A month ago I posted a photo of hand-knitted and crocheted remembrance poppies. Today is the 100th anniversary of an unsuccessful WW I military campaign at Gallipoli, in modern day Turkey. This day is now known as ANZAC Day(Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) in Australia, and is our most solemn national remembrance day.

In the photo above thousands of poppies were laid out at Federation Square in Melbourne.

At the April meeting of the Sogetsu School of Ikebana, Victorian Branch, a workshop was given by my colleague Helen Quarrell. The theme was 'Focusing on Water'. I had given a class on the same subject, in February, to some new students and was impressed with the work below by Leonie.

It is a very strong design that makes good use of both materials and the clear glass vessel. There are more images from last Monday's workshop under the 'Recent Workshops' tab Focusing on Water * .

In a recent class my teacher, Elizabeth Angell, set us the exercise of making an arrangement using cumquats from her huge, somewhat overloaded tree. 

The day before, at an Ikebana International meeting, I had bought the variegated New Zealand flax I used in the arrangement above.   I thought it would be interesting to use the flax in a rather abstract, modern design. Above is the first version I made in class. The vessel is by Phil Elson * .

Here it is reassembled at home.

On the day that I bought the flax, at the Ikebana International meeting, the theme 'White and Grey Matter' was set. The following link will take you to some interesting arrangements from that meeting, if you scroll down to the 10th March entry on the Ikebana International Melbourne  * blog. 

Greetings from Christopher
25th April 2015

* Click on the blue text for further information


As I mentioned in the last couple of postings, last weekend, I participated in the first 'land art' outdoor exhibition held at the Gasworks Art Park * in Albert Park, Melbourne. The exhibition was titled 'From Nature' and the link above has multiple photos of the works from the event. Exhibitors were invited to select a site in which to create their work and assemble their sculpture a day or two before the exhibition.

Knowing the materials I had in my garage, I chose this paved area at the rear of the theatre building. Below, see the sculpture 'The Angel', in the gable of the wall, by the artist Sione Francis that was installed in 1992.

It was this sculpture that inspired me to create my own 'Earth Angel'.

With the assistance of my colleague Helen Quarrell, I made the sculpture using birch branches and palm spathes. Below are a series of photos I took while assembling the piece.

Three of my ikebana colleagues also participated in this exhibition and you can see their work by clicking on this link: Ikebana artists * , as well as some others exhibitors, at the Gasworks Art Park.

Greetings from Christopher
19th April 2015

 * click on the blue text for further information


A couple of weeks ago I was asked to create some ikebana for a sake tasting and lecture, that was part of the cultural program of the Consulate-General of Japan in Melbourne. The event was attended by the Consul-General, Ms Keiko Haneda, and about 80 interested people. 

I made three arrangements, two of which were placed in the corners of the room where the tasting was to take place.

For this first arrangement I created a framework of black bamboo sticks from my garden that I 'dowelled' together using skewers. I then added dried agapanthus flower-heads and pink oriental lilies. The lines of the bamboo and colours of the floral materials pick up the colours and form of the vase made by Graeme Wilkie from Qdos Gallery, Lorne * .

Next I used inverted agapanthus stems to create the main structure and added partially dried flower-heads and three heliconia flowers as a colour accent. This vase is also by Graeme Wilkie.

The third arrangement was at the front of the room adjacent to the guest speaker. In this larger arrangement I used black bamboo, white oriental lilies, dried agapanthus flower-heads and a sinuous line of red cane. The arrangement was dramatically lit by an overhead spotlight that made the materials glow. The vase is by Alistaire Whyte * .
The photos were taken by Mr Katsuyoshi Yabe.

If you live within driving/walking distance of the Gasworks Art Park * in Melbourne I would like to recommend a visit to the outside sculpture exhibition today and tomorrow (11th and 12th April). 

Greetings from Christopher
11th April 2015

* Click on the blue text for further information


Firstly, I would like to draw your attention to a posting  by Lennart Persson in which he thoughtfully discusses the question of whether ikebana is art. I think this is of special interest to ikebanists who do large scale work including 'installations' of various kinds; for example, the works from the Melbourne International Flower and Garden show that I included in last week's posting. You will need to scroll down to Lennart's posting on Tuesday 31st March on his Nordic Lotus blog.

I recently set my students the Sogetsu curriculum exercise of 'creating a surface with massed lines'. I think such curriculum exercises encourage us to see plant materials as having the potential for sculptural expression of our design ideas. This goes well beyond simply presenting the botanical materials in a naturalistic way.

Ellie used an unusually coloured amaranth and dietes leaves, in this two vessel arrangement.

Maureen used agapanthus stems, sticks painted a vivid blue that matched the suiban (shallow bowl) and a contrasting asiatic lily.

Christine used bullrush leaves in two vases she had made herself. She was interested to rotate the plane of the massed leaves from the highest point to the lower left. 

Below is an environmental sculpture of mine, "The way is barred (?)". It was created at Taylor Park Torquay.

In the coming week I will be participating in the preparations for an outdoor sculpture exhibition to take place at the Gasworks Art Park * in Melbourne, as well as at least three other well known ikebanists. I look forward to bringing you some photos from the exhibition in a future blog.

Greetings from Christopher
4th April 2015

* Click on the blue text for further information