Monday, December 5, 2016

Celebrating the Emperor's birthday with Ikebana

The celebratory arrangement done by Malathi sensei on Dec 1st, on the occasion of the Emperor's birthday.  Chrysanthemums, so dear to the Japanese, are combined with Ixora, in a traditional Indian urali.  She was assisted by sensei Prerana.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Exploring Miniature Ikebana with sensei Prerana - November workshop

November 17th 2016

Sensei Janaki reports: 

The November 2016 demo and workshop in the ABK premises was well attended, with 12 members present. The theme of the day was miniature arrangements. 


Sensei Malathi  mentioned that miniature style was a favourite of Kasumi Teshigahara. It is a very personal style, from the heart and ideal for personal spaces like dressing tables, desks and so on.

Sensei Prerana  gave a demo on Miniatures and shared her experience of attending a class with Mr. Christopher Lim in Singapore earlier this year. She said that was her first exposure to miniatures, and enabled her to gain a proper understanding of this. 
The key points are that the container should be small enough to fit into one’s palm, and the materials used should not be overpowering. It should be possible to make the same arrangement on a larger scale.


Sensei Prerana did ten arrangements with a variety of vases and flowers, each one a beauty to behold and conveying her energy and creativity. Her vibrant narrative and efficient work kept us engrossed, like a drama unfolding on stage.



A brass cup with coloured stones serve as a base for this piece
Prerana used the materials to maximum effect and created a spectrum of styles from shy, delicate to bold and energetic.
A dash of pink and green shows the hope of spring
Sensei Prerana created a breezy, outdoor effect with the yellow ceramic dish,  fresh greens and gypsophilia
Sensei Prerana used a single red anthurium to add colour to the aesthetic vase and base that were beautiful on thier own.
Another striking piece by Prerana sensei
The bright yellow chrysanthemum with curled palm leaf and gypsophilia was her choice for this timeless ceramic vase
The perfect miniature, using a diya and a single flower with a tiny wooden base.
Trimmed draceana leaves echo the light violet chrysanthemums in a black ceramic vase
Wooden chopsticks glued together formed a delicate lattice for this piece  with just a single chrysanthemum for colour


The workshop on the same theme was equally engaging and everyone presented unique and appealing pieces. The air of seriousness was akin to an exam and at the end, a joy to see the completed miniatures. The variety of vases and other objects deftly used as containers was an eye opener. 



A dainty glass vase with pretty pink antigonon heightened the effect of this piece by Chelvi



Bhuvana used a palm to symbolise a peacock, and her second piece was in a small urali

Chelvi used a brass shell to advantage with just a couple of blue daisies

Chitra Thiagarajan used pieces from a tea set that were ideal for the workshop theme


Dessert cups with artistically curled leaves and yellow roses that perked up the composition by Divya

Divya chose a tiny pomogranate from her garden for this composition in a blue-green ceramic vase.

Malathi sensei used twin ceramic vases that stood out with ixora leaves, berries and a hint of lavender.

Sensei Molly used a white soup bowl with dianthus, tulasi leaves and Chinese bamboo for refreshing look

Pink zerbera was a  perfect choice for  Roopa, to go with this black vase, with a single green leaf and gypsophilia.

Shylaja offset the deep blue vases with yellow chrysanthemums and blue daisies, with touches of green

Sensei Trishala created  a fairytale effect with pretty colours and a unique woven coffee pot that reminds her of relaxed mornings with hot  coffee.  Minimal use of materials highlight the vases.



Sensei Trishala

The small kettle - sensei Trishala

Another one by Chelvi

Another one by Roopa
Bhuvana's minature, up close
sensei Janaki's trio of miniatures

Another one by Divya

Chelvi experimented with a candlestick holder and cassia flowers.....

..... and a small fruit bowl,

...as well as these coffee cups with complementary colours.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Montessori school workshop

Sensei Janaki has begun a Ikebana workshop for children, and here is her account of it.  The workshop started on October and will go on until December.


"A casual mention that I am an Ikebana teacher got the attention of my dear friend Mrs. Bhavani Kumar who runs Patasala Montessori School in Chennai.  She had been looking for someone to conduct floral based activities for children and thought introducing children to Ikebana would fit the bill.

The "kit"
This program is part of a series of life skill workshops that encourage the work of the hand. As Maria  Montessori said: "The hand is the tool for intelligence". These workshops usually involve learning skills that are useful in daily life. The school invites passionate resource people to come in and share their expertise. In the end the children absorb more of the passion and inspiration than the techniques themselves.

A couple of months of planning and preparation and the workshop took off on October 21, 2016, with seven students of age 7 to 10 years. It is spread over eight sessions, every Friday from 1 to 2.30 pm. The children have their own complete kit of suiban, a small vase, cutters, floral foam, a bowl, water tubes, napkin, and a cane basket to keep all the things in, besides introductory notes.

The highly interactive workshop includes an introduction to Ikebana, basic upright and slanting styles as well as lessons on using different containers and material, and for festive occasions. Each session comprises a demo of the day’s lesson; children will then do a piece on their own and record their observations either in writing or drawings. The concluding session will see children making their own piece independently and open to parents to view them.

The students’ curiosity, quick perception and learning skills are amazing.  Even as I began on my piece, they observed that the stems formed a triangle at the base as well as at the top. The calmness and natural look of the piece appealed to them, and even said it resembles a pond and colourful plate of food –think Masterchef!

The joy with which they participate is infectious and inspiring. Many thanks to Bhavani and the school for this opportunity.  Looking forward to many more such events and many thanks to Malathi sensei and all my Ikebana friends for their guidance and support."









Sunday, October 16, 2016

A factory visit!

October 15th

 Our October meeting, just before Deepavali, was an interesting one. No flowers, but a workshop on something sweet! Our member sensei Trishala arranged for us to visit their food factory., Megafoods, in the Ambattur Industrial estate.


The fruits - papaya, guava, black grapes, apples, bananas and pears - had been bought, washed, cut and pureed, in order to save time.

Twelve members were present, (as also young Shivani, who kept us all entertained!), and after a briefing by Mr Amit Vaishnav on the processes, controls and quality checks required for a food unit, we were taken down to the unit, to see a small batch of mixed fruit jam and eggless mayonnaise be prepared.
Members with our hairnet caps!

The small size of the batch meant that the heating was done on a regular gas stove, and not
in one of the larger steel cauldrons that lined the room.

Mr Vaishnav explaining the ingredients - pectin, sugar, citric acid, colouring and
flavouring that goes into the jam.
As the fruit puree bubbled and boiled, we moved to the mixer/grinder where the mayo preparation was beginning.

The eggless mayo uses milk protein instead, and while all the dry ingredients are first given
a mix with water, the oil is added in a steady stream as the mixer blends, in order to give the consistency. 

The finished jam is actually liquid while hot, and only attains the "jam" consistency on cooling to
 room temperature.
It is therefore easy to pour and bottle.  For larger batches, there is a mechanised bottling line as well.

Pepper mayo, bottled and ready for us!


And the mixed fruit jam as well!
After a sumptuous lunch hosted by our gracious hosts, we returned to the factory, as the members had ordered various other sauces, jams, squashes and pickles to try!

It was late afternoon by the time we all departed, a morning well spent!

Our sincere thanks to Trishala and Amit for organising this and answering our innumerable questions, patiently!

A Happy Deepavali to all!

A wonderful afternoon with Mr and Mrs Minagawa


October 1st 2016.

Mr Minagawa and Mrs Lan Minagawa were on a personal visit to Chennai, and the Study Group were happy to meet them over lunch.  Friends of Ikebana and the Study Group during their stint at the Chennai Consulate, we have warm and happy memories of them, and it was good to renew our friendship.

The afternoon was marked by smiles, laughter and warm exchanges.  Friendship through flowers, indeed!

An award for Malathi sensei!



The Chennai Sogetsu Study Group was delighted to learn that our Chairperson Sensei Malathi will be honoured by Iemoto Akane with the Overseas Award, at the Ceremony to coincide with the 90th anniversary celebrations of the school, in April 2017!