This week Roadside Ikebana comes to you from Japan where, three days ago, there were early cherry blossoms in Zojo-ji, Shiba Koen in Tokyo.
For those of you who are heading toward Japan for the Ikebana International Conference: don't panic, we are back to winter, so the blossoms won't be finished. 5C in Tokyo today, 0C in Hakone and snowing!
At Onjuku, where we are visiting friends for the weekend, it is 8 C and raining.
We came here six years ago when the foundations of this very modern weekend house were first laid.
Here is the finished house.
The house has one very large living space and a multi-use mezzanine loft over the bedroom.
Our friends enjoy coming to the beach on weekends where Joe gets to do some surfing.
Yesterday it was about 10C and still a large number of die-hards were out there. We were rugged up in hat, gloves and scarves.
Even the white heron looked hunched up against the cold to me.
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Last weekend at the Sogetsu Victoria Branch workshop the presenter was Sandy Marker, a Sogetsu Teacher from Sydney, who has been the most recent recipient of the Norman and Mary Sparnon Endowment scholarship.
Sandy gave a 'slide-show' and spoke about the three months she spent at the Sogetsu Headquarters in the first half of 2016. Following her presentation she conducted a workshop on the theme of Discovering New Opportunities. The members brought materials and vessels to the meeting which were exchanged; so that each member had material from one member and a vessel brought by yet another member.
My exchanged vessel was modern, very narrow and bone coloured. The botanical materials, from a different member, were a bunch of beautiful variegated miscanthus and some red dracaena leaves, as well as purple statice and some geranium flowers.
I decided that if I arranged the miscanthus in a naturalistic way it would look beautiful but I would not challenge myself. I therefore have tied the tips of the miscanthus randomly making a tighter more vertical form. I have massed the new flower-heads among the leaves to the right of the middle to increase the density of the volume. The dracaena leaves accentuated the verticality of the arrangement and provided a sufficient colour accent that I did not need to use any floral materials.
Greetings from Christopher
26th March 2017