There are moments in our life that we need to take a break and breathe a little to relax. In this time and age, there are plenty of things that we can do to take our minds off to whatever stresses us. One of the things that we can do in order to slow things down a little bit is to learn Ikebana or the ancient Japanese art of floral arrangement.
The art of Ikebana is also seen as therapeutic. As technology develops faster than we all expected, people all over the world are desperately searching for ways to take the stress off their shoulders. Ikebana can help a person become more focused and organized in their everyday lives. In addition, it can also bring a slow change not only to the arranger but also to the observers of the arrangement. Similar to ornamental fish that has become an essential accessory in hospitals and boardrooms, the art of ikebana is also therapeutic for the beholder as well.
What is Ikebana?
Ikebana, or “the way of flowers” is defined as a traditional Japanese art that involves flower arrangement, conforming to strict principles and philosophies designed to produce beautiful harmony, balance and form. There are formal trainings in Ikebana that is carried out at different schools all over Japan. Foreign students can study with Ikebana masters as well.
An Ikebana arrangement is very distinctive and beautiful. Its design is very unique it cannot be confused with prevailing Western floral arrangements, which follow very different styles and principles.
The art of Ikebana actually started in China, where monks gave flower offerings to the Buddha. In the 6th century, Chinese Buddhists brought their floral arrangement practice to Japan, together with their knowledge of Buddhism. Since then, Japanese practitioners have refined the art, and later on created several major schools which include Rikka and Shoka. The practice of Ikebana is considered a spiritual and aesthetic art, and it is among in the many skills of accomplished Japanese men and women. Today, many Japanese women study Ikebana while exploring the possibilities of more avant-garde elements such as plaster and metal.
How to Make your Own Ikebana Design?
Ikebana is a distinctive floral design that strictly follows the concept of “heaven”, “earth” and “man”. Here are the things that you’ll need:
- Floral frog
- Shallow Vessel
- Plant materials with 3 different lengths (to represent heaven, earth and man)
- Some twigs
Take note that every Ikebana design has its own materials list. These are just some of the basic things that you’ll need in order to make your very first Ikebana.
- Place the floral frog inside the shallow vessel. Make sure that you put it on seven o’ clock position.
- Put the longest stem on the 11 o’ clock position of the floral frog. Make it lean for about 30 degrees on your left.
- The second longest stem should be placed on 8 o’ clock position of the floral frog. Make it lean for about 45 degrees on your left shoulder.
- The shortest stem should be positioned on 4 o’ clock of the floral frog. This time, make it lean for about 75 degrees of your left shoulder.
- Once the flower stems are perfectly positioned on the floral frog, cover it with leaves or anything that will hide it. Fill the shallow vessel with water to revitalize the flowers.
You can place your Ikebana floral designs in your home where there is heavy foot traffic e.g. living room and kitchen. You can also place these in your bedroom in order to provide a relaxing ambiance.
To the Western aesthetic taste, an Ikebana floral arrangement may seem very simple and bare. You may have seen too many flower arrangements in your life that contains different colors and shapes. However, an Ikebana flower arrangement includes spiritual and aesthetic values which have been refined over centuries. Every branch, twig, flower and leaf is carefully positioned, with the arranger considering its final look in contrast with the elements and its individual meaning. Form and color are two of the most essential considerations in Ikebana floral arrangement, with many arrangers using different plant materials in their quest for the best composition.