"Not only beautiful flowers but also buds and withered flowers have life, and each has its own beauty. By arranging flowers with reverence, one refines oneself" - Ikenobo Senno, 1542


Here we showcase arrangements made by our members at Chapter events. Each listing contains a link to the gallery for that event. 

Professor Dan Dell'Agnese, boat and zundo shoka 5/2018 

Professor Dan Dell'Agnese, hamono and betsuden shoka 5/2018

Arrangements made during two workshops taught by Professor Dan Dell'Agnese of the Colorado Chapter of Ikenobo. 

(summaries to follow)

Freestyle arrangements 4/2018

Arrangements made during the workshop taught by Gail Bartlett. 

Jiyuka, or freestyle, unlike rikka and shoka, has no firm rules for arranging and is meant to allow for free expression of the arranger in creating a design. Free style, however, does not mean chaos, and there are basic guidelines: the specific characteristics of the material (lines, surfaces, points and mass); the styles of arrangement (vertical, slanting, and horizontal); and the theme or mood desired by the arranger.

Aspidistra shoka and freestyle 3/2018

Arrangements made during the workshop taught by Masumi Ichikawa Naylor. 

Shoka Shofutai isshuike with Aspidistra - demonstrating In-Yo harmony. Aspidistra is a hardy plant that is easily found during all seasons in Japan. The leaves are green, wide, and flexible, and are useful for demonstrating the concept of in-yo in shoka. Just as plants grow in nature with some parts facing the sun (yo) and some parts facing away from the sun (in), there must be the same harmony between in and yo in a shoka shofutai arrangement. The front surface of an aspidistra leaf is yo, its back surface is in, meaning that the front of the leaf faces the sun.

Jiyuka (freestyle) composition includes three basic forms: vertical (upright movement), slanting (slanting movement), and horizontal (sideways movement). These basic forms are not rigid rules but are suggested patterns for expressing creativity. In working with the special character of a plant material, emphasis may be placed on characteristics of lines (straight or curved), surfaces (smooth or rough), points (small/large or few/many) or mass (small/large), allowing expression of a particular theme or mood.

Shoka Shofutai 11/2017

Arrangements made during the workshop taught by Mimi Santini-Ritt.

Shoka celebrates the vitality and cyclical nature of plants through an understanding of shussho, the inner beauty of plants. Traditional Shoka Shofutai consists of three yakueda: shinsoe, and tai, supported by ashirai adding depth and substance to the yakueda. Although shinsoe, and tai have individual functions, their relationship to one another is what creates harmony and balance within the shoka as a whole. Shin is central, tall, expressing upward movement, reaching toward the sun. Soe, usually 2/3 the height of shin, is positioned to the rear of shin, moving toward the yo or sunny side, with its front surface facing shin, expressing the passage of  time in its life cycle. Tai, usually 1/3 the height of shin, is positioned to the front of shin, moving toward the in or shady side, with its front surface facing up toward shin and back toward soe, representing new growth. 

A strong, distinct mizugiwa is essential in shoka as it represents the growth of plants from the earth. The mizugiwa is the straight rise of stems, without leaves, from the center of the container, approximately 8 cm (3 inches) in height in a classical arrangement, before the stems bend into their relative positions for soetai, and various ashirai. Viewed from the front, a correct mizugiwa will appear to be a single stem growing straight up out of the water. 

Arrangements made during the workshop taught by visiting Professor Kumi Hiramatsu. 

We were fortunate to welcome Professor Hiramatsu from Ikenobo headquarters to Boston in October. She taught a workshop on suiriku futakabu-ike, a two-group arrangement reminiscent of a water scene by a pond. Land-based plants are placed in shin and soe to form the rear o-kabu group, and water-based plants form tai in a separate me-kabu group to the front. A rock placed in front of o-kabu emphasizes this difference. Professor Hiramatsu also gave a demonstration to Ikebana International members on freestyle arrangements and rikka shofutai.

Professor Kumi Hiramatsu futakabu-ike workshop 10/2017

Rikka shimputai workshop, 09/2017

Arrangements made during the workshop taught by Teresa Silverman. 

Rikka Shimputai was developed in the late 1990’s to address the need for Ikenobo to modernize.  In the aftermath of World War II, traditional rikka, which dates from the 15th century, and the shoka arrangements, which date from the 18th century, were increasingly seen as out-dated and so rules-bound as to discourage new students.  The challenge was to not throw out the baby for the bathwater.  Meaning that the principles and practices of rikka and shoka could not be discarded.  They form the foundation of Ikenobo and have stood the test of centuries.  To modernize rikka, there needed to be a version that had fewer rules but still contained the essence of a traditional rikka.  With fewer rules, it can be difficult to know how to get started.  This workshop will present a creative and original method of translating the traditions of rikka shofutai to making a rikka shimputaiarrangement.  This method has been formulated by Senior Ikenobo Professor Manabu Nodaand was taught to advanced students in April 2017 at the Ikenobo headquarters in Kyoto.

Miscellaneous member contributions

An archive of older photographs from our members.