Sunny Balance Ikebana

Full confession – I actually made this arrangement back in November, using some more of my birthday bouquet, and then forgot to post it! It’s worked out well though, for multiple reasons. The weather here is cold and dreary and terrible, and seeing some bright sunny flowers is good for the soul. Also, I’ve been fighting off some really unpleasant ear infection/flu situation for nearly a month now and don’t have much energy to do anything right now, so finding these to share with you guys was a stroke of luck.

I wanted to work on “off-balance balance”, countering the airy reach of the branches and greens with a more mounded, solid-feeling arrangement of flowers. I am quite happy with the chaotic profusion of the flowers, how you can’t completely tell where one ends and the next begins. It’s a contrast to the sparse and open arrangements I’ve been gravitating towards recently and getting out of my comfort zone is never a bad thing!

I may be feeling miserable physically at the moment, but at least these pictures are bringing a little sunny happiness into my life.

Origami Ikebana

Sometimes, when you combine two very traditional Japanese art forms, you get something delightfully modern and original – like origami ikebana!

A friend of mine just bought a new condo and is having a get-together this weekend. I wanted to bring her a little something but plants or real flowers were out of the question due to a very clever and curious kitty friend. I tried to think of something I could make that would be bright and cheerful and pet-friendly and it struck me that I could make paper flowers and do a traditional arrangement with them! I made three salmon lilies, two purple flowers that don’t really look like anything specific, and lots of foliage. The centres of the purple flowers are rolled and curled yellow paper, and the lilies have floral wire and pearls. The stems are just floral wire and floral tape. The thin wire gives the lilies some movement, but they can be manipulated into place if necessary. I admit, I did use some glue to attach flowers and foliage to the stems, but most of this arrangement is held together with nothing more than sharp folds and hope!

I’m really happy with it overall. I just hope my friend likes it!

Memorial Ikebana

Today marks the 28th anniversary of the École Polytechnique massacre here in Montreal. A man, one who explicitly blamed women for all of his problems and failures, stormed a local university and shot twenty-eight people, killing fourteen women. December sixth has since become a day of remembrance for the women who lost their lives as well as a more general National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

Today’s ikebana is my way of memorialising and remembering the victims. White roses anchor the piece and represent hope, as well as the White Ribbon Campaign. The green buds bring a little texture in and protect the white roses, and the large leaves work to bridge the two disparate halves of the arrangement as well as evoking a bridge to a better world.

I’m fairly proud of this one. I’ve been trying to do more low, wide pieces and this worked out quite well. It feels balanced and organic as well, which I’ve come to realise is something I’m very fond of doing.

Realistically, I know that playing with flowers isn’t going to change anything in a world where there are still people who view women as second-class citizens, even here in North America. However, I would ask that you please spare a moment today to think of these women who violently and senselessly lost their lives for nothing more than the “crime” of wanting an education. Think of them, and think of the women worldwide who suffer at the hands of society around them.


Geneviève Bergeron
Hélène Colgan
Nathalie Croteau
Barbara Daigneault
Anne-Marie Edward
Maud Haviernick
Maryse Laganière
Maryse Leclair
Anne-Marie Lemay
Sonia Pelletier
Michèle Richard
Annie St-Arneault
Annie Turcotte
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz

Belated Birthday Ikebana

Last Thursday, my cousin sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers for my birthday. I enjoyed them as-is for a week, but like all flowers, they eventually started looking a little limp. Some of them, however, were still great and fresh so I thought I would try to give them a bit of a second life, since I’m not quite ready to part with them yet.

There were some freshly opened lilies and beautiful lisianthus in shades of purple that were still looking quite lovely. I used the same lucky bamboo from the really architectural-style arrangement I made a few months back to add structure to the soft-stemmed lisianthus and anchored the whole arrangement with the pale pink lilies. I chose a green vessel so it would kind of fade into the background.

Overall I really like how this one turned out, but I’ve come to realise that I am definitely falling into a rut. I’ve been doing an awfully large amount of sparse upright arrangements featuring purple flower of some sort or another. I need to start diversifying, working on more modern shapes, and more low wide natural-feeling ones. Unfortunately now that winter’s nipping at our heels I don’t have as much access to interesting flowers. However, I know I will be splurging a couple of times and doing something for Christmas and something for New Year’s, at the very least.

Unseasonably Sunny Ikebana

Typically, ikebana should reflect the seasons and the natural world around you. I’d been meaning to make an arrangement inspired by falling leaves, but haven’t sourced nice enough foliage. It’s also been very cold and dreary here lately, the sun is setting by half past four in in the afternoon, and we had our first snow of the year today, which isn’t exactly inspiring to me. I still want to attempt an ikebana with fall foliage, but I just wasn’t feeling it today.

So when I found this bright, happy sunflower at the florist’s I decided to bring a little sunlight into my day. Vibrant purple irises and these little yellow pom-pom like craspedia blossoms balanced both shape and colour of the sunflower, and combined to form a nice tall standing arrangement. This shallow, bright yellow vessel seemed like the perfect container. It’s actually a serving bowl, but it worked out so well.

It may be entirely inappropriate for the season, but it makes me smile, and we all need a little more of that in our lives lately, don’t we?