The learning sensei / by Alexander Evans

Thursday marked the return to classes for me. Even as I prepare to teach in 2018, I am myself continuing on my own learning journey. Thursday was especially productive and exciting as I took two classes with the always awesome Sogetsu Ikebana teacher, Sandra Marker in Sydney at her home studio. We covered working with 5 or more materials which can be quite the challenge to manage all the different kinds of plants without it starting to look a bit like a disorganised shopping list!!! Very tricky indeed. In the end I achieved a great arrangement that harmonised well, the materials being complimentary to each other and creating a beautiful soft mass with nodding fresias and xanthorea adding height and movement. 

 lesson 4.5 - working with 5 or more materials

lesson 4.5 - working with 5 or more materials

During the remaining time in the mornings class I created a freestyle arrangement making use of a wonderfully interesting dried branch from a weeping mulberry.

 Freestyle arrangement using weeping mulberry branch

Freestyle arrangement using weeping mulberry branch

After a break for lunch I was up for the next challenge! The afternoon lesson was about working with vines - a very tricky material indeed. The main idea was to show the key feature of the vine. In the case of the native hardenbergia that I was using, I wanted to show its twisting and twining nature. I set about achieving my goal using two containers to help support the vine off the working surface and to provide lots of structure for the vine to entwine. The lesson was a success and we arranged the final piece in several configurations, exploring having a black vase to the front and also one with a white vase to the front and alternating the surface between black and white as well. As the final challenge for the day my teacher asked me to try the exercise using only a single container that she selected and to create somthing with a slightly more horizontal feel. While I was very happy with the results I achieved along the way I think that it was the final exercise that I found to be the most satisfying. I achieved a truly arresting arrangement that both my teacher and I were very pleased with. 

4-6 Vines D.jpg