On Monday evening last, my colleague Helen Quarrell and I conducted a demonstration for the Friends of the Geelong Botanic Gardens. (If you scroll down the right hand side of their facebook page there are some photos of our demonstration.) This event was in conjunction with the month long combined exhibition of Botanical Art and Ikebana at the Wintergarden Gallery in Geelong. We were privileged to gather materials from the garden for the eight works we made for the demonstration. The photos below are a bit blurred as they were taken with a phone camera.

Here I am demonstrating the significance of 'in' (negative) and 'yo' (positive) leaf surfaces in ikebana using monstera leaves.  

Below Helen arranging salvia.

A general view of the room with six ikebana works.

For the on-going exhibition at the Wintergarden gallery new ikebana was created on Thursday.

Nola Bird arranged dianella (longifolia?)a native blue flower, identity uncertain. 

Ellie Welkamp used purple dendrobium orchids in an upright arrangement

The subject of Christine Denmead's work is the Fatsia Japonica leaves that she teamed with Strelitzia flowers.

I have re-created the work from the demonstration using Mahonia-sp from the Geelong Botanical Gardens.

Greetings from Christopher
26th October 2013


This week  we have again changed our arrangements using materials that are the subject of the botanical art on the walls of the Wintergarden gallery. Christine Denmead chose this rose as her principal material and teamed it with pine. This is an auspicious combination in ikebana because of the long flowering period of roses and the pine is significant because it is a long-lived evergreen.

This next work is by Ellie Welkamp and features a stem of dark red cymbidium orchids contrasted with a paler pink orchid placed within the arrangement. The black bamboo provides a contrasting structure of straight lines.

Helen Quarrell has made an arrangement with strong vertical movement using New Zealand flax from her own garden.

The work below is by Nola Bird and features fig from my garden. I am afraid I did not photograph it well. If you look closely at the leaf on the lower left you will see there is a fruit in front of the leaf.

The material I chose is the seed pod of a hakea which I have massed and contrasted with some hakea leaves. The vase is by Graeme Wilkie.

Greetings from Christopher
18th October 2013


During this last week I attended a workshop / meeting of Ikebana International in Melbourne at which Thea Satori gave a demonstration of Chabana arrangements. Below are three of her examples.

The next example is of an arrangement intended to be placed outside at an entrance to welcome guests, also by Thea. The material is an Australian native geranium.

In the morning before the workshop I gathered some Jasmine and have arranged it in a bottle-shaped vase made by James Beeston.

There are more images on the Ikebana International Melbourne Chapter blog.

My students and I have changed our work at  for week two of the Wintergarden Botanical Art Exhibition. We have used materials that are to be found in the art work.  I thought I would include a photo of my arrangement of last week with the flowers opened. 

This week Christine Denmead chose lemon as her material. As you can see this branch had both fruit and flowers. The vase is by Graeme Wilkie.

Nola Bird arranged wisteria in a cylindrical vase.

Ellie Welkamp arranged pelargonium - shrubland pet, (which has intensely fragrant foliage).

Helen Quarrell chose a pink protea as her subject.This vase is also by Graeme Wilkie.

In my arrangement I have used iceland poppies with the leaves of Tetrapanax, the so-called rice paper plant. I have deliberately contrasted the front and back of the leaves because of the interesting downy, pale green undersurface.  Both materials are in different paintings in the exhibition. The vase is from the Qdos Studio.

Scroll down to see last weeks Wintergarden exhibits.

Greetings from Christopher
11th October 2013


This week my students and I created ikebana in association with an exhibition of Botanical Art by members of the Friends of the Geelong Botanic Gardens, at the Wintergarden Gallery (art@Wintergarden) in Geelong. The gallery is run by Jill Shalless an accomplished artist and teacher who is respected for her active engagement with community groups of local artists to whom she provides opportunities to present their work. The beautiful building, originally a Congregational Church, has an interesting history and was only converted into a gallery, shops and cafe in 1989. In this general view of the gallery the art works are displayed on the outer walls.

We have created our ikebana in front of screens placed against the balustrading and  chose our materials from among the huge variety of subjects in the artworks exhibited by the Botanical Artists. This first ikebana is by Nola Bird and features Pomegranate.

Ellie Welkamp used Monterey Pine (Pinus radiata). As a subtle contast she placed a small number of white chrysantemums in the centre rear of the arrangement which can be seen behind the pine cones.

Christine Denmead chose helleborus as her subject in this work with a dried branch. The branch had a purple lichen that picked up the same colour in the flowers. 

I created a 'kabuake' (two group) iris arrangement in a large suiban. This is a more traditional arrangement, rather than a typical Sogetsu freestyle work. The flowers came from Christine Denmead's garden.

Greetings from Christopher
4th October 2013