The Ocean is Calling Ikebana

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I am feeling pulled towards the ocean right now. The wet sand between my toes, the crackle and crash of the waves breaking on the shore. Floating away from everything that’s wrong with the world.

Sadly, that’s completely impossible right now. What isn’t impossible, however, is making an ikebana composition that helps evoke that feeling. Using tropical-looking flowers and a shell instead of a traditional vessel and kenzan was the perfect solution.

This conch shell was brought back from the Bahamas when my folks went there on their honeymoon, 41 years ago. While it wasn’t intentional I also used the same sort of lilies my mum had in her bouquet! The small button mums remind me of seafoam, and were chosen for no other real reason than that.

For the actual arrangement I was aiming for an intersection of diagonal lines. The lilies form one axis and the button mums form the other, anchored by the conch and the palm frond. I feel like this brings a lot of dynamic energy to the whole composition, and I’m very happy with it.

Sho-Chiku-Bai Serendipity

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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