Fukiyose Ikebana

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Fukiyose (吹き寄せ) is an autumn motif comprised of wind-blown foliage, pine needles, and other vegetal vestiges. From the very beginning of my ikebana journey, I’ve known I wanted to attempt an arrangement based on fukiyose. Unfortunately, Japanese maples are exclusively a prized and well-guarded ornamental plant here, so it’s not as though I had easy access to one, and it felt vital to the composition.

However, my aunt now has one in her garden and was kind enough to allow me to liberate a small branch. Once I had that in hand, getting the other bits was much easier. The neighbourhood where I live has planted ornamental ginkgo trees in a lot of public areas, and I’ve been assured in the past that so long as I’m careful and respectful of the plants I’m welcome to harvest a branch or two. So I grabbed a couple of those on the way home, and then used some of the pine boughs from a tree in our yard.

I have to admit, arranging branches in a way that looks natural but still intentional and aesthetically pleasing is more difficult than I’d anticipated! It’s hard finding that perfect space between “unruly and messy” and “overly forced”, and I’m honestly not sure I accomplished it as well as I’d like. But I’d been dying to do this arrangement for so long, and didn’t have easy access to different maple branches, that I wasn’t going to give up. A few leaves fell while I was arranging them but I think it adds to the wind-blown feel so I left them there, and it helped with the balance. There’s a good circular fluid motion to the whole composition, so it feels finished and cohesive to me, at the very least.

This may not be my favourite ikebana ever but I persevered and got it done, and I am proud of that. I do know that lately I haven’t been posting as many ikebana arrangements as I used to, but unfortunately my access to blooms from the great outdoors is over for the season, and I’m in a situation where my budget for things like fresh-cut flowers is basically zero for now. But there will be more whenever I can splurge a little!

Hakata and momiji chuuya obi

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I’ve professed my love for hakata obi many times before, and I’ve been lusting after unique, vintage chuuya (night-and-day reversible) obi for a bit now. When this one came up on eBay I was positive it would shoot out of my price range, especially since I was preparing for a trip to New York City and couldn’t afford any big-ticket items.

With a day left and barely any bidding, I figured I’d have to toss out a little bid, but I was really resigned to saying goodbye to this beauty. I guess the universe was feeling sorry for me because I picked it up for a song.

One side is a stunning, delicate yuzen-dyed momiji (turning maple) motif on indigo-purple diamonds. A few of the more visible leaves also have a bit of embroidery along the veining, which is a really pretty and delicate touch. The inverse is a lush burnt orange hakata weave, and both sides are incredibly lush.

It does have a slight bit of age-related patina, but it’s nearly invisible except under direct close-up flash photography. It’s wonderfully wearable, and I think it will go very well with the irotomesode I just received.

Momiji and Hakata chuuya

Momiji and Hakata chuuya

Momiji and Hakata chuuya

From the Archives – two casual fall outfits

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Hello, dear readers! I’m sorry for the lack of posts lately, life has just been kind of hectic. A few weeks ago I went to a comic convention and had grand plans to wear a kimono. Unfortunately, as I was getting ready in the morning I stepped on a metal belt buckle and the hook that holds it closed embedded itself into the bottom of my foot. I’ve been limping around since then in a state of abject misery. Thankfully, it is getting better! I am also going on vacation in a week, so I’ve been trying to hop around getting everything ready for that. Crossing my fingers that my foot will be healed by then!

To fill the lull, I thought I’d share a couple of older fall coordinations I put together a while back. The weather is getting cooler here and the trees are starting to turn, so it seems like a good time for these motifs 🙂

Green komon with swirling water and kiku

Buttery soft sage-green silk with dusty brick-coloured kiku. I really love this kimono, and looking at it here I wonder why I’ve never worn it out. I found this outfit very boring when I first put it on, but in retrospect I think it’s a really nice subdued combination.

Brick-red wool komon

If this outfit doesn’t scream “fall”, I don’t know what does. The kimono is wool, which even feels appropriate texturally. It’s a warm red colour with woven lines in brown, mustardy-yellow, and a few in green and a pale icy blue to balance it out. The obi has a motif of changing maple leaves, which emphasizes the season further.

Hopefully when I get back from my trip my life will settle down a bit and I’ll have more time to dress up and more shinies to share with you all!