Modern Tulip Ikebana featuring FloraGUPPY

After last week’s relatively unsuccessful ikebana I was determined to redeem myself. I received this really neat little tool that I’d ordered called the FloraGUPPY and found three perfect red-orange tulips in the garden so I figured it was time.

One of the tulips had a bit of a bend in it, so I carefully emphasised that into an organic-feeling curve and then did the same to the other two, for a really nice shape and flow. I framed them with two lucky bamboo stems, and really like how sleek this feels. I’m definitely much happier with it than I am with last week’s!

The FloraGUPPY is a clear plastic two-part sphere that clips together with a number of different-sized holes. You can feed the flowers through the holes at different angles to achieve all sorts of cool arrangements. While not completely invisible, the clear plastic does look much more seamless than a heavy metal kenzan or other traditional tools. This makes it ideal for sparse modern arrangements in glass containers, exactly like this one. It’s also slightly flexible in its default state, which is ideal for putting in odd-shaped vessels. But the really cool part is that if you dunk it in hot water, it becomes even more malleable, making it suitable for pretty much any container! I can’t wait to find more uses for it.

 I purchased this item myself and chose to review it.If you have a topically appropriate craft, product, or service you would like me to review, please contact me. 

A Questionable Success

Sometimes being really obstinately determined to accomplish something is the worst way to go about it. I’d been wanting to do something with the flowers from the trees in the park near my house since the forsythia started blooming about a week ago. However, the timing just never seemed to work out.

Last night, I was insistent. I’m still not feeling great and I’d had a long, painful, irritating day at work, but still I was convinced that stopping in the park and getting some branches was absolutely necessary. The forsythia are just beyond their prime and the crab-apples are about to burst open, so it was really the last time I’d be able to pick both of them and have them be workable at the same time.

As you can see though, I was not in the right state (either physically or emotionally) to try to do a decent arrangement. The branches fought me every step of the way and rather than pull back and take a moment to rethink my concept, I just pushed forward and made the best of a less-than-ideal situation. Not the best mindset to do ikebana in, really.

In the end I got an arrangement that feels balanced, at least, and I don’t hate it. But it certainly doesn’t feel as harmonious as it should, and I think honestly I’d have been better off just waiting it out and focusing on some other type of flowers when I was feeling better. Let this be a lesson to you all; sometimes pushing forward and forcing yourself is good but sometimes it’s the world’s way of telling you to take a break.

By Any Other Name

This ikebana was a bit of an unplanned surprise. Alex, the great guy who runs my favourite local flower shop, occasionally holds little contests on their Facebook page. They had one on Monday, and whoever guessed the correct number of roses in this enormous bouquet would win a single rose. My father snagged it, so here we are!

I’m leaving for California in under a week, and I’m really trying to save all my money for that, so I decided to stay thrifty with this arrangement and use things I had in the house to complement it. The curly willow is leftover from previous ikebana, and the long green leaves were “borrowed” from a houseplant (Sorry mum!).

This is a really clean, simple piece that makes sure all the focus remains on the beautiful red rose, and I’m very pleased with it. It will give me something bright and lovely to look at until I leave for warmer pastures next Tuesday.

Sho-Chiku-Bai Serendipity

As some of you may know, I’ve been wanting to do a sho-chiku-bai (歳寒三友. Three Friends of Winter) pretty much since I started learning and practicing ikebana. Unfortunately, plum branches are very difficult to find around here. They’re finicky, they’re expensive, they’re fragile, and most florists just don’t bother stocking them. So I shelved my plans and moved along.

Last week, my favourite local florist posted some photos of some, so of course I made a beeline for the shop. Unfortunately, they were put aside for a big contract project, but the owner said he’d keep any leftovers for me.

Today I made a detour to the walk-in clinic (nothing serious, just a weirdly swollen painful toe), but frustratingly, they weren’t accepting walk-ins anymore. However, the clinic is right next to the florist so I figured I’d duck in just to see. Lo and behold, he had a container full of freshly budding branches on the counter. It was meant to be! My trip to the clinic may have been a gigantic waste of time, but at least the trip wasn’t. I chose the one with the most appealing curve to it, and then three branches of lucky “bamboo” (it’s actually a variety of dracaena, but close enough…) to balance things out. I knew I could get pine branches from the park near my house. Funnily enough, when I got to the park, there was one large, perfect branch lying right in the middle of the path. I didn’t even need to cut anything, it was like it was waiting for me. Truly serendipitous!

The only thing that didn’t just click right into place was the actual photo, sadly. The lighting just wasn’t working out in this nook, and the arrangement is too big to fit unobstructed anywhere else. I might try again tomorrow before work, while the sun is higher. If it works out, I will update the picture. *Photo updated 02/23/2019

Yellow Iris Ikebana

Winter continues to be horrible here in Montreal, so when I saw these gorgeous white and yellow iris flowers for sale I thought they’d be a great way to bring a little sunshine into my dreary corner of the world.

I’ve always loved irises, they’re one of my favourite flowers. I love how showy and interesting and almost sculptural they are, and I love the absolutely incredible spectrum of colours they come in. They were, after all, very aptly named after the Greek goddess of the rainbow.

Since they have such a wonderful, almost architectural quality, I wanted to create a very modern and fluid-looking arrangement and I feel like I succeeded well here. I really love the flow of this piece, and how balanced it feels. The big waxy leaves (I admit I have no idea what they are, I just liked the way they looked) form a great anchor and textural contrast, as well as hiding the kenzan. I saved the protective outer leaves of the flowers as I was trimming them down, and I think they add the perfect sharp finishing touch. This is one of those arrangements that came without a huge amount of forethought and succeeded in spite (or because?) of it? It just flowed very naturally from beginning to end, and I love the finished product.