Melbourne Ikebana Festival, 7 and 8 September

Friday 21 October 2011

Thursday 6 October 2011

About learning Ikebana

It may help for new students to know about the learning model in Ikebana.  Without that knowledge you may get frustrated in the first or second lesson. Learning Ikebana is a bit different from learning cooking or how to use a computer software, for instance. It is even different from learning some crafts such as western flower arrangements. It is more like learning dance or martial arts.

In the research of second language learning, in the 1980s an American researcher proposed an influential theory that distinguishes language acquisition from language learning. This theory is very helpful to understand the nature of learning Ikebana.

Our aim is not Ikebana learning but Ikebana acquisition. In the first lessons all you learn is how to create a basic design framework. Even if your teacher gives you positive feedback, you might feel that your work is not quite right. Indeed, your work is usually far from perfect. But that is OK. Acquiring Ikebana takes time. 

If you arrange private tuition rather than joining a group class in Ikebana, you may learn much more in one lesson. You may be able to make a near perfect basic style arrangement following the detailed instructions of your teacher. But can you really acquire Ikebana rather than learn Ikebana in the lesson? In other words, can you make another near perfect basic style by yourself after the lesson? Probably not. 

Even if you master grammar and pronunciation in the classroom, you may not be able to communicate very well in the second language. Learning a second language as knowledge does not help you much. 

But if you learn and use the language in real communication, you have a better chance of really acquiring the language. Language acquisition gives you the freedom to communicate and express yourself in the second language.

After the first lesson in a Salsa dancing class, you would not expect to be able to dance like a pro. All you can do are the basic steps. Although they are very simple movements, you need to practice a lot before you can go to the next step.

Then, your fee (private lessons would be 10 times more expensive) and the teacher's time may not be utilised well, although I would not say wasted. You may be able to learn Ikebana but you will not acquire Ikebana in one lesson. 

Only when you have acquired the basic design framework after practicing it a few times are you ready to move on to the next challenge. That's how the acquisition of Ikebana occurs. Only Ikebana acquisition gives you the freedom to make good Ikebana works with any materials under any conditions. Ikebana acquisition takes time, so be patient.

Tuesday 4 October 2011

The Ten Virtues of Ikebana 6

The sixth of the ten virtues of Ikebana is constant scent. 
If you take up Ikebana, you can always be surrounded by the nice smell of flowers. 
Ikebana artists know which flowers work best for them and their family and friends. My favourite is a sweet olive, osmanthus fragrans. I was delighted to find this plant is available in Australia as well as in Japan and it’s growing so well in my newly planted garden.
As any aroma therapist will tell you, scents really affect our moods and feelings. Even when we feel a bit depressed, the scent of flowers always cheers us up. That effect should not be underestimated. It can be more than a temporary change in psychological state. 

Especially when we are really stressed or anxious about something, scents can help us stop our negative thinking and gain new insights. For instance, we may realise we were losing sight of the more important things in our lives. Such an experience could help us lead a more spiritual life. That’s the power of flowers. Don’t you feel like taking up Ikebana now?
I used a cube shape container for this month’s work. I put a cross bar inside the container to fix flowers. To emphasise the zigzag features of the container, I used Japonica branches which have zigzag lines. I place a yellow gerbera as an accent at back of white stocks for a naughty effect.

Monday 3 October 2011

Recent Work: Royal Melbourne Show 2011

Flowers Victoria organised floral competitions for the first time during the Royal Melbourne Show. I was invited to participate in a competition where 12 florists in Victoria were selected.