Ongoing Studies - Tsubo, direct fixing, miniatures & more - OH MY! / by Alexander Evans

It's been a very busy few weeks but I finally have had a moment to edit my photos of class projects as well as a number of other excellent ikebana moments, but more about those in another blog post (coming soon). I've been hard at work and fitting in as many classes as I could manage before my awesome teacher headed off on a Japan adventure of her own. I would have loved to join her, along with some of my fellow students but alas circumstances didn't permit. Perhaps next year I will be able to go along with them. In the meantime I have tidied up my photos so that I can present them here. They are perhaps not in the exact order that they appear in the textbook however I've enjoyed mixing things up a little bit.

 Arrangement in a Tsubo container. (Container by Alexander Evans) This arrangement also makes use of the direct fixing technique.

Arrangement in a Tsubo container. (Container by Alexander Evans)
This arrangement also makes use of the direct fixing technique.

I quite liked working in a Tsubo container and really got a sense of the traditional feel to this way of working. In this instance I went for quite a "full" feel with the arrangement as I wanted to balance it against the strength of the golden ash branches and bulk of the container, whilst still giving my lovely big purple chrysanthemums a backdrop of green for contrast. I was really happy with the result though in hindsight I think I could have trimmed a little more of the green away. Even so, it remains a very nice arrangement.
 

 Arrangement showing movement - Blowing/sweeping. (Container by Alexander Evans.)

Arrangement showing movement - Blowing/sweeping. (Container by Alexander Evans.)

In the above arrangement I was lucky to find a dried eucalypt branch that had been bent and curved in the strong winds where I live. It was so striking and captured a sense of movement in such a direct and poetic way, justy looking at it I could feel a sense of the wind. I wanted to retain that feeling of lightness and movement of the air and so I felt spraying it silver would help reveal and enhance its character. I combined it with some very simple flowers and foliage so as to allow the branch to be the main feature.  
 

 Arrangement showing Movement - rising. 

Arrangement showing Movement - rising. 

I so enjoyed the chance to use my golden ash that I had to make a second arrangement showing movement. In the above example it is paired with echinacea which I used to create a mass.  

 Freestyle arrangement using only one type of material - fun exercise

Freestyle arrangement using only one type of material - fun exercise

The above shows an exercise in which my teacher handed me one or two gymea lily leaves and instructed me to make an arrangement from them within a short time limit. I was really taken with the idea of creating movement but also I wanted to bring out something of the wildness of the forces of nature in this usually quite rigid material. So by shredding, cutting and knotting I created mass and a couple of different kinds of lines that with the container kind of evoke a storm swept reed bed. I was super happy with this result. It felt very natural and at the same time very dramatic!
 

 Celebration arrangement using paper fans - Fan Festival!

Celebration arrangement using paper fans - Fan Festival!

 Celebratory arrangement - family reunion

Celebratory arrangement - family reunion

Celebratory arrangements are such a pleasure to make. They solidfy the happy feelings of the coming occasion and create a wonderful welcome for guests. A very enjoyable couple of exercises.
 

 A microcosm of miniatures

A microcosm of miniatures

Miniatures in Sogetsu Ikebana present quite a unique challenge but one that I really wanted to embrace. I was very fortunate and my father was able to use his lathe to turn these small containers for me from two different kinds of timber, Australian Silky Oak and Rose Alder. He did such a wonderful job on them that I felt my arrangement needed to be very special but still encompass the simplicity and elegance required in miniature arrangement. I feel this one was very successful as it is really arresting and gives a viewer pause to reflect on it and just linger there as they take it in.