Yesterday I conducted a workshop for members of the Sogetsu School, Victorian Branch. The theme was 'construction techniques' that are useful in ikebana. In the morning session the participants made a three dimensional structure that they used in the afternoon to incorporate into an ikebana arrangement. Below is an example of the use of doweling to secure short lengths of Birch branches the create a small sculpture which then became the focus of the arrangement. I have used this sculpture previously as I made it three years ago.

I also demonstrated the use of doweling as applied to fairly small diameter bamboo. The bamboo is drilled through one side only. To do this I have only allowed a small length of the drill bit to protrude so that it cannot go right through the bamboo as you can see in the photo below. PVA glue is applied to the hole and the bamboo skewer inserted. It is then cut short so that it can then be inserted into a corresponding hole in the piece of bamboo which is to be attached. When they are joined I have allowed a little of the glue to remain on the external surfaces of the bamboo to help secure the join. The two pieces are then temporarily 'clamped' with wire until the glue has set. 

 Below is the equipment. Clockwise from the right: PVA wood glue, fine toothed hack-saw, bamboo meat-skewer, pliers, wire, hasami (flower scissors), electric-battery drill. The three pieces of bamboo in the centre are fixed in the shape that formed the template of the finished work.

The particular virtue of this fixing technique is that it is invisible and the joined pieces of the structural material are seen just to be touching each other. Also the join is very strong. In the arrangement below I have added lisianthus to make a 'no kenzan' work that has a very fresh light feel.

The framework is made of four 'template' pieces that I have wedged together using two additional lines running horizontally to help stabilise the structure. This means it is able to be taken apart and reused in a different configuration.

Greetings from Christopher.
5th May 2013

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