The Ocean is Calling Ikebana

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.

Serene Celadon Ikebana

Today’s arrangement is a very simple, clean, and summery trio of clematis in serene celadon vases. The vases are all different shapes, but the colours are very close and I think that really helps the whole thing stay balanced. It doesn’t just look like I grabbed three random containers; it feels thoughtful and intentional. I love the repeated triangular shapes formed by the flowers and vases so much I chose to display it on a mirror, to echo that repetition even further. It also adds a watery feel that encourages the cool fresh summer vibe I was hoping to achieve. Overall, I’m very pleased with this one.

That wasn’t initially the case though! Just as a reminder that sometimes, things don’t work out and your best course of action is to come back later. Here was the original arrangement and photo I took yesterday, where the flowers were too crowded by foliage and you couldn’t even see the tall vase. I debated about posting it as-is, but I was unhappy with it and I’m glad I tried again. Also, if you’re like me and you’ve got trypophobia just be warned that photo has a particularly pock-marked side of the really earthy vase exposed. That might be part of why it displeased me so much!

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.