On Tuesday last week the Melbourne Chapter of Ikebana International celebrated the Tanabata festival. The festival is held in June and recalls the legend of the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi who were lovers. As a punishment they were separated and only allowed to meet once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar in the form of the stars Altair and Vega. In Japan it is an occasion for feasting and writing wishes on paper and tying the wish to a branch of bamboo.
I was invited to create the Omukaebana, 'welcoming flowers' for the occasion and chose pine and white chrysanthemum. Below are two pictures of the branch I cut from a nearby plantation that I then had to trim carefully.
The second picture is after I removed a large branch going to the left.
Below is the completed arrangement with five chrysanthemums and some red and white mizuhiki, the decorative strings used for celebrations. The large vessel is a storage container from Shigaraki, which is the site of one of the six ancient kilns of Japan. These vessels are prized for their strong rustic character and natural wood-ash glaze.
Greetings from Christopher
15th June 2013