More of the SOGETSU EXHIBITION at the Kew courthouse.

Last week I said I would show some other works from the Sogetsu School Victorian Branch Exhibition in the Kew Courthouse. I am only able to give a small sample of the work because not all of my photographs came out well enough. This eye-catching sculpture of teak branches and air-conditioning aluminium foil stood on the footpath as a marker of the exhibition. I was fascinated at the way the foil has a texture like fabric and it seemed I could feel a hand smoothing its' surface. It was created by Joan Norbury.

This large vessel, by Denis May, was flowing over with red and yellow Leucospermum, pinwheel  flowers. It was created by Joy Manie.

Jennie Stuart has chosen warm orangy tones in this lily and section of a palm leaf to complement the colours in this unusual hand made basket. She has contrasted these natural textures with some rusty springs. The basket was made by Maree Brown from palm inflorescence.

Sandra Gawthorpe made this nageire work using some very unusual eucalyptus seed pods she brought back from South Australia recently.

Kath Dacy and Joan Norbury created this collaborative work with painted branches in a shallow black vessel with agapanthus. It seem to me to make reference to the variation number five in the Sogetsu curriculum.

The same work from  the opposite viewing angle.

This large work was made by Toula and Betty Karanikolopoulos using Strelitizia and two match-stick bamboo blinds.

On last Wednesday I travelled to Brisbane to give a presentation about my three months in Japan earlier in the year. While walking into the city  I noticed this Brachychiton Acerifolia in flower. It is an Australian native of the east coast rain-forests of New South Wales and Queensland. At this time of year it may be covered in small cup shaped rich red flowers. 

The trees some-times have no leaves and the visual impact is great because the new branchlets that hold the flowers are also red.

Here is a close-up of some fallen flowers.

This week I teamed some Echium flowers with a couple of large glossy leaves of acanthus from the garden. The vase is by Nakamura Yutaka.

27th November 2011


This week I participated in the annual exhibition Victorian Branch of the Sogetsu School which was held at a gallery in the former Kew Courthouse in Melbourne. The exhibition will be up for a week until Thurday 24th. Because of the length of time I had to consider what materials I could use that would survive for a week and hopefully still look alright on the last day. At home I experimented with some palm tree spathes (that cover the flower heads). These are quite woody and attractive in both form and colour. I thought they would go well on this large platter.

I was happy with my early plans 'though I must admit that this was not as stable as it needed to be for a public gallery. I also realised that the patter is extremely heavy and therefore rather impractical under the circumstances. After reconsidering the situation I then chose a large bowl by Graeme Wilke. I found by placing an interestingly twisted piece of driftwood across the bowl I could angle the spathes over the bowl with their ends being wedged under the lip at the edge. I chose three King Protea flowers because their soft grey-pink complemented both the spathes and the bowl. I have used camellia leaves to give the work a feeling of freshness, knowing they will last well. 

My work was sited in a foyer where people would walk past it and view it through 120 degrees. So, I placed the three flowers so that only two are visible at a time, except for one particular narrow angle.

This is a broader view of the foyer showing my arrangement in the context of some other works. 

This is a general view of the larger gallery. The space has windows on one side only. We placed screens against these windows to better show the works. The other walls are covered in black velvet curtains. The room contains 'stage lighting' so some of the works were bathed in blue light that makes it hard to photograph. 

There was a great variety of works that made for an interesting exhibition and I must say the quality of the work was of very high standard with good attention to detail. Next week I will show some of the individual arrangements.

Greetings from Christopher
20th November 2011


This morning (Saturday 12th November) I walked on the beach early. The sun's rays at a low angel lit the scene brilliantly. This is the Torquay Surf  Beach. Notice the rocks at the point.

Here is a close-up of one of those rocks. On the right side of the picture is a small arch through the rock with a deep pool underneath.

The tide is still going out and there is some water dripping from the top of the arch making lovely rings on the water. 

This is Jan Juc Beach with Bell's Beach and Pt Addis in the distance.

The cloud shadows moving across the cliff face made them look more interesting. I would have liked to take a video of the effect. However, the videos don't work well on the blog and some people can't see them at all.

In the garden some more of the Strelitzia flowers have opened.

They really do look like some strange bird. I'm looking forward to using some for ikebana soon.

This callistemon (C Subulatus, I think) has very dense flowers and quite fine leaves. We planted this bush only three years ago so these are the first flowers. The better rains this year has made the bush thicken up and double in height.

My teacher set us a particularly interesting exercise this week. An arrangement using roses and dried or bleached material. The leaves are Monstera leaves that I had used about five months ago and I have left lying on the ground. They have become quite silvery on the surface that was facing up and getting bleached by the sun. The roses are bourbon looking in form. I bought them from the local florist. This contrast of silvery grey and pink seems to work well.

I demonstrated a basic slanting (reversed) moribana arrangement for my new student on Thursday. I have used copper beech branches and some yellow roses tipped with red. 

Greetings from Christopher 
12th November 2011


This morning we walked along the clifftops and below are some of the flowers that caught my eye. I showed a picture of this blue flowering vine on the 9th October. Here it is much clearer that the flower is blue. Also I have never noticed it growing so densely before. I think this 'bush' has been pruned by the  wind.

The white flowers here are of the 'woolly tea-tree' (Leptospernum lanigerum), which grow extensively in the clifftop heaths.

My attention was also caught by this flower spike, about 60 centimeters high. It may be a dwarf from of Xanthorea the Australian grass tree but I'm not sure.

The Helichrysum pictured is the first I've noticed this spring. The paper-like petals last long after the seed-head has dispersed.

The bright orange/yellow of the lichen on this fence post was almost luminous in the overcast conditions of today's weather.

I created this arrangement of curving lines with red callistemon from the garden in three bamboo vases that I had made a couple of years ago. I set the exercise for my students, to make an arrangement using more than two vases and featuring curving lines. I decided to avoid the obvious use of the easily curved lines of bulrushes (called cat-tail in Japan and the US). The callistemon had a good gentle natural curve that I discovered could not be easily increased without breaking the stems.

Here is a simplified version of the same material in a ceramic vase by Barrie Singleton. The vase has a splash made of tiny red lines on one side.

On the other side are just a few of the red lines which are probably only visible if you are able to enlarge the picture.

Greetings from Christopher 
6th November 2011