This weekend I led a workshop for the Melbourne members of the Victorian Branch of the Sogetsu School. I am very grateful for all the preparation and assistance on the day by the members of the committee. This was a hands-on workshop to practise a variety of fixing techniques used to make structural forms. 

In my introduction I asked the participants to remember that our intention in ikebana is to make something beautiful. It is interesting that scientific theories are often described as 'beautiful' or 'elegant'. Beauty, ideally, is uplifting or consoling to the viewer and we should aim for this to be their first response to our ikebana. Therefore our techniques in general should be invisible or at least inconspicuous. The techniques we practised were the use of dowels, screws and wiring. The twenty participants seemed to really enjoy getting out their electric drills, pliers and wire cutters. Each of them got to take home a reference example of wiring, doweling and countersinking of screws.

Below is my demonstration example of the use of wiring to create a floating mass of red lines in this work featuring a single pink camellia in a vase by Shigeo Shiga. 

In the next example I have used dowels to hold short lengths of silver birch together. Doweling is especially suitable for thicker pieces of wood. It is invisible and makes it possible to achieve lightness in the design even though the material is solid looking. I really like the tumbled effect that can be created with short lengths of randomly arranged sections of branch material. I have contrasted the birch with a single leaf and flower of strelitzia in a cylindrical vase by Graeme Wilkie. 

Greetings from Christopher 
8th July 2012

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