Winter to Spring Ikebana

Here is is, guys; my first attempt at a proper ikebana arrangement!  After spending the past week and a half poring over the books I’ve received. There’s two still in the mail, but the ones I’ve got already help a ton. There is so much to learn, and I suspect in a year or so I will look back on this one with embarrassment, but for now I’m very proud of myself.

For this first project I wanted to keep things simple, so I stuck with a moribana-style arrangement with three types of plant materials representing the shin, soe, and hikae elements. The pussy-willows were chosen to represent the upcoming spring, but also to remind me of my grandmother Lorraine, whose collections and passions for Japanese art have always inspired me. She had pussy-willows in a glass vase in her apartment at all times. The white spider chrysanthemums felt like an ideal way to represent Japan. The red berries represent the last of winter, and bring a bit of colour and rhythm into an otherwise very quiet arrangement.

This was very soothing for me to make, and I’m very much looking forward to continuing this project as I get more access to flowers and greenery.

Soft spring outfit

So my health is still a bit wobbly and on top of everything else I have a terrible cold, but I’d been itching to attempt the kamifusen (paper balloon) musubi and figured this sweet pussy-willow unlined komon I bought in NYC a few years back would be a great way to coordinate a pretty little casual spring ensemble.

I followed this great tutorial from Bangasa Kimono on youtube. Because the obi I chose to work with is incredibly slippery I ended up needing a hand from my eternally patient father, but we got it looking adorable in the end. Because the obi is quite long, the “bow” portion under the “balloon” portion ended up very wide, which I think makes it even cuter! I also love the pink and blue willow buds on the kimono, and chose to accent them with pink and blue in the accessories. I know I use this blue and pink haneri an awful lot, but it just works so well with so many of my coordinations! The obijime is pale pink on the solid side and blue, brown, and white on the other. I’d forgotten than I had it, but I don’t think I could have found a better one to tie all the colours in the outfit together.

They followed me home, I swear.

If you’re an avid collector, it can get to the point where kimono and related items really do just start following you home. As I mentioned in this entry, I came home with a bunch of kimono in my suitcase, despite my best efforts. One of them is a gorgeous Tokaido piece I’d actually purchased on eBay and had shipped to my friend Jamie, due to the postal strike, and it will be getting its own entry. Here are the other two.

Mauve-brown pussywillow komon
Pussywillow Komon

Pussywillow Komon

We were out browsing and shopping in Soho and Jamie started getting amusingly evasive and vague about our next destination. I was so touched when we ended up at Kiteya, a beautiful gem of a shop. The front of the store is filled with wonderful Japanese handicrafts, jewelry, art objects, etc. The back room has two big comfy chairs (which made the rest of our group very happy) and a bunch of kimono (which made me very happy). The service was wonderful, everyone was very friendly and helpful. There were some incredibly gorgeous vintage pieces, but their prices were pretty much gallery-standard, and while they were not unreasonable they’re more than an online bargain-hunter like myself is used to paying, and the only piece I was tempted to justify a big price on (Taisho houmongi with gorgeous peacock design) was just waaaaay too short for me. I was about to give up when I noticed this modern synthetic piece buried under a bunch of other things.

This colour is not only impossible to describe, it was impossible to photograph too. It’s sort of a dusty mauvey brown taupe something I dunno. A pinkish brown, a brownish pink, I’m not sure? But I do know it’s completely adorable. I love pussywillows, they remind me of my grandmother, who always had a bundle in her living room. The ones on here are very adorable too, in soft springy shades of pink and blue. It’s a nice versatile spring kimono, and I look forward to wearing it. I needed more wearable, unlined pieces anyway.

Black tsukesage-komon with diamond fan design
Black fan tsukesage-komon

Black fan tsukesage-komon

This is kind of a funky oddity – it’s a half lined komon but arranged in very specific stripes, there’s even a seam across the hips to help ensure the pattern falls properly. I actually won this awesome piece in a raffle at the street fair mentioned a few entries back, and it’s not only unique and quirky, but it fits me really well. It’s so awesome. It’s half-lined in bright red, but the top is unlined which will help keep it airy and breathable. I also love how the design from afar just looks like little diamonds, but up close they’re actually fans. It’s so charming.