Zen Buddhism, aesthetics lie in the transitory beauty of nature, with its imperfections. Simplicity is valued over abundance and harmony is achieved through imbalance and asymmetry.
photography by Ben Huybrechts