We will host online Ikebana courses soon.Learn Ikebana anywhere, anytime

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Christmas Art in Ballarat

Shoso Shimbo was commissioned to create a Christmas art recycling old Christmas decorations. His work is open to public till 24 December 2013 in the CBD in Ballarat.  

Newspaper article: http://bit.ly/IRcRjP


This is the design proposal which was accepted. 



Using recycled materials is somehow similar to using natural materials. We need to prepare and transform an object to enhance its essence.


It took us four days to make this display. We worked in rain and hail.    


This photo was taken at the end of Day 2. Click the image to enlarge. 


The magical Christmas tunnel was ready at 5pm on Day 4. Thank you very much Risa Yoshimoto and Julie Collins for great help. Julie Collins is a well regarded sculptor and works for the city of Ballarat. Kate Partridge from the city of Ballarat's Community Events and the Art and Culture Unit also worked so hard for this project. Thank you very much.






We were pleased to see so many people walk through the tunnel with big smile. 




http://www.shoso.com.au 
https://www.facebook.com/ikebanaaustralia

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Ikebana Today 18






Why did the Ikebana boom end in 1980s? My first hypothesis was that as more young women gained job opportunities they lost interest in a training to become a good house wife. My second hypothesis, which may surprise some people, is that Japanese have become too rich to be interested in Ikebana. 

Ikebana became popular because people assumed that Ikebana is an effective spiritual training which can make good house wives. Consider that assumption carefully. What do Japanese people mean by spiritual training? The basis of Japanese spirituality are positive values in Confucianism, Buddhism and Shinto. 

Questioning the common factors for those values, I suddenly realized that there is one presupposition for most of them. They presuppose that people are poor. Because people are poor, it is valuable to corporate each other harmoniously to gain maximum benefit for the community. Japanese spiritual values are extremely effective not only to overcome poverty but also to make poor people virtuous.   

Then, what happens once Japanese people have achieved wealth that they have never had after the period of rapid economic growth? Japanese spiritual values that do not teach what to overcome after poverty suddenly lose their appeal. Many Japanese people don’t know what to do with wealth. It is necessary to develop new spiritual values in rich society.      

Even if you promote Ikebana as a spiritual training, few Japanese may be interested in spiritual training itself. Generally it is called secularization of society. However, it can be a more serious problem in Japanese society than others. Declining the popularity of Ikebana could be a reflection of the spiritual crisis in Japan.


I would like to show you New Year’s decorations we made this year for Koko Japanese restaurant at crown. It’s a very simple design but there are many little inventions we created in details. We will install them again this year before Christmas.


http://www.shoso.com.au
https://www.facebook.com/ikebanaaustralia

Monday, 4 November 2013

Ikebana Today 17



I’d like to talk more about the great Ikebana boom during the rapid economic growth period in Japan. To summarise, what I have proposed so far is that the boom was strategically created by a group of people, in a similar way to the creation of a successful commercial brand.     

Of course, I think that the Ikebana boom is a fantastic cultural phenomenon and it could never happen anywhere else in the world. But why did it happen and why has it now faded? Very few people have investigated these difficult but fascinating questions.  

As I mentioned, Ikebana at that time had two sales points: as training to become a good house wife and as Western art. What we have to understand here is that these two points were contradictory. According to Mirei Shigemori who influenced many prominent Ikebana artists at that time, Ikebana had become Western art by denying its traditional spiritual aspects. Although the general public expected Ikebana to function as training for young women to learn its spiritual aspects and become good house wives, the new Ikebana in principle did not see the spiritual aspects as important.

Once the boom had passed its peak, it is natural that some people started to ask questions about the two sales points of Ikebana. I have already talked about the aspect of the training to become a good house wife. I’ll focus on the artistic aspect of Ikebana from the next issue.

The work for this month is a simple arrangement using anthuriums and iris leaves. Although it is a small work, it is an effective Ikebana work. I used this image for our new Facebook page, Ikebana Gallery. Please like it and enjoy Ikebana works from all over the world. https://www.facebook.com/IkebanaGallery    


November is a busy month for me. My work was selected as a finalist for the Deakin University Contemporary Small Sculpture Award and I will also be preparing a Christmas installation for the City of Ballarat. Please visit my site for the details. 

http://www.shoso.com.au 
https://www.facebook.com/ikebanaaustralia

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Internet Ikebana Lesson

One of my students sent me following 2 works and asked for feedback. Please see e-learning page for my feedback. Anyone can now use our Internet Ikebana Lesson. We will soon make it much easier to use for people outside Australia. 




http://www.shoso.com.au 
https://www.facebook.com/ikebanaaustralia

Tuesday, 22 October 2013


Friday, 4 October 2013

Ikebana Today 16




In the period of rapid economical growth in 1960s and 70s, Ikebana became a brand and attracted many young women. My investigation revealed that Ikebana had two sales points at that time, as modern art and as training to become a good housewife. 

We should note that the image women sought through the Ikebana brand was a reflection of what Japanese men wished for in a woman. They wished for women who could make a nice home and who were intelligent enough to understand Western art. 

I wonder when Japanese men started to seek such women. They are often depicted in Japanese films and literature until the 1980s. That is another topic I would like to think about some other time. 

However, since the late 1980s when it became possible for women to seek equal opportunity in the work place, women started to look for a more career oriented brand. What was the brand that could make people seem intelligent and be more useful for work? 

It was probably English conversation. You may have noticed in the 1990s that more and more English conversation schools opened in your neighborhood, while more and more Ikebana schools closed. That was the end of the Ikebana boom. My discussion so far has only been an outline of the Ikebana boom and I’ll talk more about it in depth from the next issue. 

Somehow many people don’t seem to realize that I teach Ikebana in Melbourne. If you are interested, see the details in my website and join our class. Also, free Ikebana calendars for 2014 are available to download from www.shoso.com.au

I would like to show my commercial work gain this month. This is a part of our home party package that consists of 1 medium arrangement like this one and the 2 table arrangements. I used a wire ball to fix the flower for this arrangement.


http://www.shoso.com.au
https://www.facebook.com/ikebanaaustralia


Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Ikebana Exhibition 2013


Ikebana Exhibition 2013


PostponedSorry for any inconveniences. Instead, we will take part in the opening of the White Ribbon Day Art Exhibition at Laurel Lodge, Dandenong on 22 November. http://bit.ly/H2w7tV




Shoso Shimbo and his students present an exhibition of contemporary Japanese flower arrangements.
When: Postponed.
Where: Kings Arcade, 974-978 High Street, Armadale, Vic Australia
Free Admission

EXHIBITION WELCOME

Welcome to the Ikebana exhibition by Shoso Shimbo and his students. The aim of this exhibition is to introduce the Japanese art of Ikebana to people who may not know much about this art form and to give Shoso’s students a chance to show their works.

Ikebana developed as floral displays for the residences of the samurai class in around the 15th century. In the 16th century it was defined as an art form representing nature and as a way of spiritual training. It has played an essential role in the history of Japanese art in which there were several Ikebana booms. 

It is still one of the most popular artistic activities in Japan today. People have come to appreciate the creative and therapeutic properties of this contemplative art, not just in Japan but all over the world. Ikebana can offer a rare but easily accessible opportunity to connect with nature and people.

We are very grateful to many shops in Kings Arcade for hosting our exhibition.

Shoso Shimbo, PhD
Shihan - Sogetsu School of Ikebana

info@shoso.com.au
https://www.facebook.com/ikebanaaustralia

Friday, 30 August 2013

Ikebana Today 15



Promoting Ikebana as a form of art (Western art) created a great Ikebana boom after the war with tens millions of Ikebana students. However, the term "art" was problematic. Art is a Western concept introduced to Japan after the Meiji era. Although Tenshin Okakura proposed an influential definition of art, it is a bit hard to understand for the general public. In addition, since Modernism it seems that even Western specialists cannot agree on what art is. 

Stating that Ikebana is art means that Ikebana becomes ambiguous for the majority of Japanese people. Sofu Teshigahara insisted that Ikebana is free self-expression but that simple definition was also confusing. It's easy to see how this could cause some problems sooner or later.

Sofu was influenced by Mirei Shigemori in establishing his ideas about Ikebana. Shigemori is the most important garden designer in the Showa period and also a significant figure in modern Ikebana history. I’ll talk about his ideas on Ikebana at some other time.

The important thing at this stage of my discussion is that there were two aspects to Ikebana after the war: the general public’s view of Ikebana as a kind of  training to become a good housewife, and some schools’ view of Ikebana as art. These two aspects can produce both positive and negative results. Looking at these in relation to Japanese society at the time helps us understand the current problems of Ikebana.      

This is one of the works I made for the opening of Toko Shinoda’s exhibition at the Lesley Kehoe Galleries on Collins Street. Please don’t miss the wonderful exhibition. http://www.kehoe.com.au Ms Kehoe is one the judges for our Ikebana Gallery Award, the first international Ikebana award for Ikebana students around the world. Please visit our blog to see this year’s result. http://ikebanaaustralia.blogspot.com.au/


http://www.shoso.com.au 
https://www.facebook.com/ikebanaaustralia

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Ikebana Gallery Award 2013


The winner of the Ikebana Gallery Award 2013 has been announced. http://bit.ly/15L8LNC


Ikebana Gallery Award FAQ

Q: How can I submit my work?
A: Use Email or Facebook.

To make submission easier, we have started a Ikebana Gallery Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/IkebanaGallery

Now you have 2 options to submit your works.
  1. Send by email. Please see Award page in our blog for the details, http://ikebanaaustralia.blogspot.com.au/p/award.html
  2. Simply like Ikebana Gallery Facebook Page and post and share your work. https://www.facebook.com/IkebanaGallery Your post needs to be approved to appear on the wall of the page. If you don’t have a facebook account, you cannot upload your work directly. However, you can still see the page.
Q: What happens next?
A: From facebook to blog.

We hope that more Ikebana works will appear on Ikebana Gallery Facebook Page. Then, Ikebana Gallery Committee will constantly select works from the Facebook Page and publish up to about 300 works per year on this blog, Ikebana Gallery Australia. Those works on the blog will be considered for the Ikebana Gallery Award.

Q: Can anyone post on the facebook page?
A: Yes, but there are some conditions for Ikebana teachers.

Please note that the Ikebana Gallery Facebook Page is for Ikebana students. To be considered for Ikebana Gallery Award, you have to be a student of Ikebana at the time when you are submitting your work.

Qualified Ikebana teachers may submit their works to the Ikebana Gallery Facebook Page, but they have to indicate that they are teachers. Their works will not be published on our blog. http://bit.ly/1cHtQlR

Q: I’d like to know the result of the competition. How can you keep in touch with me?
A: Use Email or Facebook.

There are several options to be in touch with us and to receive updates. Easy options are either 1 or 2.
  1. Go to the Ikebana Gallery Australia Blog. Fill in and submit your email address in Follow by Email section on the right side column.
  2. Create a Facebook account. Like Ikebana Gallery Facebook Page and you will receive updates. https://www.facebook.com/IkebanaGallery 
Simply by submitting your works you are supporting this project. If you want to support us even more, visit the “Sponsors” page in this blog. http://bit.ly/1cHtQlR

Shoso Shimbo, PhD
Ikebana Gallery Australia

https://www.facebook.com/ikebanaaustralia

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Ikebana Today 14



The Ikebana boom after World War 2 was the greatest in Ikebana history. It was Sofu Teshigahara who was the driving force behind the boom. He was able to give Ikebana the status of a new brand. He was aware that promoting Ikebana as a kind of spiritual training or as training to become a good housewife would not work. 

It's often said that people who tend to seek status symbols such as famous brand clothes or sport cars are those with an inferiority complex. 

Since the Meiji Restoration Japanese have had a strong inferiority complex towards Western cultures. Western literature, films or even religions were eagerly taken up by the Japanese as if they were commercial brands. Under such conditions how could it be possible to promote Ikebana?  It would certainly not be effective to promote Ikebana as Japanese traditional culture. 

The magic word Sofu came up with was ART. Declaring that Ikebana is an art made it possible to attract over 5 million people. It has to be noted that the art at the time meant Western art. Although art was a truly a magic word to promote Ikebana, it was a curse for Ikebana at the same time. I’ll talk more about the relationship between Ikebana and art in the next issues.

This is a work I made for Hanabishi restaurant in Melbourne city. The restaurant introduced a special set menu of $68, which I highly recommend. I hope you will enjoy their refined dishes as well as my flower. I also hope that more business owners will display Ikebana for their shops or offices. There are many Ikebana artists who would like to challenge such opportunities and their fees are usually very reasonable.

http://www.shoso.com.au
https://www.facebook.com/ikebanaaustralia

Sunday, 28 July 2013


Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Ikebana Today 13



Let’s review what we have discussed so far. During the period of rapid economic growth, Ikebana became the most popular hobby among young women in Japan. Although there is no statistic data available regarding the number of Ikebana students, some reports put the number at as many as 30 million people in late 1960s. It is possible that Ikebana helped those women gain an image of sophisticated ladies desirable for future wives.Later we will look further into the meaning of the images Ikebana created at that time.   

There is one thing we need to stop and consider here. Generally Ikebana may have been accepted as ideal training for becoming a housewife. But why did so many women learn it at the first place? The fact is that women did not have equal opportunities in the labour market. Rather than spending money for gaining degrees or qualifications, many of them spent money on training to become housewives. So, if women gained more opportunities for jobs, Ikebana would become less popular.     

Let’s now consider how Sofu Teshigahara, the first headmaster of Sogetsu School led the Ikebana boom. Although Ikebana was widely accepted as training for housewives, Sofu was aware that such a notion would not have wide appeal. He needed a new strategy. He is often described as an innovator of Ikebana, due to his contribution in developing new Ikebana styles. However, perhaps his most important contribution is that he created a new meaning for Ikebana.  

What is the new meaning of Ikebana? How could he reinvent Ikebana in the light of the Japanese history from Meiji to after the war? The new meaning of Ikebana made it possible for him to attract over one million members in thirty years or so. On the other hand, the new meaning was a curse for him at the same time. I’ll talk more about it in the next issue.

This is a work I created for a trade show stand. I used the client’s logo for the design using one hundred anthuriums in test tubes. This may not be a typical Ikebana work, but that does not matter for professional artists who value clients’ need.

We are running an Ikebana competition again this year. It is becoming very interesting. Please see the awarded works in our blog.


http://www.shoso.com.au 

Tuesday, 25 June 2013


Sunday, 23 June 2013

Wedding Flowers


A basic package for wedding flowers includes a hand tied bouquet (partially wired)  and buttonholes (wired).
My client asked me this time to combine white lilies and calla lilies. It was a challenging combination, but it turned out to be a wonderful naturalistic round bouquet with over 30 rose heads and a French double satin ribbon.
http://www.shoso.com.au




Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Ikebana Today 12



We are investigating the Ikebana boom after the WWⅡ. It is a very complicated phenomena but one thing we can say is that most of the participants in the boom seemed to be young women. Although there are no reliable statistics about the number of Ikebana students, some estimates put it up at around thirty million between 1965 to 1975. After the period of rapid economic growth, the number gradually decreased but it was estimated to be more than ten million in 1990. It may be less than it used to be, yet it was a huge number! Why is it that Ikebana was so popular at that time?

My hypothesis is that Ikebana gained new status after the war. I have said before that Ikebana was a sign of status for a virtuous person in the Ikebana boom in the Edo period. What kind of status did Ikebana represent after the war? Certainly many women found it helpful in impressing future partners. Compared to good looks or a good academic record, being an Ikebana student is much easier and more economical. Nevertheless it had a strong effect. What was that?

To answer that question, we need to look at how the Sogetsu school promoted Ikebana after the war. It was founded in 1927 and it gained over one million members in only 30 years or so. If this was a new religious movement or some kind of social movements, there would certainly be much research into it. However, few researchers are interested in Ikebana. Anyway, the point is that Sofu, the founder of Sogetsu school gave a new meaning to Ikebana and lead the Ikebana boom after the war. I’ll talk more about that in the next issue.

This is a wedding bouquet I made for a client who wanted me to use so many different kinds of flowers. This is a good example of how I have to as a professional balance what a client wants and aesthetic effects. 

I’ll  give a talk about Hiroshi Teshigahara at Kyoto University on 1 June. Please come if you can. Contact International Society of Ikebana Studies (ISIS) for the details. http://ikebana-isis.org/    


http://www.shoso.com.au

Monday, 13 May 2013


Saturday, 4 May 2013

Ikebana Today 11



How can we interpret the Ikebana boom after the war? This is a very interesting topic which may shed light on one aspect of Japanese society. What I’ll do here is just propose some hypotheses. 

First, let’s consider who was involved in this boom. Ninety five percent of the Ikebana population is women. Some people may think Ikebana is just for women. But Ikebana was for men from its beginnings in the Muromachi period up until the Edo period. It gained popularity among women in the Edo period and became a "must have" skill for women after the Meiji period.

It is also interesting to note that male Ikebana practitioners, 5 % of the Ikebana population, are most likely to be teachers. We can probably assume that the majority of the people involved in the Ikebana boom after the war were young women who practiced Ikebana for a few years as a hobby.

Why did those women choose Ikebana? This is the biggest question. We need to carefully look at the Japanese society at that time. It was a male dominated society. Women were discriminated against in many, often subtle, ways. Since the equal employment opportunity law of 1985 the situation seems to be changing. 

Interestingly, Ikebana seems to be less popular since 1985. I don’t want to say categorically that the popularity of Ikebana is related to gender inequality. But this may be something we need to investigate further in considering the position of Ikebana in Japanese society - is there a link between the popularity of Ikebana and the role of women in society?

I made this display for a graduation ceremony at a TAFE college. This classy oriental lily, the Sorbonne, has a very clear pink at its centre. Look at it for one minute or so in the morning and you feel invigorated straight away.

Ikebana artists are good at this kind of display for events or parties. We should be promoting more how much impact floral displays can have on people. 


http://www.shoso.com.au 

Monday, 15 April 2013


Sunday, 14 April 2013


Thursday, 11 April 2013

Shoso at International Conferences





Shoso Shimbo has been invited to present papers based on his Masters exegesis. Both papers will be published and will be available at some stage.  

1. "Ikebana to Contemporary Art: Cross Cultural Transformation in Rosalie Gascoigne" (English presentation)
The Asian Conference on Cultural Studies by The International Academic Forum 
When: 24-26 May 2013
Where: Osaka, Japan
http://www.accs.iafor.org


2. 下記の通り京都大学で勅使河原宏と現代芸術についての研究発表を行います。
日本語での発表になります。御都合がつきましたら是非お越し下さい。
詳細は国際生花学会まで。http://ikebana-isis.org/

"Hiroshi Teshigahara in the Expanded Field of Ikebana" (Japanese presentation)
The International Society of Ikebana Studies (ISIS) 
When: 1 June 2013
Where: Kyoto University
http://ikebana-isis.org/

Abstract

The field of free style Ikebana today has expanded to incorporate many themes in common with contemporary Western art, in particular with installation and assemblage. 
From 1980 to 2001 Hiroshi Teshigahara explored the possibilities of installation through his bamboo works. Focusing on his unique attitudes toward the natural materials and his creative strategies of repetition and accumulation, this paper agues that his site specific installations fall within the context of the contemporary Western art, moving beyond the underlying Japanese cultural and spiritual traditions.

要旨


 明治維新以後、西洋芸術の強い影響下発展を続け、その領域を拡張してきた生花の中には、現代芸術、殊にインスタレーションとアセンブラージュとの共通の要素を持つものが出てきた。「生花における拡張領域」第1部ではインスタレーションとの関連で勅使河原宏を扱う。
 1980年以降、約20年に渡って宏は竹を用いた生花作品を通じ、生花のインスタレーションとしての可能性を追求した。現代芸術史上のインスタレーション発生のモチーフは生花のひとつの重要な可能性を示すものとして宏にとって共感できるものであったろう。
 また、宏の自然観、自然素材に対する独特の態度、最後の作品群のグリッド構造(格子)は、いずれもモダニズムをはじめとする西洋芸術の影響を深い次元で受容した必然的な帰結だった。
 竹を割り、線と見なすということは、自然素材を分解し、その表層的属性から切断し、抽象的な単体にまで還元することであり、アセンブラージュ作成の初期段階における既存の関係性から素材を切断、抽出する作業に類似している。共に素材を浄化し、その本質に迫ることを可能にする。続く制作過程では反復と累積というミニマリズムにも共通するアプローチで生花的秩序を内包させた抽象的形態のインスタレーションを創造した。
 現代芸術におけるグリッドの重要性に関し、クラウスはその機能が構造主義が着目する神話の機能に類似していると指摘する。様々な二項対立の矛盾を解消することなく包摂し、精神性への可能性を示唆する。宏の最後の作品群についてはそのような可能性を認めることができよう。
 生花の領域をその極限まで拡大することで、表面上、過激で非生花的な作品でありながら、生花の伝統、精神性を保持し、同時に現代芸術の文脈にそれを位置づけることに成功した稀な例となった。
 「生花における拡張領域」第2部ではロザリー・ガスコインを扱う。現代芸術から生花に移行した宏に対し、生花から現代芸術に移行したガスコインは、宏と対照的な諸相を持ちながら、創造の核心ではある種の共通性を持つ。極端な形態ではあるが生花のアセンブラージュとしての可能性を追求した彫刻家と見なすことができよう。ほぼ同時期に活動した宏とガスコインを現代生花の拡張領域における対極として位置づけることで、新たな視野を得ることができる。

http://www.shoso.com.au

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Ikebana Today 10



The greatest Ikebana boom occurred after World War 2. Jiyu-bana, a free style Ikebana, contributed significantly to the boom. The Juyubana movement became popular between 1926 and 1934. It lead to the New Ikebana movement, avant-garde Ikebana movement, then on to the great Ikebana boom.

It was Suido Yamane who worked hard to establish Jiyubana. He was a very popular Ikebana artist at the time with many students. Because he insisted that there is no need to learn any rules in Ikebana forms, however, he was very unpopular among traditional Ikebana teachers. In one of his articles published after the war, he reported that he was “lynched” by other Ikebana teachers. Although we don’t know exactly what happened, we can assume he had a really hard time. Anyone trying to do something new inevitably has to have a difficult time in the traditional art world.

However, no one has ever been as unpopular as Sofu Teshigahara, who established the Sogetus School in 1927 at the age of 27. He had a traffic accident in 1936. When this news was passed on to some Ikebana teachers who were having a party, they drank a toast for his misfortune. His unpopularity seems to be related to the fact that he later became the most significant Ikebana artist in the 20th century (Kudo,1994). 

In coming issues, I’ll talk more about Jiyubana and its relationship to the Ikebana boom after the war.

This is one of the 12 works I exhibited at my solo exhibition at Monash University to complete my Master of Fine Art Degree. The show was a new beginning for me. Please visit my website to see a 3 min slide show of the show.

http://www.shoso.com.au


---------------------------------------------------------------
News: Shoso at International Conferences
---------------------------------------------------------------
Shoso has been invited to present his papers based on his Masters exegesis. 

"Ikebana to Contemporary Art: Cross Cultural Transformation in Rosalie Gascoigne" (English presentation)
The Asian Conference on Cultural Studies by The International Academic Forum 
When: 24-26 May 2013
Where: Osaka, Japan

"Hiroshi Teshigahara in the Expanded Field of Ikebana" (Japanese presentation)
The International Society of Ikebana Studies (ISIS) 
When: 1 June 2013
Where: Kyoto University 

Both papers will be published and will be available at some stage.  



Thursday, 4 April 2013


Thursday, 21 March 2013

Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show 2013 - 2/2





Artist Statement - MIFGS 2013

From it's very beginnings, the relationship between people and the environment has been central issue in Ikebana. 

Ikebana arrangements are in a sense a symbolic representation of the harmony that can be achieved between people and nature. However it is becoming more and more clear that we cannot achieve harmony with nature without changing our behavior. 

This work, Meditation on Nature, explores the idea of our changing relationship with nature. The abstract forms of the floating bamboo balls and the flowing split bamboo framing the beauty of the floral work suggest the possibility of a rethinking of our interaction with nature.

Sponsorship

Become a sponsor of Shoso to promote your business to over 100,000 visitors to the show. Please contact Shoso by October to discuss several options. Alternatively, you can just leave your advertising materials or business cards in front of our display. We will contact you later. But this is an expensive option.

http://www.shoso.com.au

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show 2013 - 1/2



Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show 2013 opened from 20 - 24 March. We worked from 8am to 7pm for 3 days to make a six-metre display. The first photo is taken at the end of day 1, and the second one at the end of day 2. The third one is the completed work on 20 March.

My students of Ikebana worked very hard for this project. Thank you Kaori Okui, Risa Yoshimoto, Angeline Lo and Jo Greenthaner. 







http://www.shoso.com.au

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Ikebana Today 9



A common factor in Japanese traditional art forms is the value placed on traditional forms. New creation is always based on tradition. 

Attitudes to tradition vary in Ikebana. Some schools are very strict about learning traditional forms, others encourage students to create free styles after learning basic forms. In general, however, Ikebana is, unlike the tea ceremony or noh theatre, a malleable art, allowing for change in form easily.

Historically, people who advocated new styles in Ikebana would be soundly criticised  Nevertheless, it is interesting to note that there have always been radical innovators who revitalize and make Ikebana bloom. 

In previous issues, I talked about the Ikebana boom in the Edo period. The most recent boom which occurred after the war was actually the greatest boom in Ikebana history. Ikebana became the most popular hobby among Japanese people. The socio-cultural backgrounds of the people taking up Ikebana in such numbers seem to be quite complicated and nobody has ever looked into the phenomena closely. To understand them, we may need to investigate the fundamental characters of Japanese culture. Such an investigation may suggest some insights into the current declining state of Ikebana. 

While the popularity of Ikebana in Edo period was related to the invention of Seika style, that in Showa period was probably related to Free style. Free style movement advocated to arrange flower freely without following traditional rules. 

 Suido Yamane (1893-1966) was the first to advocate free style Ikebana and Sofu Teshigahara (1900-79) established it and made it very popular. Both of them were radical renovators and consequently were criticised heavily. In the next issue, I’ll talk a bit about how much they were hated in Ikebana world. 

This is the work I made for our group exhibition at Kings Arcade, Armadale. Exhibiting Ikebana works in public is important in terms of promoting Ikebana and providing students with a great learning experience. I also hope to promote the kind of flower culture that we can find in Japan. Compared to Australia, there are so much more opportunities to see flower arrangements in Japan. I hope there will be more flower related events here. Please see our students’ exhibition on YouTube. There are links to the videos on my site. 



http://www.shoso.com.au


Monday, 18 February 2013


Saturday, 9 February 2013

Ikebana Today 8



So far I have talked about how hard it is to do business with Ikebana. Since Ikebana can never promise financial rewards in the future, it can never be as popular as Western flower arrangements. Many TAFE colleges in Australia offer courses to become florists. But not many people know about Ikebana.

As to the display works, the market generally requires arrangements that are quick to install, cheap and colorfully attractive. I have to admit that the Western flowers are much better suited to such need. 

The clients for Ikebana are those who have a discerned taste and cannot not be satisfied with Western flowers. However, the number of them is rather limited, in particular outside Japan.

Generally Ikebana artists overseas are teaching a small number of students and their income from Ikebana does not reach the taxable amount. As far as I know, there are few truly professional Ikebana artists. 

Can we change Ikebana a bit so that it can adjust to the capitalistic society? I think that is possible and I do have some business plans. However, making Ikebana into business does not come to the top of my priority list at the moment. 

As one of a very few Ikebana artists who are registered as a professional artist under the Australian taxation law, there is one thing that I can say about Ikebana and business. That is there is a huge difference between commercial Ikebana works and Ikebana works as hobby. Not many people seem to realize the difference.

I happened to know probably the most famous and commercially successful Ikebana artist in Japan. I can appreciate his works only when I see them as commercial works. 

I have so far talked about anti-competitive and anti-capitalistic natures in Ikebana. The third characteristics of Ikebana I would like to focus is its malleability. Ikebana can change its form flexibly and it has been so in its five hundred years history.              

I created a naturalistic arrangement this month using Hydrangea and Jasmine from my garden. I used cross bar fixing method for this work.

My solo exhibition opens at Gallery D1.12, MADA, Monash University, Caulfield East between 10am to 4pm on 5, 6, 7 February 2013. Please come and see it.  

http://www.shoso.com.au

Saturday, 19 January 2013


Thursday, 17 January 2013

Gift Ikebana Flower




A client asked me to make a welcoming flower for his girlfriend who is moving to his house. His girlfriend likes Ikebana and he thought Shoso's work would be an ideal gift.

I chose white and green for main colour suggesting a new beginning and pale pink lilies and roses for their romantic and happy relationship.

Gift Flower Price List: http://bit.ly/1l0qrzW

http://www.shoso.com.au

Friday, 11 January 2013

New Year's Deco (Kadomatsu Style)


Kadomatsu style New Year's table decorations for Koko restaurant, Crown Hotel, Melbourne. We have tried so many options and changed so many details. Although our resources were limited, three types of Washi (Japanese paper) were used including special Chiyogami from Kyoto. Finally we are happy with this design and so was our client.  

http://www.shoso.com.au