The word Hana in Japanese means flower.
 
 
Kaki is the Japanese word for "flower vase" or "container to hold flowers".
 
 
kenzan naoshi pin frog straightening tool for ikebana
Kenzan Naoshi is the Japanese word for this tool. It is used to straighten bent pins in the kenzan (pin frog) when they are forced out of alignment by particularly tough woody materials used in an arrangement.

 
 
kenzan pin frog needle point holder
Kenzan, litterally "sword mountain", is the Japanese term used to refer to a "needle point holder" or "pin frog". The Kenzan is used to hold flowers and other plant materials in place when making an arrangement. The plant materials are cut at an angle using the hasami (shears), then inserted into the pins for placement. Kenzan are available in many different sizes, shapes, weights and needle sizes. 

 
 
hasami ikebana scissors or shears
Hasami is the Japanese word that refers to a type of scissors or shears used in ikebana to trim and cut plant materials. They are very sturdy and sharp making them ideal for cutting woody shrubs and branches.

 
 
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The word ikebana comes from the two Japanese words ike from the word ikeru meaning "to make live" and bana from the word hana meaning "flowers." The best english translation may be "making flowers come alive."

 
 
Rikka container for ikebana
This new "Rikka" style container has just been added to the web store inventory. It is 5.5 lbs, 10" tall and 10 1/2" in diameter. A more traditional shape, made from the "Cassius Black" claybody I mentioned in a previous post. With a dry matte, rust red glaze on the outer surface, this container is most suitable for Seika/Shoka, as well as Rikka designs. 

 
 

Adding Woody Material to Your Ikebana Design

In the Japanese art of Ikebana, sticks, twigs, branches and roots are often used as "line material" in the design of an arrangement. I am continually fascinated by the way a simple twig, branch or root can change the entire character of a pot/vase/container. I've included some images below to demonstrate what I mean.  
As you can see in the three images above, the vase by itself provides the foundation, while the branch begins the process of creating line, movement and maybe a little drama. This is just the beginning of designing an arrangement.
In the urn shaped container above, two very different tree roots create two very different moods. Both accentuate the vertical nature of the container yet the first root is curvy, smooth, and rounded while the second root is jagged and sharper (almost like teeth or claws). Both roots make the container more dramatic to be sure; the curvy one adding a soft, peaceful quality, the sharp, pointy one creating a more energetic - almost aggressive quality. The roots add to the foundation (the vase) and you build from there. 
In these final two images, I wanted to show (using the smooth curvy root from above) how the same "line material" could be used on a different container. I love the added drama this curvy root creates when combined with this more traditional bowl shaped vase.

So what do you think? Leave me a comment.
 
 
Ikenobo Ikebana Society - Blue Ridge Chapter
The Fall Workshop for the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Ikenobo Ikebana Society was held on September 17th and 18, 2014. Visiting Professor, Toshiko Komiya (front center in the dark suit), demonstrated and instructed in designing Rikka Shofutai, Shoka Shimputai and Free Style utilizing the new Ikenobo curriculum.  A welcoming dinner was held for Professor Komiya at the Square Root in downtown Hendersonville on the first night of her arrival.

We all found the sensei to be talented, creative, patient, and in possession of a great sense of humor. The Rikka exercise on the first day was particularly challenging, but Professor Komiya broke it down into three stages and this helped prevent what could have been a very overwhelming day. The traditional Rikka Shofutai is a very beautiful (and very time consuming) design, and while we all got very close to the sensei's standard, five hours really wasn't enough time. Her critique of our work was gentle and kind.

The second day found us making Shoka arrangements in the morning and Free Style arrangements in the afternoon. By day two, we all began to relax a bit (with the hard "Rikka" part behind us) and enjoy the more modern form of Shoka Shimputai and the creative expression that can be realized when designing Free Style. Below are some of Professor Toshiko Komiya's arrangements from the workshop.

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Professor Komiya's Rikka Shofutai
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Professor Komiya's Shoka Shimputai
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Professor Komiya's first Free Style arrangement
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Professor Komiya's third Free Style arrangement
We crammed a lot of instruction into those two days and a great time was had by all. We had beautiful plant materials to work with and a visiting professor that was simply a delight. 

And how did my own arrangements turn out you may wonder? 

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PotterJohn's Rikka Shofutai
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PotterJohn's Shoka Shimputai
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PotterJohn's Free Style arrangement #1
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PotterJohn's Free Style arrangement #2
 
 
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The August meeting of the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Ikenobo Ikebana Society was today at our member Laura's Garden. Professor Emiko Suzuki discussed the "In and Yo" of selecting and cutting plant materials out in the garden for Ikenobo arrangements. 

She also talked about the different ways parts of the same plant grow toward the light and which of these parts are most suitable for specific elements of an Ikenobo design. Using a "Shoka" arrangement as the example, Emiko showed us where to find the best material for "Shin" and "Soe" from a big azalea bush and how to study the growing pattern of a daisy to discover the best parts to cut for the "Tai" group. 

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Professor Suzuki shared her knowledge of how to best utilize the growing habits of different plant materials when planning a Free Style arrangement too. How one considers the plants can be influenced by whether the arrangement is right or left handed, upright, slanting or horizontal, the type of container used, and even the time of year (which can determine the availability of some materials).

Thank you Laura for opening your home and garden up to us. Thank you Professor Emiko Suzuki for sharing your knowledge and insight. And thank you again to Laura and all of the other members who contributed to a delightful luncheon.