Our Australian friend, Brett, who lives in New York took us to the Storm King Art Centre  * two weeks ago. This is a large sculpture park about an hours drive north of the city. I was keen to go there to see an environmental art work by the British sculptor, Andy Goldsworthy. In my experience his work often appeals to Sogetsu ikebanists in particular. This project, made in 1997 - 1998, is called 'Running Wall' (Click on the blue text to see a really interesting article about it in American Scientist). There is a comment in the article stating that Goldsworthy's work is 'most alive' immediately it is finished, that is, just before it starts to decay. To me this is at the essence of ikebana, the transitory nature of our creations. Below are some photos I took of 'Running Wall'.

The next photo shows a large rugged sculpture that looked like a massive pile of slate.

It turned out to be small blocks of cypress covered in graphite. The texture was wonderful.

This sculpture, of metal tubes, had a great sense of movement. Only three of the tubes are anchored in the ground, the rest are supported by wires under tension.

It makes me wonder about trying the same technique with bamboo. 

Here are three photos I took of wild flowers in the park. I don't know what any of them are.

Actually the one above could be the dried head of 'Queen Anne's Lace' * (daucus carota).

I have seen a lot of the yellow flower in the photo above growing wild, and think it looks lovely, fresh and bright. So, I was delighted to find some in a vase of our Chicago apartment. I used it and some tan coloured chrysanthemum to create the ikebana below.

Greetings from Christopher
4th October 2014

Click on the blue text for further information. 


  1. Thanks for posting the pictures you took at the Storm King Art Center. I had never heard of it before and the works you photographed are so interesting that it makes me want to go there for a visit.

  2. Excellent blog Christopher: Complemented by your photography - revealing your aesthetic sensibility - as much as your Ikebana. Just to-day a friend told me something of the extraordinary Norman James SPARNON - and his engagement in post-WWII cultural aspects of Japanese life. I lived many years in Japan and as a consequence was privileged to enjoy many introductions to folk-crafts and to a number of "Ways". My wife followed the Ikenobo school for a year or two - two lessons/month. I was arm-twisted into a couple of all day tea ceremony rites - including a segment of flower arranging and incense judgement - and even soba-noodle making. All interesting. Calligraphy, Kyu-do (Archery), some Zen meditational practice...You'll understand all that. As I said - a privilege. Spiritual dimensions. But SPARNON really interests me - as does anyone who spends years in Japan (I was there reasonably close to two decades) - and who comes away (or remains there) with their own spirits re-worked - as it were! I noted that SPARNON's wife Mary was from the US. Would you know her name (before marriage - and where she was from in the US. my wife and I will be there shortly (though only in the west (coast/Rockies) this visit!

  3. Dear Jim,
    I'm afraid I can't help you with Mary Sparnon's maiden name. Try contacting Mr Yoshiro Umemura through the Sydney Branch of the Sogetsu School at:

    You can contact me directly at: