Fresh Green Ikebana

The rainy season is here, so of course it’s time for a lush ajisai (hydrangea) ikebana.

I actually did this one while I was in California last month; I’d had the bamboo-shaped vessel mailed to my friend there to save on shipping costs. I actually found the hydrangea while we were grocery shopping. I loved the refreshing pale green colour and the dense texture of the blooms, and thought they would be an excellent contrast to the stark white of the vase. I stuck to one plant material for this one to emphasise texture, contrast, and simplicity. It feels well-balanced and evokes a cool feeling to counter-act the summer heat and humidity. I do like the restraint of one type of plant material and suspect I will do more arrangements focusing on one type flower at a time.

However, I’m not sure this was as successful as I’d like it to have been because from a distance I think it looks like a bunch of cauliflower! I will have to try something different with this vase in the future.

Architectural Ikebana

Most of the arrangements I’ve done so far have been fairly loose and natural in feeling, working with the shape of the flowers instead of forcing them. I really wanted to try something more sculptural and geometric and work with straight lines and the very linear quality of lucky bamboo (which isn’t really bamboo) seemed like an excellent starting point. While I was at the florist’s I saw these gorgeous miniature purple calla lilies and I knew I’d found the perfect counterpart for the bamboo.

I focused on the diagonal lines to draw the eye from the top of the arrangement to the bottom. Initially I’d just wrapped the vase in the faux banana leaf but the colour balance felt off. I found this ribbon while packing for vacation; it’s actually the belt from a dress I have. The mauve was a perfect match for the calla lilies, and it really helps to anchor the whole arrangement and make it feel much more balanced. Overall, this one turned out very close to what I’d initially had in mind, and I’m very happy with it!

Two recent komon – meisen and BUNNIES!

My track record of “adopting” things from other folks once again rears its head today. Both of these were inherited from prior owners.

Sythetic hitoe with BUNNIES!
Bunny Hitoe Komon

Bunny Hitoe Komon

I’m sorry, I’m just far too excited by this piece. It’s just so cute! Jaclyn bought it and another komon with bunnies at the same time, and decided that the other one was more to her liking. I’d mentioned how cute I found this one, and she knows how difficult it is for me to find kimono that fit me well, so here it is! This thing is a whopping 171cm/68″ long, and 140cm/55″ wide. It’s enormous, and the only kimono I own that fits me properly. It’s unlined but not summer weave, so I should be able to get a fair bit of wear out of it in this climate.

Purple geometric meisen komon
Purple Geometric Meisen Komon

Purple Geometric Meisen Komon

Naomi got this in a large bundle, and kindly gave it to me when I was down there visiting a while ago. It’s just about long enough for me to fudge a tiny ohashori out of, and if need be I can wear it without one due to how casual it is. The colour is so rich and lush.

Late Bloomer

So today is Seijin no Hi (成人の日), or Coming of Age Day in Japan. Traditionally, it’s a day for young adults who have acheived the age of maturity, twenty, to celebrate. It’s traditional for young women to wear their brightest, most fun furisode (long-sleeved kimono), sort of as a way of saying goodbye to childish things. Once women get older and marry, they no longer wear this type of kimono, so for a lot of girls it’s the last “appropriate” time they’ll have to wear one.

This year, I will be turning thirty – not twenty. However, I also currently live with my folks (who are incredibly awesome people, and I will get to that again shortly), I work in a toy store, and aside from kimono I collect toys and comic books. It would not be a stretch to say that mentally, I have not really reached any reasonable level of maturity XD. So I figured I may as well bust out one of my furisode, since I rarely have the opportunity to wear them anyway. I chose to wear my mauve peony and bamboo furisode, since it’s beautiful and has special meaning to me – I bought it the first time I went to visit my best friend. I paired it up with my irridescent blue-green paving stone obi, and hot pink accessories. Oh, and an eyepatch. As I mentioned in my previous entry, I managed to use my mad coordination skills a week ago to scratch my cornea with a fork. Yes, you did read that right. And yes, it was as painful as you’d imagine. Thankfully it is getting better!

Botan Furisode

“Arrrrrr!”
Botan Furisode

Now, to one of the many reasons I have awesome parents. I really wanted to try doing a furisode-appropriate musubi with this outfit, but I don’t own any tools to tie them on myself. My amazing dad offered to help me out, and using his magical engineer brain figured out how to tie a fukura suzume (chubby sparrow) knot in a few mere minutes. Unfortunately, this obi has no core and is incredibly floppy. The bow looked great as long as I stood perfectly still. As soon as I moved, it would just sort of collapse in on itself and look like it had melted. He tried several times, but through no fault of his it just wasn’t going to work. This obi is just too soft. In the end I decided to work with the floppiness and make a sort of a poofy bunko/chou-chou bow-style knot. I think all things considered, it turned out quite well.
Botan Furisode

Botan Furisode

I also decided to go a bit nuts with my footwear and layered some pinky-ivory lace tabi over some dark purple tabi. I really like how this looks.
Botan Furisode