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.