What is Ikebana?
"Making Flowers Come Alive"
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."
Ikebana is a Japanese art form that follows certain design principles worked out over the course of many centuries. Beyond mere floral decoration, a really successful ikebana arrangement is meant to evoke a feeling in the observer in the same way an outstanding sculpture, painting or photograph might elicit an emotional response. Awe, wonder, excitement, joy, peace, tranquility, are just some of the feelings an ikebana arrangement might elicit in an observer.
Additionally, ikebana can also create an intellectual response in the observer that is often driven by their emotional response. Imagine seeing an outstanding sculptural ikebana arrangement and feeling very excited about how different and innovative it is and then asking yourself, “How did they do that?” Your question may pertain to the way the design was constructed, or the selection of the materials for the arrangement, or the source of the designer’s inspiration. All kinds of questions can flow out of an emotional response to an ikebana arrangement.
I personally love ikebana because it combines so many of the things that I love into one thing; artistic expression, good design, history, culture, philosophy, nature and of course pottery. I’m the type of person who “wants to learn everything about it”. I find all of the aspects of ikebana I just mentioned very interesting, so the Ikenobo School of Ikebana is a good choice for me as a student. It is the only school that has been involved in ikebana from the beginning.
You, on the other hand, may not be interested in all that stuff I just mentioned. Well here’s the good news! There are many different schools of ikebana with each one placing an emphasis on one or more aspects while minimizing others. Let’s say you are just interested in your own individual artistic expression, Sogetsu School may be a good fit for you. Interested in the cultural and spiritual aspects you say? - Then check out the Saga Goryu School. More of the “Nature Lover” type? Look into the Ohara School or the Kozan-ryu School of Ikebana. Do you have a specific place in your home or office where you would like to have ikebana arrangements? – Both Ichiyo and Wafu Schools of ikebana emphasize how well the arrangement fits into its intended environment. To learn more about the different schools, "click here".
Ikebana provides a completely different way of interacting with the natural world. It is a way of seeing beauty from another perspective and bringing that beauty into your life and home. It is such an exciting and unique art form. It literally is the way of making flowers come alive!