One of the lessons in the Sogetsu School curriculum is 'Disassembling and Re-arranging the Material'. An earlier version of this exercise in older text books was 'An arrangement in which the appearance of the material has been changed'. The new title of the exercise is a more accurate description. I set this exercise for my advanced students last week and for inspiration emailed them photos of examples by the previous Iemoto, Hiroshi Teshigahara.

I think the value of this exercise has two particular aspects. Firstly, by taking material apart the ikebanist's attention is focused on its separate elements: leaves, branches, flowers, petals, seed pods and so on. This causes us to see those elements with fresh eyes.  Secondly, because we have effectively destroyed the beauty of nature's creation, we now have to have to focus our attention on the aspect of design and re-imagine how we can make something beautiful from these discrete elements. The consequence of having to build up a work in this way is that quite often the result is sculptural in appearance.

Below are photos from the class.

Alana, stripped a cotoneaster branch and floated the berries in a glass vase. In the smaller vase, at the back, she floated a single leaf.

In this second work, Alana partially submerged a bunch of berries and placed a branch across the vessel. The reflection of the branch on the surface of the water enhanced the feeling of the water.

Christine has used a succulent with the common name Black Rose * . She inverted the stem on the left and has taken a rosette of leaves apart and attached them on the side of the stem on the right.

Helen used a eucalyptus (possibly E. pluerocarpa * ). She created a cascade of seed pods falling from a star-burst made from the tips of branches. 

 Maureen has used the same material inverted in a shallow bowl coming to a layered cluster of leaves at the apex of the design.

She also created this two vessel work with a straight stemmed plant that had red berries.

Above, Maureen created curves from nerine stems, braced them in a suiban and bunched the flowers separately.

Ellie used a banksia in a harmoniously coloured suiban. She inverted the flowers and wove some leaves through sections of the stems braced across the vessel. The leaves on the left created a sense of movement from left to right in the work.

Greetings from Christopher
May 2015

* click on the blue text for further information

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