Last Wednesday saw the opening of the Melbourne International Flower and Garden show. It is the seventeenth year of this annual event that takes place in the historic Royal Melbourne Exhibition Buildings and surrounding gardens. The buildings  were erected in 1880 for the first international exhibition 1880-1881 (see: For this event the gardens are used for trade exhibitions, including designs of model domestic scale gardens created for the five days of the event. Within the Great Hall building the focus is on all aspects of flower arts and cultivation. This year the Victorian Branch of the Sogetsu school participated, as usual, in association with Ikebana International and some ikebanists created individual exhibits.

In the gardens there are musicians as well as street theatre performances taking place throughout the day. These two giant women with baskets of flowers and watering cans ready to do business in their garden, created amusement among the crowd.

This is the view down the length of the Great Hall. In the foreground on the lower floor are mannequins dressed in 'garments' made of flowers and other botanical materials designed by students studying fashion design.

This image shows the transept of the great hall. You can see some of the paintings high up that decorate the arches.

Below is a section of the Ikebana International exhibit. Unfortunately I was unable to photograph it front-on because of the crowd. On the left side is the Sogetsu School work. In the foreground is the Ohara School and straight behind the Ikenobo School with the Ichiyo School to the right. Out of view is the Shogetsudo-koryu arrangement.    

This is an individual stand by the Ohara School. (My sincere apologies for mis-labeling it initially as Shogetsudo-koryu school [corrected 4th April]).

This dramatic 'shop window' exhibit is by Emily Karanikolopoulos a Sogetsu School teacher (see: She has used two very large branches of white painted corky elm supporting glass bowls containing red anthurium lilies. Her work was awarded third prize.

This work is by Emily's sisters-in-law Toula and Betty Karanikolopoulos and features a strong framework of horizontal bamboo with variagated New Zealand flax and masses created with smaller bamboo, red anthurium lilies and dancing lady orchids. Their work received a 'highly commended' award.

This work caught my eye because (I'm fairly sure) it was by a student of floristry in Geelong. 

Here is another piece by students of western floristry where the influence of ikebana is very apparent. Think 'line mass and space'.

Now to my own domestic scale work this week. I have been noticing the bullrushes in the creek over the past month and wanting to make use of them. In particular I wanted to try to repeat a work I made at a workshop with Mr Katayama four years ago, see the picture below. The photo' I took at the workshop was not good because the work went outside the photo' frame.

Unfortunately, when I tried to repeat the work I had left it too late and the heads of the rushes were beginning to 'seed'. Also the stems were much weaker than those I perviously used. I was unable to use the same technique as above and instead tried to create a mass from the lines of the flower heads coming from two groups within the vase. At the last minute I had to add more stems to the righthand side so it is rather messy where the stems come out of the vase.  

The vase is by Graeme Wilkie of Qdos Gallery, Lorne.

Greetings from Christopher 
1st April 2012

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