Thanksgiving Ikebana

Here in Canada, Thanksgiving falls on the first Monday of October. In my house, we’ll often invite over a group of friends who don’t have big loud extended families to celebrate with. We go all-in, turkey and stuffing and homemade pumpkin pie. The works.

This year I decided to use what I’ve been learning about ikebana to create a centrepiece for the table, as a way to celebrate Thanksgiving and a way to look back on the recent harvest moon. I wanted to stick to the traditional shin/soe/hikae form in a straightforward moribana-style arrangement, and I wanted something that felt warm, welcoming, and harvest-friendly. The first things I found at the florist’s were some purple thistle flowers and small yellow blossoms that screamed autumn to me. The curly branches came next, adding height and structure to the arrangement, but it still felt lacking. I stepped into the back cold storage where they keep the fillers and unusual items and the ornamental cabbage called out to me. It’s got a great weight to it, totally fits the feel of autumn/harvest, and it even has delicate purple veining that helps echo the spiky thistle blossoms. I tucked the whole thing into a small green vase that nearly disappears under the cabbage, which worked out really well. It’s almost as if I’ve plucked the whole arrangement straight out of the garden. Some warm yellow and orange candles tied the whole thing together, infusing it with even more warmth and welcome feeling.

I have a lot to be thankful for in my life. I am surrounded by family and friends who love me. I have a job I enjoy, and hobbies I love to fulfil me. My health could be better, but it could also certainly be much worse, and I am lucky to live in a place where I don’t have to worry about medical emergencies bankrupting me. Sometimes there are days when I feel like everything is terrible, and I would do well to remind myself how few and far between those days are. The world feels like it’s falling apart sometimes, we’ve all got to take a moment to focus on the good things, wherever they come from. What are you thankful for this season? Please let me know!

Modern Monstera Ikebana

What first drew me to ikebana was the clean-lined simplicity of it all, the focus on a few sparse blooms without all the fluff and clutter that tends to be found in western-style flower deisgn. I’ve been experimenting a fair bit lately but I was itching to do a very sleek and low moribana-style arrangement, and when I found this gorgeous monstera leaf at the florist I knew it would be the perfect anchor for my next project. This interesting flower was all by its lonesome in a bucket in the flower fridge, and the texture and shape of it felt like a wonderful counterpoint to the glossy green foliage. I’m afraid I don’t remember what the flower is, but if anyone recognises it I’d love to know. The arrangement feels very heady and tropical to me, well-suited for to the oppressively muggy weather we’ve been having lately. I chose a very simple container to anchor them, in keeping with the clean and modernist vibe. I’m also quite pleased by how well the whole arrangement pops against the warm brown backdrop. This one might be incredibly simple, but it’s also incredibly effective.

Shape and Colour Ikebana

I bought this set of bud vases at everyone’s favourite enormous Scandinavian home goods store a while ago, with the intention of doing something with them, but I hadn’t decided on what. When I found a rose that was a very pale celadon green while out running errands today, I knew I’d found my project. I loved the idea of focusing on shape and colour here, and having three very balanced separate units forming one cohesive and harmonious grouping. I did debate using three different flowers to coordinate with the three different textures of vases, but in the end I felt that using the classic and neutral shape of the roses had the most impact. Thankfully, finding the pink and white ones was a breeze after the stroke of luck that was finding a greenish tinted one (I will be honest, I have no idea if it’s natural or if it was dyed for the florist’s, but either way it worked out quite well for me!) I think the soft, organic roses contrast the tactile and architectural quality of the vases perfectly, and the seeing the three of them together is like hearing three distinct notes coming together in one lovely chord. I arranged them simply on a dark surface to ensure all attention was on them without any background distractions, and I love the way they pop, pop, pop!

Day lily Ikebana

The Japanese concept of mono no aware (物の哀れ), or the sense of beauty that comes from the awareness of the transience of all things, is most often exemplified by the beautiful but short-lived cherry blossom season. However, while I was going through our garden looking for inspiration recently, it struck me that these gorgeous fire-like day lily blooms are another flower that is perfectly suited the concept, having as short and vivid a lifespan as they do.

I wanted to balance the modern, sharp, nearly abstract shapes of the lilies with something much softer and more delicate, and the gentle sweeping lines of our grapevine seemed like the perfect contrast. I then chose a very organic and vintage-feeling container and paired it in turn with a clean-lined and almost harsh pedestal. I aimed to create an arrangement that seemed as timeless as it was fleeting, things with a sense of age framed against things that have existed only for a moment. I love how they come together to form both visual and emotional balance, something I am working on as I continue my journey into ikebana.

Lush Peony Ikebana

It’s been incredibly hot and muggy and rainy out here lately. While it’s not particularly fun for me it’s been fantastic for the garden! I managed to catch this vivid pink peony at the ideal time; it’s blousy and open without a hint of decay on it yet. I knew I wanted to balance it out with some foliage, and decided to keep it all to things I could get from the garden. The hosta leaves provide a sense of grounding, and the little white flowers feel sweet and fresh. I will be honest, I don’t know what they are. The vessel is one I found at a thrift shop a few weeks back, and felt cool and refreshing, perfect for a heady, humid arrangement.