Designing without the Background
Ikebana Relief Flower Arrangement
For my second experiment with Ikebana relief designs, I decided to create something that used the actual wall as the background - eliminating the tray, board, scroll, etc... that one would normally use to build upon.

I have seen relief arrangements that incorporated an open grid or lattice made of bamboo - but I wanted something more organic and irregular. I settled on a nice piece of wild grape vine I have growing on my property as my starting point. 

The additional materials I used for this design included a long narrow ceramic container glazed in a dark rust red ash glaze, 26 gauge floral wire, wire cutters, hasami, ginger leaves, and three yellow "stock" mums.

After running the wire through the two small holes in the back of the container, the grape vine was then wired to the back of the container and a hanging loop formed.

With the wiring completed, all that was left to do was arrange the ginger leaves and yellow mums. I just love the tropical feel of this design - exactly what I needed after a long cold winter!

If you are enjoying this series of posts or have any questions, leave a comment below. And if you like this series, do share it with your ikebana friends.
An Ikebana Relief Design with a Traditional Feeling
Ikebana Relief Design Using Pussy Willow and Lavender Mums
As I said in part 1 of this series, I wanted to start my design experiments by producing a design with a more traditional look and feel. 

So I started with a bamboo tray as a background, frame, and structure to build from. Additional items to make this arrangement included a small turquoise ceramic container, 26 gauge floral wire, wire cutters, hasami, pussy willow (2 twigs) and lavender "stock" mums (2 flowers).  You really don't need much to create one of these arrangements. 

The ceramic container (for sale on this website) has two very small holes in the back to allow it to be wired to almost anything. I just ran the wire through the holes and then through the bamboo tray. Giving the wire a couple of twists on the back side of the tray tightens the container to the tray and makes everything secure.

The trickiest part of this arrangement was finding the proper placement of the wire on the back side of the tray to create a hanging loop. Because of the off center nature of this design, the wire hanging loop also has to be located off center to get the arrangement to hang straight. The hanging wire is actually located near the top of the tray and directly above the ceramic container.

I'd love to hear your thoughts about relief arrangements - just click on the comments section below and if you have any questions, I'll do my best to answer them.
Moving Ikebana from the Table to the Wall
Ikebana Relief Floral Arrangement
At the October, 2014 meeting of the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Ikenobo Ikebana Society, in Hendersonville, NC, Laura Felt and Norma Zunich presented the design of relief style ikebana arrangements. 

Over the next several months, I created some containers that I thought would be suitable for this type of arrangement in the hopes of trying them out at the chapter meeting workshop on relief style arrangements scheduled for February, 2015. Unfortunately, that meeting was cancelled due to winter weather.

Anxious to try this type of design out for myself, I scheduled a whole day in the studio to experiment and make this type of arrangement. I decided to start with something that would look more traditional and then work towards a more modern interpretation.

With few rules, this design maximizes creativity!
The rules for relief style arrangements in Ikebana (as presented by the Ikenobo school) are few and unique:
  • Arrangements must be made to hang on a wall
  • Use at least one natural, live material (you can use dried materials, man made materials, etc... just remember to include one live material)
  • There should be a clear focal point
  • Mechanics and containers should not be visible unless they blend with or contribute to the overall design of the arrangement
  • If you are using two or more flower containers, the arrangement should show a connection between them: similar in design, color, size, connected by blossoms, line materials or other design elements

Comment and let me know what you think about Ikebana Relief Arrangements - and if you've never experienced this type of arrangement before, join me for parts 2 through 5 in this series and see some of the many possibilities!