Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Arranging for the Emperor's birthday bash!

Malathi sensei did these lovely arrangements for the annual Emperor's party, hosted by the Japanese Consul at Chennai.

I was privileged to accompany her and watch her work.

Mr and Mrs Minagawa, (the Consul and wife) enjoyed the exhibits. They are so warm, gracious and friendly, that as Malathi sensei says, we do hope they stay on for another term!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The way of the wasp

To be able to "wonder" is a fascinating experience. To me the wasp's home, which is about 2 years old, is one such item. It is on the inner ledge of the drawing room's eastern window, very close to the seat which I usually use. Many a time, when the wasp was busy with its home, my husband would remark that I ought not to sit there, that I will be stung by the wasp and to move away. But I would sit still, more to show him that creatures in nature generally are harmless. The wasp built it day upon day and to me it was a truly wonderful event to see the progress. We do have squirrels entering the house for the same purpose, but they do damage our belongings in search of soft and fibrous material to complete their home, but they too can pick the most unusual places! So we generally close the window at mid-day while we are resting. When I woke up for tea and went to my usual seat, I saw the wasp hovering by the closed window, as I have obstructed her life's mission/ I wait for a while, she buzzes to the northern window; I am foxed and wonder even more as to how she directs herself to the centre of her "site".

Within a week her home stood 6 inches tall, broad at the base and she created 10 perfectly circular windows, spaces so aesthetically. I looked at her meticulous design, location and such perfect architecture! Till today no cracks, no crumbling. With what did she glue up the sand, brought in by thousands of trips, so single-handed? I have been watching this "home" every morning. It makes my day full of inspiration and motivation. I am afraid none of you have seen it, I have kept it as a personal secret, tucked away behind the window drapes.

Now, the time has come for me to share it with all of you, as I will be away at Bangalore, and I am afraid, the painters working at our home may not heed my request to leave it alone, for you know, the hands keep on changing. With these pictures, I hope I have passed on my "wonder" to all of you, as I have been truly humbled by the wasp's dexterity, perseverance and perfection.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Celebration time!

Prerana's handwork

Celebrations all around. There was deepavali, which meant friends, family and food!

The Sogetsu Group met at Prerana's just before the Deepavali weekend, and we were greeted with this lovely floor decoration by her. (Venkatesh almost sat on it, but that's another story!)

The DVD of the felicitation function of Veena Dass at Delhi had arrived and we all watched and commented and critiqued and appreciated everything, so there was a lot of noise all through the session.

In the midst of this, some Ikebana was also done. Prerana had done a combination vase arrangement, using seven kinds of material, with a tone of brown/rust. With some corrections from the sensei, it ended up looking fabulous, but of course before I got down to taking a picture, (I was busy chattering away, you see), it got knocked a bit, and so sadly I dont have a record of it.

I quickly made sure I took pictures of these arrangements, though!


Another celebration has been the golden wedding anniversary of our sensei, and what better way to say it than with flowers!!

A lovely bouquet arrived at her doorstep, courtesy all the Group members, and she was inundated with phone calls and messages.
It was an unusual day for the "anniversary couple", as he had to go off to the dentist and was restricted to soft food, and she had to supervise the painters, carpenters and other workers, who are currently working in their home!!

We all pray for their good health and long life, and many more years of togetherness, and may sensei Malathi continue to guide us all though our Ikebana learnings!

The next meeting at Meenu's, where we celebrate her new teacher's certification!

What did I say, celebrations all around isn't it?!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lan Minagawa talks about Ikebana to Indian Express!

All pictures from the original article.

The little arrangements of exotic flowers have a method and mentality behind it Ikebana is a form in which nature and humanity are brought on the same platform

THE Japanese art of flower arrangeC ment is catching up, with a lot of Chennaiites. Many women are learning this beautiful art form. This is not a simple flower arrangement in a vase, it's more about a form in which nature and humanity are brought on the same platform.
Shape and form are important while arranging the flowers to bring out the essence of the arrangement.

Stems and leaves are necessary to give the organic feel. "I didn't learn from a school, I learnt ikebana from books," says Lan Minagawa, the wife of the Japanese Consul General in Chennai. She shares that General in Chennai. She shares that she loves "Making ikebanas at home, when expecting guests."
Along with flowers from her garden, Lan gets her flowers from Amethyst as well. She prefers the Moribana form and uses kenzan or pin holders. "In the summer, my arrangements are such that the water used, can be seen. It gives a cooling effect," she says. Along with the flowers and stalks, water, pin holders and stones are required to make the ikebana.

Ikebana making classes: Sogetsu School-24914886, Ohara School of Ikebana -22266147

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

September workshop report!

The Urali displaying colourful symmetry

Hello all!

After the team went off to Delhi and returned excited, happy and with renewed creativity, things have been quiet around the Sogetsu Chennai team.

It was time for the September workshop to be hosted by Seethalakshmi, and what a treat it was! A gracious hostess with a lovely home, an innovative demonstration by Vaishali, gorgeous freestyle arrangements by others (except me!), and of course a super lunch!!

Unfortunately, (ok dont yell), I forgot my trusted digicam, and had to rely on my phone cam. From next time, will somebody remind me the previous day to take my camera please?! So, my apologies to Molly and Chitra. Their other arrangements I have not photographed.

As we entered Seetha's home, after negotiating the various "No Entry" and "No Right Turn" boards along the way, we immediately spied lovely granite vases as well as beautiful arrangements.

Another granite vase!

Yet another granite vase! Its beautiful colours complemented with this 7-material arrangement by Chitra
Then it was time for Vaishali to begin. Was she nervous? I dont think so, or if she was, she hid it well. It was IIT Zindabad, as the campus gave her unusual material, berries and vine.

Her first arrangement was a shallow, almost like a plate, ceramic vase, in which she used spider lily leaves, in a circular, horizontal fashion, to provide bold strokes moving laterally. balance was provided by an Asia Lily (yellow) going vertical. Unfortunately, I dont have a good picture of this, and so we have to wait for Seetha's pictures to reach me.

Then, Vaishali set to work on her steel containers, purchased at Delhi. The pedalanthus leaves had lovely flowing lines, and the jerberas provided the colour.

The pictures do not do justice to the arrangement - I should have placed them on a plain background, and then taken the picture. Sorry, Vaishali! Next time!

She finished with this innovative use of discarded "yelaneer"!! The holes in the coconut were used as receptacles for material, and it was a no-kenzan arrangement, with the white and green Anthuriums complementing the composition beautifully!

Gorgeous browns in Prerana's new vase
Molly had brought her mother's antique cake tin to experiment with. You can see her working on it, in the background of the picture below, though I do not have a picture of the arrangement itself.

That was most enjoyable Vaishali! Thank You.

Congratulations to Meenu on her teacher's certificate, and Shoba for getting her first degree!

And thank you Seetha for the fabulous lunch!! Mmmm...I am still dreaming of those potato chips!

Next workshop date set for Oct 12th. Be there, all!
And yours truly also better do some Ikebana next time!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Lotus series

The Zen-Images Ikebana Blog

Baiko has posted a series of four arrangements using Lotus. Please click on the link and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Akane Teshigahara's Work for August 2009

Iemoto Akane describes her work...
"There's something fascinating about the color white that's able to draw out a diverse range of possibilities. Cute blue dots are interspersed over the white glass vase while floral colors are scattered around the white background. Together, they aim to create a harmonious closeness between the vase and flowers."

Moth orchid, Prairie gentian, Chrysanthemum, Sunflower, Alstroemeria
Ceramic vase - 22×33×46cm

Courtesy : http://www.sogetsu.or.jp/english/exhibition/index.html

Thursday, August 6, 2009

An Amazing story and some more pics...

I love berries in ikebana. And so I like this arrangement because of the lovely "Karaunda" berries used here. They are the sour ones that make awesome pickles we find in Northern India. They are pinkish-redish-white in colour!!

There is a very interesting and amazing story behind this picture. In this picture, you see Mrs Veena Das showing "Two". Actually she was narrating this incident to me -There was this man who was heavily addicted to drugs for Two years! He couldnt kick the habit, though he wanted to. Someone directed him to Mrs Dass. He then took Ikebana lessons. Unbelievable, but true, through the magic of flowers and the power of the beautiful art of Ikebana, this man totally gave up his addiction to drugs!! Wow! I mean WOW !!!!!!! Nothing more to be said !!! I was speechless!!

Well, I had missed out some pics from the first album on facebook. So here is another link. Just click this line and you can see the 40+ pics also!! Enjoy!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Some more arrangements from "Celebrations"

Senpei Veena Dass Created a big arrangement. It was titled "Seasons". It was done on a square platform. In the centre were green Bamboo Poles. Around it, on the four sides, each season was depicted. It was difficult to get the whole work in one photograph. So I have taken the 4 of them separately. Here it is for you!

This is "Spring" with the lillies and other flowers in full bloom

This one is "Summer" - The warmth is felt through the flowers used here

"Autumn" was evident from the brown, yellow and orange colours of Thistle and Bird of paradise and from the Citrine Fruits !!

And "Winter" from the white, the pine branches and the soothing blue and violet colours!!
The work that you see below is a "Rikka Shimputai" of the Ikenobo School of Ikebana. This is the work of Mr Vivek Rao from Bangalore.

This work by Mrs Indu Punj was titled "Contentment" or "Commitment" - (Sorry I dont remember which one).

And this one a beautiful "Dancing Peacock" by Ms Savita Grover!!

These two Red Glass vases were big. I liked them very much. They were such a presence :)

Also, these combination Leaf-like vases were very interesting. The arrangement was by one Ms Ritika, if my memory is right. (Correct me if I am wrong).

Monday, August 3, 2009

Some of the arrangements.........

Here, I would like to post pictures of some arrangements that I liked. Only a few of the many.

This one is by Mrs Indu Punj. I like it so much for the gorgeous Chinese Peonies. I wonder whether they are available in India! Mrs Punj brought them from London a couple of days before the exhibition. They are so beautiful and fragrant too. She has combined Ixora branches, some vines and dracena leaves also - (sorry if I am wrong)

This arrangement was liked by all, I am sure. The colour, the lines and the harmony is very striking. I dont remember the name of the artist. You can enlarge the pic and see if you wish.

This simple but lovely arrangement is by Avni Chug.

This is a "Rikka Shofutai" arrangement by Mr Vivek Rao of Bangalore. This a classical Ikenobo School Arrangement. I am sure everyone can make out the difference. This style of Ikebana is more than 500 years old, Mr Rao told me!! Wow!

This is an Ohara School style Landscaping by Mrs Rahmatullah. This senior Ikebana member from Mumbai and had come for the exhibition on a wheel chair - She lost one of her legs recently! Whoa! Thats some spirit! Some Dedication!! These two pictures form one single work. This large work was spread over a big table!

Life comes a full circle in Mrs Indu Punj's "Fulfilment". I like it for the theme and depiction. Some bright yello orcids and greens on the top right signifying her childhood, the asia lilies for the youth, the strong wood and other flowers for her mature years and to the left top dried bamboo for the old age where there is nothing more to achieve! There is only peace. Contenment. Fulfilment !!!!

This gorgeous natural arrangement is by Mrs Kanta Bukhari! The pond scene created using Bullrushes, Lilies, reeds and Driftwood in a Japanese golden disc-like vase was magnificient!! Bullrush is my most favourite material - I know you all know :) The lily had an unsual pink colour, I thought it is an artificial flower. Mrs Bukhari later told me it is from her garden!

And people, before I sign off Here is one lovely arrangement from Mrs Ahluwalliah (did i spell it right? sorry, if i didnt). Absolutely gorgeous. Simple but gorgeous. The blue vase is from New York and looked like paper strips folded. She has created the amazing space with Kiwi Fruit Vines and added the flowers (sorry i cant recollect the name) for colour in a beautiful way. All of us liked this very much!!!
Please click this line to see all the other pictures of the exhibition
And please do write your comments on this blog - whover is reading!! Thanks

Part 5 - The day after the exhibition

I am as relaxed and a bit lazy even to write today - as much as I was the morning after the exhibition.. The most important job over, we were all free in the mind. By 11.00am we had to be at Mrs Veena Das's residence for a Coffee Morning. We reached in time. The other guests had started to arrive. We were given a warm welcome by the graceful Mrs Dass. I couldnt take my eyes off the huge Tanjavur Painting of Subrahmanya-Valli-Devayani that adorned the walls.! And there were many Ravi Varma prints of Lakshmi & Saraswathi!!!

The heads of chapters who had come from outside Delhi spoke on the occasion. Mrs Dass was congratulated for organising this exhibition. Mrs Indu Punj touched everyone's heart by reading out the words that came straight from her heart! She woke up at 3.00 am and wrote those beautiful words. She spoke about all the lovely years they worked as a team. And about the dedication of Mrs Dass to Ikebana. Mrs Veena Dass spoke about the remarkable support Mrs Indu Punj and Mrs Uma Sharma gave her in planning and organising the event. She also thanked the entire team for all the help and support, without which the whole event would not have been possible.

Tea was served. It was a sumptuous feast :) It should have been called lunch! Sorry, I find it difficult to describe the unmatching hospitality of Mrs Veena Dass. All I can say is that she is one amazing & great lady!! Thank you Ma'am for everything! We left around 1.30 in the afternoon. We headed off for some shopping.

We picked up some nice vases from the Art D'INox at Khan Market. For example these cute steel vases with crows on them that Dally picked up..!
Here I must give a million thanks to Meenu for taking us around the trip, never bothering about her badly hurt leg!!! We wish you a very speedy recovery Meenu! We had time just enough to come back to our rooms, freshen up and change and head for Dr. Kusum Ansal's residence for evening tea. There also we were treated to a huge feast! Thank you very much Mrs Ansal for your tremendous hospitality!

Malathi Sensei wanted to see the house of her teacher Mrs Uma Rao and also the house where she lived in Jhor Bagh! I took a picture of Mrs Uma Rao's previous residence from the car. The watchmen got suspicious on the camera flash and came running to us. We had to explain to them what was happening :) However, I heard that the watchmen at the Jhor Bagh residence were very friendly and Sensi took some nice pictures. She might have felt very nostalgic, I can say! I wasnt there because a frined of mine who went to school with me was coming to meet me. We were meeting after 25 years!!! Yes, a quarter century!!!!! We had a great time having dinner. I came back at about 11.00 pm. And started to pack all the remaining flowers into one box. Then every pin holder, cutter, the masala box and my own suitacase... Wondering whether we would be fortunate to have Drama-At-The-Airport which we so much missed on our onward journey!! I hit the pillow at about 1.45 am only to be woken up at 3.30am... By 5.00 am we were all out and in the car!! We said our bye-bye to IIC and were at the airport at 6.00. Again, to our disappointment nothing happened. All our bags were through, just like that. And no excess Baggage .. Phew!!! The flight was delayed by about 40 minutes.

It was great fun to have Prerana onboard. She was dropping joke-bombs and Vaishali and I started screaming. Sorry, I cannot put all those things on the blog. YOu will have to call me or message me :)

Landed safely at 10.40 and headed for our respective homes. Malathi Sensei was so sweet, she agreed for a lesson at 3.00 in the afternoon. Thats a great gesture, isnt it? I completed my Book 3 that day, though we were all tired. It was a very nice trip. Many nice memories.. We missed Ambika, Molly, Trishala, Chitra and Seetha. Well, there will always be a next time.

It was a very good learning experience for all of us. I close my report here, thanking each one of our team for the great time. Especally both the Senseis. And to all the people at Delhi for the great opportunity. Bye for the moment.