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What we love about Ikebana

by Jane Lampe |

There's no doubt about it, ikebana is definitely very much a current trend. When I first started floristry, I thought it was a bit "80s". The style I'd experienced was quite uptight and very structured. It wasn't my thing.

Image sourced from Pinterest

A new style of Ikebana

More recently, some florists around the world have developed a more free-flowing and organic way of using ikebana, still using the same original principles of ikebana, but in a new, more relaxed style, and more often than not using ethically sourced flowers.

Fjura is one florist who has really embraced the ikebana style, and adapted it, using soft, beautiful, and sometimes imperfect flowers, in a style which is extremely simplistic and beautiful, and really focusses on the beauty of a very small number of beautiful, eclectically collected blooms.

Images sourced from @fjura_

The authors of our gorgeous book Ikebana Unbound, Studio Mondine, have also embraced a new type of freer-flowing, "modern approach" to Ikebana, really embracing ikebana's more salient themes - naturalness, movement, balance and simplicity. 

Images sourced from @studiomondine

Where did ikebana come from and what is it?

The art of "Ikebana" dates back from the 6th Century, when Buddism was introduced to Japan from China and Korea, and floral offerings to Buddha were placed on temple altars.

There are many different schools of ikebana with varied principles, some more complex than others. Some are more formal, and some more casual. While there is a school of thought that there are rules around ikebana, strictly speaking,  fundamentally, the overall principle of ikebana is minimalism, with natural and graceful lines, or "bringing life to the flower".

Our interpretation of ikebana

Personally, I find this style of floristry so refreshing and special. What I love about it is that rather than throwing huge amounts of flowers, together and enmasse, it allows you to celebrate the beauty of the singular flower, it's shape, colour, and overall the beauty of what nature can provide. Literally bringing it to life.

I was first drawn to this style when I decided not to use floral foam any more in our arrangements, and bought my first floral kenzans, or "frogs". It opened up a huge new way of arranging, that I really enjoyed, and in so many other different vessels we hadn't used before, including bowls and more shallow vases.

There wasn't the pressure to fill a vase and hid any oasis or negative space, but it became more a way of celebrating each flower on it's own, and let it "do what it tells you to do".

I also love the element of thoughtfulness and emotion in each arrangement.


Traditional elements and principles of Ikebana

The three basic elements of ikebana are line, mass and colour, the way these 3 elements work together, form the principles of ikebana - 

  • Minimalism – To evoke strong feelings without the need for a large number of elements.
  • Asymmetry – Nature is never perfectly symmetrical. 
  • Harmony – Yin-yang principles in design do not necessarily mean symmetry but rather the balance between the different flowers and elements in a composition.
  • Wabi-sabi – Wabi-sabi refers to emotional responses to art or nature. Wabi is associated with melancholy, nostalgia, desolation, and loneliness, and can invoke feelings of compassion and sadness. Sabi is associated with humility, ruggedness, durability, timelessness, and restraint.
  • Ephemeral – Through the use of living, natural materials, Ikebana arrangements are not meant to be permanent but last for a certain period of time. This component is powerful in evoking strong feelings.
  • Spatial dimensions –  The lines of the composition capture and guide the attention of the viewer. Positive and negative space can be carefully manipulated to create aesthetically pleasing elements.
  • Color – Colors are carefully selected to create a unified arrangement. Floral displays can emphasize a single color or use contrasting colors for an element of drama.

For more inspiration and a few tips on creating ikebana arrangements, check out Ikenbana Unbound, written by the talented team at Studio Mondine, available in our online shop.

You can also purchase one of our beautiful Floreat candles, that can be used afterwards for ikebana arrangements.

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