Friday, August 12, 2016

Sogetsu demonstration at ABK event

19th March 2016
Sensei Molly, assisted by Chitra Rajan gave a demonstration of Sogetsu Ikebana, and here is the report by Chitra.

A seminar on culture and society of Japan  was arranged at The Raintree Hotel Anna Salai on 19 Mar 2016 by ABK-AOTS Dosokai, Tamilnadu Centre on behalf of the Japanese Consulate to facilitate social inclusion of differently enable people through cultural exchange . 

Molly Cherian gave a demonstration on behalf of the Sogestu school of Chennai. The demonstration was striking depicting the minimalist classical style of Sogestu Ikebana. Three styles were demonstrated

The audience  which included Japanese Consul General Mr Seiji Baba, Japanese embassy staff, ABK staff and students and  differently enabled persons and students from corporation schools watched with rapt attention and were very appreciative

Sensei Molly with her arrangements - Upright Moribana style using yellow chrysanthemum, and umbrella plant  Cascade style with orchids and jasmine branch, and Freestyle in a tall metal  vase with cockscomb and driftwood without crossbar
There were three exhibits of Sogestu Ikebana  by Molly and one exhibit by Chitra Rajan  as well.
Monstera, white lilies in a tall vase - Sensei Molly

Sensei Molly - Pink and green anthurium on a traditional Japanese container
3. Royal palms, Bromeliad, gypsophilia and chrysanthemum on a traditional brass container

Chitra's arrangement- Twin bamboo containers with colocosia, dracena  and various shades of pink chrysanthemum.

All exhibits were well displayed and appreciated.

Sensei Molly received a memento from the Consul General Mr Seiji Baba .  Mr Ranganathan the Executive Director of ABK conveyed his sincere thanks to Mrs Malathi Pandurang for accommodating his request to demonstrate Sogestu Ikebana in spite of her hectic schedule.

Another highlight of seminar was the Origami exhibition and demonstration by a well known artist Mr Shivaram Ananthanarayan. 

New teachers are quick off the block!

Our new Senseis Divya and Janaki were invited to conduct a workshop for kids.  here is the write-up below.

Gurukulam Trust Children School, Kovalam, Chennai invited us to conduct an Ikebana workshop for some of the students. Participants were boys and girls from classes 5 and 7. This was a part of the International School Awards project, a British Council initiative to promote, among other things,  exposure for children to other countries and cultures, preparing them for a life in global society.

We facilitated the one hour session by briefly outlining the basics of Ikebana.  Divya made an arrangement in the basic upright style, using a black oval suiban and local materials like guava branches for main lines  and temple tree flowers as jushis.

 She encouraged the children to experiment with different materials found in the neighborhood.
Her  idea to use clock hand positions to show the various angles of shin, soe and hikae  was very innovative and children were excited to relate to this.

Janaki demonstrated the basic slanting style using a suiban in shades of beige, with a curved surface.  She used sansiveria for the main lines, gypsophilia and red carnations for jushis.

After photo sessions, the focus shifted to a few children trying their hand at recreating the pieces. They were given additional material like umbrella plant, yellow chrysanthemums and monkey tail ferns. They were able to grasp the basics and were fascinated by the kenzan.

They were told to the try alternatives like sand and coconut fibre to secure the plant material.A couple  of boys used the stems and leaves to create their own miniature models.
It was a very interesting experience working with enthusiastic youngsters.
We thank Mrs. Malathi Pandurang for giving us this opportunity.

The group with the senseis
The Basic Upright and Basic Slanting style were demonstrated to the children, with local greens.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Our July workshop - line and colour

7th July 2016

The Sogetsu Chennai Study Group reassembled after the summer break.  At first, we had the business session.  Malathi sensei handed over the Teachers Certificates to two of our new teachers - Janaki Rao and Divya Selvam.  Congratulations to them, and wishing them a rewarding career in teaching!

The annual reports were also read out - Chitra read out the annual report of the Programs Committee head, and Prerana read out the Finances report.  

We then moved on to the demonstration and workshop.  It was a pleasure to welcome Venkatesh from Mumbai, our Study Group member.

The demonstration by Malathi sensei was on the use of line and colour.
Malathi sensei spoke about her recent visit to Bangalore, where from the eighth floor of her  building, she was able to view the glorious sunrise and sunsets.
The lines of the umbrella plant represented the tall skyscrapers seen in all directions, the Gypsophila were the clouds in her imagination and the colourful jerboas, the sun, as it rose in the sky, turning from red-orange to yellow.  She skilfully worked her theme of line and colour into the composition, in this way.
Continuing on her theme was the second composition with the line framing the eye's  view.
This line and colour theme - the dressing for the plans and coconut trees and the chrysanthemums for the evening sun, moving downwards.
Sensei Prerana used her line to dramatic effect, in this minimalistic composition.
Sensei Ambika, inspired by her recent trip to the Himalayas in Bhutan, worked her chrysanthemum lines into a distinctive structure above, reminiscent of the peaks, far above the clouds and rhododendrons.
Sensei Divya - Vertical lines complimented by the deep colour of the carnations.
Is this Janaki?
Chelvi used a wooden frame and the umbrella plant to provide two contrasting lines, with the chrysanthemums adding the colour.
Artist unknown - ?
Chitra created a tight moribana composition with tall lines adding drama  to the colourful composition below.
Is this Shylaja's work?
Venkatesh - Created a larger space with strong bold angles of the umbrella plant, and chrysanthemums completing the compositions, and adding colour.
Sensei Meenu used wool-entwined twigs, to bring drama nd movement to her composition, with a Gypsophila mass as focus point.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Malathi sensei visits the Bangalore chapter

May 2016

Mrs. Reddy demonstrating Dutch flower arrangements at the Bengaluru Sogetsu Chapter meeting in May this year.

Also present on the Dias Chapter President Mrs. Leela Venkatadri.

Add caption

 Malathi met her teacher Mrs. Uma Rao in Bengaluru, a picture of both of them.

Padma sensei explains the principles of Abstract Art in relation to Ikebana

16th March 2016

Our sensei Mrs Padma Swaminathan conducted the March workshop, where she opened our minds to abstract creations. It was an interesting departure for us all, so used to naturalistic interpretations.

Padma sensei recalled her Japanese teacher's remarks as to how to remove the naturalness from the material and look at it with "fresh" eyes.  That is the secret of good abstract compositions, and they become art, rather than a craft or skill.

Her first composition:  "Fishing i the waters" - Driftwood in a wrought iron stand, with hanging glass marbles

Padma sense's Second composition:  Spring - Jerbera on paper and cardboard

Malathi sensei - umbrella plant and amarylis lily

"Spaceship to Mars" - Prerana sensei

"Birthday" - by Prerana sensei

Bhuvana - the pink bricks and the green reminiscent of a park bench?

Chitra's creation with a dumbbell!

Ambika Sensei - Amarylis, croton and dressina - The dancer

Chelvi - driftwood with Peacock flower

"The tribal chief" - dry seed pods and foam packing mesh without container. Draceana intertwined.White packing mesh at the base.  "It depicts a wise tribal chief (draceana) and his subjects(seed pods)  in a meeting," says Janaki

Artist unknown

Divya Varma echoed the colour and lines of the vase in the material below.

Chitra Rajan worked with Bauhinia in a cardboard container

Sensei Meenu - a black container was converted into a base to give solidity to a bag as container.  Bold red lines on the bag was moved in to the design 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Day 4 - Iemoto Akane demonstrates and we say sayonara

Feb 29th

We were now winding down to the grand finale of the last three days.

We awaited the demonstration by our Iemoto Akane, at the Chinmaya hall, walking distance from the IIC.

Filled with energy, laughter and fellowship, the Chennai Study Group had bonded once again.  We were missing all our other member friends who could not make this trip, and here's hoping these blog posts make them feel that they were there as well.

Mrs Veena Dass welcomed the gathering, and we started a bit late due to the late arrival of Mrs Ansari.  The Ambassador gave a short speech appreciating the efforts of the Sogetsu school to spread Japanese art, and bring understanding between our peoples.

Mrs Ansari also spoke briefly about her encounters with Ikebana.

We started with a short movie from the Sogetsu school about the founding Iemoto Sofu, and the subsequent movements of the school under Kasumi and Hiroshi.  It was a good time to reflect on the history of the school.  Made one wonder as to whether the Delhi chapter could have put together a photo exhibition showcasing their fifty years?

Anyway, we were all set to welcome Iemoto.

Dressed in a lovely kimono, this was a 'different' Iemoto for us! She spoke in Japanese and we understood that all the material and vases were courtesy the Delhi chapter.

Her grace and deft touch were immediately noticeable, as also the perfect coordination and understanding with her team.

The completed arrangement

The containers she used were wonderfully textured, and beautiful pieces in themselves.  The wooden texture of this, she complemented with the variegated dressina, so familiar to all of us from Chennai.

The end result - an all-leaf arrangement that was simple and personal.
Her third composition was in a large bowl

She used the fruit of the fish tail palm for this, creating a mass of lines.

what will she add to this now, we wondered.

Emit explained that she had coe across these ink-stained orchids, and felt that the colours would go so well with the palm pods.

And the bottle brush blooms added the finishing touches.

Always cutting material under water.....

the branches were given a gentle bend with her "elbows close to chest and palms close together on the branch" method of bending.

 The sunflowers  were dipped in salt solution, which she said helps improve their longevity.

This was the arrangement on display.  One suspects that some of the lines have got displaced during moving?

Iemoto seemed to enjoy working on this morimono.  What was new and interesting for us was the manner of fixture of one material to the other - the assistants drilled through the two fruits/vegetables.  Notice how the brinjal and yellow pepper therefore stand in relation to the large green coconut, whilst the little berries maintain their bunch shape.

The colours of this gorgeous vase were matched with these rust branches.  Unfortunately, one did not note down the name of the material.

She added some Larkspur for colour, 

....and this was the end result.  

Ikebana is all about simple expression, and this composition was a beauty.

A floor composition using the large tea making urn of Rajasthan.

the yellow threads that Iemoto saw in the market
fascinated her, and she felt gave it a festive look.

Here was an unusual glass container with beautiful markings, curves and openings.

Emit used curtain creeper to complement the curves in the vase.

...and this was the result

For this composition, Iemoto used lacquered driftwood.

Notice the battery operated drill that the assistant is using to drill a nail to keep the driftwood together, as also the dried palm.

The final composition

The last table arrangement

The assistants would offer her the material she was working with in one hand, while the other held a stalk of the next material.  Depending upon which one she took, the next set of material would be offered.  It was fascinating to see the process of assisting in a demonstration as well.

The Japanese gold threads to celebrate fifty years!

As it finally looked, away from the spotlight.

The stage was then cleared for the final piece, which we realised reflected her piece at the exhibition, in that she used the same rice paper on stalks.  But the materials - dried palm and hydrangeas were different here.  At one point, she moved into the audience, and directed her team from there.

Malathi sensei had this to say, "Akane's Demonstration was too authentic for words. She appeared on the stage in traditional attire. Her medium sized arrangements were executed with ease and refinement. Materials were handled with grace and gentleness and her narration fitted to the piece she was arranging. Both Japanese and Indian moods were seen. For me, the final large arrangement was a depiction of the natural landscape seen on the way to the airport, brown, dark green, light green and now and then the red tulip tree in season. The greens dominated, with a little brown and then a sudden splash of red. The Indian natural landscape was observed in great detail and rendered with much confidence and expertise."

The arrangement all ranged on the steps of the hall.

Sayonara at the Golf Club
A magical setting for our final banquet

The ruins all lit up

With Chris Lim and Deepali Dalmi

Bangles of fellowship!

With Akane  and Veena san

Iemoto presented the chapter heads with calligraphy and her book
The singer sang some golden oldies, and we were in a lovely mellow mood as we made our way back to the coach, after a hearty dinner.

The next day, we returned to Chennai, with some confusions in the airport as our luggage was over weight, having picked up kenzans and other assorted things in Delhi!

A memorable four days indeed for all of us who made the trip.

As the Iemoto said, maybe we will meet again at Tokyo, when Sogetsu celebrates its 90th anniversary next year?!