At the beginning of this week Laurie and I visited the Japanese collection in the Pauline Gandel Gallery at the National Gallery of Victoria. We were re-aquainting ourselves with three woodblock prints by Junichiro Sekino, that had been hung for the first time. 

Sekino was an artist of the sosaku hanga movement, a group mid-20th century artists who broke with tradition by completing the whole process of designing, cutting, printing and selling themselves. In the past the activities of cutting the wood blocks and printing were undertaken by separate artisans under the direction of the publisher. 

Laurie had donated these three woodblock prints to the gallery a couple of years ago. Here we are with Dr Wayne Crothers, Senior Curator of Asian Art, Laurie and me. If you have the opportunity to visit the gallery in the next few months these modern works give an interesting insight into the evolution of Japanese woodblock prints. This is particularly relevant at the moment as the outstandingly successful Hokusai exhibition at the gallery closed only two weeks ago.

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Meanwhile in the classroom some of my students have been working on 'basic' arrangements from the early part of the Sogetsu curriculum.

Jacqueline's exercise was a 'Variation No 1' Slanting style. This arrangement creates a lovely open space between the two 'arms' of the branch material which stretch forward and to the back. The flowers make an eye-catching focus between them.

Marisha created a 'Basic up-right' arrangement in the nageire style. She has used the Australian native pomaderris elliptica, which sits well with the fresh look of the white chrysanthemum. This is probably the most difficult of the nageire exercises, as the longest branch has to rise from the centre of the vase without touching the bottom and being supported by the shorter branch. 

My arrangement this week is a freestyle in an open bowl using scabiosa from the garden. The vessel is actually a porcelain soup bowl with a pale blue glaze by Graeme Wilkie

Greetings from Christopher 
4th November 2017.

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