Yesterday, Laurie and I visited some friends at Anglesea which is the next town along the coast west of Torquay. The township is surrounded on the north and west by a state park incorporating the Anglesea Heath and bushland. The bushland seems to flow into the township the way a garden can flow into a well designed house. As a consequence, there is an abundance of native flora and fauna. When we turned the corner into the street where our friends live we were surprised to see three Eastern Gray Kangaroos hopping across the road.
Meet 'Erica', in the red collar and blue ear tag. She and one of her 'adolescent' young were photographed by Laurie feeding as they foraged in our friends' front garden. Their vegetable garden has a very high fence!
These kangaroos are easily seen on the Angelsea Golf Course where they enjoy the nourishing short grass. The mob is monitored by research scientists from Melbourne University's Zoology Department, who have tagged and identified many of the animals.
What is the connection with ikebana? The unique art of ikebana that has come to us from Japan is grounded in an appreciation of the natural world. It is also able to address the relationship of humankind to the natural world. At a recent class I attended, Elizabeth set us the exercise of making an arrangement that incorporated a man-made product, paper.
This photo shows the work of Pearl, one of my fellow students. She has carefully rolled black and fawn card into small straw- like tubes which she has then joined together. The massed lines that she has made had a lovely texture that contrasted with the spiralling vessel and the dahlias.
For my arrangement I decided to use newspaper, because it is so ubiquitous that we don't usually think about it after we have read the news. I am intrigued with the properties of paper. Especially that such thin flimsy sheets can have considerable strength when rolled, folded or even scrunched. I used this conical metal vase so that I could show that the paper could support its own weight and appear to be blowing in the breeze.
Last weekend I attended a Saturday workshop of the Melbourne Ikebana International Chapter that was led by Emily Karanikolopoulos. She set the theme of an ikebana arrangement that represents a particular movement. This idea is taken from the advanced curriculum of the Sogetsu School.
This was my work that, as I hope you have guessed, represents the movement of 'zigzagging'. I have used the stems only of umbrella grass, cyperus alternifolius. I think this is ikebana as sculpture. This is because the material has been reduced to straight green lines and is not easily identifiable. Although I did experiment with adding a flower, the effect was to weaken the ikebana.
Click here for more photos of the Saturday workshop.
Greetings from Christopher
18th May 2019