The exhibition was opened on 22nd September by Mr Hidenobu Sobashima, Consul-General of Japan, Melbourne. Last week I posted photos of the smaller works in the exhibition. This year the ceramic artist, and owner of Qdos gallery Lorne, Graeme Wilkie created large unique sculptural forms in clay. The first photo shows Graeme installing four ceramic sculptures on the wall of the middle of the three levels of the gallery.

Creating ikebana works to complement these ceramics meant we had to work on a large scale and extend into the realm of installation sculpture using materials that can last for the two weeks of the exhibition without water. 

View from the gallery looking through the doorway into the foyer and the restaurant beyond.

Installation in the foyer was created by me using boobialla (myoporum insulare), magnolia leaves and red cane.

The next  photos are of work on the lower of the three levels in the gallery. The pink flowers are from Western Australia, unfortunately their name is unknown. 

This suspended sculpture by Christine Denmead is made from grape vine with large bamboo shoot coverings attached to the side.

This is an end on view of the same work.

Helen Quarrell, assisted by Maureen Duffy created this floating sculpture with Mop Top Tree (robinia pseudoacacia) branches.

In this photo the branches above are reflected in the surface of the water.

I have placed a growing tip from a blue agave on the ceramic sculpture below. The sculpture had a patch of blue glaze that is not visible in this photo.

The two installations below are on the upper level of the gallery, using weeping mulberry  (morus alba). I chose this material to mirror the curves in these large ceramic pieces by Graeme Wilkie.

The ikebana team at the end of our fourth day of preparations in the gallery. From the left: Helen Quarrell, Nola Bird, Christopher James, Christine Denmead, Ellie Welkamp and Maureen Duffy.

Greetings from Christopher

28th September 2013


This years exhibition at Qdos Gallery in Lorne was officially opened this afternoon. The new ceramics were brought out of the kiln on Tuesday and my students and I spent four days preparing our ikebana works, not all of which are included in this week's posting. In this photo, from the left are: Mr Graeme Wilkie ceramic artist, Ms Lyn Baines President of Ceramics Victoria and Mr Hidenobu Sobashima Consul General of Japan, Melbourne.

Mr Sobashima formally opening the exhibition.

Approximately sixty people attended the opening.

Below are some of the smaller works in various vases. The first is by Maureen Duffy using dried xanthorea stems and nandina in a tall vase.

Nola Bird's massed arrangement, also of nandina, in a blue glazed vase.

Helen Quarrell cascaded this blue spruce on the side of a vase with a rich blue and gold glaze.

Ellie Welkamp arranged this dried strelitzia leaf with some yellow everlasting flowers in a vase with a shino-like glaze.

Christine Denmead arranged tortuous elm, sedge leaves and clivia flowers in a slanting freestyle form.

In these three wall hanging flower-shaped vases I arranged four leaves of sedge.

As the exhibition continues for two weeks I will post images of the larger sculptural ikebana works next week.

Greetings from Christopher
22nd September 2013


I was in the Geelong Botanic Gardens this week and couldn't resist having my photo taken in front of this very old and beautiful 'tea tree'. The same branch material that I used in last weeks ikebana.

My students and I are continuing our preparations for the exhibition at the Qdos Gallery in Lorne which will be open from 22nd September to the 6th October.  Here is Christine Denmead working on her major piece.

Earlier in the week I went to Qdos which stands in a sculpture park among tall Mountain Ash trees.

I went to see how this years firing was progressing. My students and I will create ikebana sculptural works to be exhibited with the ceramics from this years firing of the nine metre long anagama kiln. The kiln is fired for five days reaching temperatures in excess of 1300 degrees Centigrade. It will take a further week to cool enough before it can be opened.

In this photo you can see flames coming from the small viewing holes along the length of the kiln and in the chimney.

Because it is a such a huge task the firing is a collaborative exercise, Graeme Wilkie and his team of assistants have to keep the kiln at a constant temperature night and day. 

This photo is looking into the firebox of the kiln. (I kept thinking of Dante's Inferno.)

This is Graeme in front of the kiln on the fourth day of firing.

In this weeks ikebana I have used arum lilies and vine in a large bowl by Graeme Wilkie.

Greetings from Christopher

14th September 2013


The 1st of September marked the beginning of spring. As I walked in the Botanic Garden in Melbourne I was delighted to see these ducklings and cygnets.

Because of the desert in the middle of Australia there are many plants and animals that are unique to either the east or west coasts. It was only after european colonisation that  black swans from Western Australia were brought to the eastern side of the continent. 

Our preparations for the exhibition at the Qdos Gallery in Lorne continue. Here I am trimming some branches for a large sculptural piece.

This week in class I asked my advanced students to make an ikebana 'Taking into account the colour of the vase'. Ellie Welkamp used these beautiful tulips from her garden in two plastic vases.

Helen Quarrell floated jasmine flowers in a ceramic vessel with a red glaze. 

The pink and white of the flowers reflected the speckled surface of the vessel.

Returning to my theme of using a small amount of simple materials from my garden I have used 'tea tree' (leptospermum laevigatum) branches for the main stems and white ranunculus in this 'basic slanting arrangement'.

If you click on the highlighted text you will see some wonderful images of quite ancient 'tea trees' that have fabulously twisted trunks leptospermum laevigatum

Greetings from Christopher
7th September 2013


In the winter sunshine the red flowering Swan River Pea (Gastrolobium bracteolosum, previously called Brachysema Lanceolatum ) is positively luminous in our winter garden. Here it is growing beside the path.

It is a very useful spreading plant for the garden as a single plant can cover an area three times wider than its height of about one metre.

I have never previously used it as an ikebana subject and wanted to show my students that ikebana can be made with a small amount of materials. I used it with some leaves of New Zealand Flax, also from our garden, to demonstrate a 'basic upright' arrangement. 

This weeks ikebana uses two leaves and a single flower head of agapanthus in a vase by Pippin Drysdale, a ceramic artist from Western Australia.

Greetings from Christopher
31st August 2013