Once again my students and I have changed the ikebana at the Wintergarden Gallery. This week the exhibition has the theme of emphasising space within the arrangement. It is a particularly important factor in ikebana. As Sofu Teshigahara reminds us: 'Ikebana is an art of space...between the branches...the flowers and leaves, and...between the masses.' Kadensho p 48.

The work below of bare branches without using a kenzan is by Ellie Welkamp.

This nageire arrangement by Maureen Duffy creates spaces from long loops of grass contrasted with dried branch branching material. 

Christine Denmead's arrangement of a dried Hakea branch creates an interesting space beneath the right hand side as well as at the top left side of the work 

I have used three large Monstera leaves to create an undulating line revealing spaces beneath them, in one of which is situated a 'crab claw' Heliconia.

As a westerner who teaches Ikebana, in my opinion, the creation of space is one of two design elements that distinguishes ikebana from traditional western floral art. The other being asymmetry. About the element of space the Sogetsu school text book says the following:  

'In Japanese painting and caligraphy, the role of space is something to be noted. The space or the blank is considered of equal importance as the work itself. 
The  same is true in ikebana. The open space such as the one between the branches or between the branches and the container is critically important.’ (Sogetsu Textbook 1-2 p. 95)

There are some interesting articles on the web that address this feature in ikebana. Two of them are: 'A Comparison between Asymmetric Japanese Ikebana and Symmetric Western Flower Arrangement' by Marie Moriyama and Megumi Moriyama at: 

and part of a blog by Garr Reynolds called '10 design lessons from the art of ikebana'. It can be found at:


You can highlight and copy these addresses into the your internet search engine. I hope you find them interesting.

Greetings from Christopher 
20th May 2012

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