indepth #4

Progress: In the span of time between my last blog post and now. I have worked on two flower arrangements. The first being fully completed and titled “Exploration” as it represents a turtle’s journey through the vast world and the experiences it feels. It is a simple ikebana featuring three types of plants: Lilacs, tillandsia, and cattails. It follows the idea of heaven, man and earth as each plant respectively represents one of those three characteristics. “Exploration” was done in the upright-style instead of the slanting-style as I felt that an upright-style provides a more stiff and pressuring feeling as if one is lost in a jungle. Although I did not use traditional moribana flowers or angle design, this was done on purpose with my mentor. My mentor showed me a traditional ikebana and she wanted me to be creative in creating my own. After I completed “Exploration” she told me what concepts could be improved on as well as how to align it more with the traditional moribana-style arrangements. The second flower arrangement was done in accordance to the moribana-style but was left at my mentor’s place so the photo will be shown next week.

How to have a beautiful mind:

How to listen:

Me: So I understand that there are certain types of flowers that are used in certain schools and styles of ikebana but what is the reason these flowers go together?

Mentor: Well there are many factors, but to sum it up it is the way the flowers interact with each other. This includes the shape, form, contrast, and many other factors.

Me: Then can’t I have my own types of flowers as long as they look good together.

Mentor: Yes, and that is part of the artistic side of this. You can create your own styles and divert from the templates, but that takes more practice.

DeBono says that if “you listen carefully and attentively you will get more value from listening than talking” (p. 67). This was very true when it came to me listening to my mentor about the more abstract concepts of ikebana that are not easily understood without practice. If I wasn’t listening as intently I may have missed some key characterization points about ikebana that helps me understand the concept more.

How to ask questions:

Me: If ikebana is a form or art that allows for the expression of the author’s feelings, why are there so many rules about the angles of the shin, soe, and tai?

Mentor: Ikebana is a very old Japanese art and the Japanese are very organized people who like to have rules to follow. Unlike other forms of art that have lots of variation, when a new variation is formed in ikebana, it usually transforms into its own school if it is popular enough. The angle rules that I taught you are not only prevalent in ikebono and moribana but almost every school of ikebana. The angles were tested by sages and agreed to be beautiful by all.

Me: So by following these angles I can make my ikebana better?

Mentor: Theoretically, yes. I will show you two flower arrangements using the same flowers and materials with two variations on angles and you can tell me which one is better and why.


Me: I see what you were saying. This one has more of the free and spirited feel because of the left handed slanted-style and angling of the plants so they do not intersect and instead compliment each other.

DeBono says that “questions are a key means of interaction in any conversation or discussion” (88).  This made a lot of sense in my conversation because me asking the question about the ikebana viewing angles let me open up a whole new path on my learning and widen my eyes towards ikebana.

I cannot wait until I make more beautiful art work and share my learning with all of you. I will have more pictures next week!


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