Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Japanese Emperor visits Chennai

Arrangement at the Ballroom of the Taj Coromandel on the occasion of the 80th birthday of the Emperor - by Malathi sensei
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko were in Japan last week, and sensei Malathi had the privilege and honour of being introduced to them on Dec 5th.

Here is her impressions of the meeting and the build up.

I had the privelege of interacting with their Imperial Majesties of Japan, Emperor Akhito and Empress Michiko at Taj on 5th December at 6.30 pm. I received an e-mail informing me that Mr. Krisnaswamy, Mr. Ranganathan, Sherry and I have been chosen to meet their Imperial Majesties and that there would be a Rehearsal to be announced later.

At the rehearsal, we were briefed about their Majesties by the ambassador of Japan to Dhaka, who is well versed with the South Asian culture and people. We were taken to the 'Chambers lounge' and were told that the Consulate in Chennai had already sent our biodata to the Imperial office at Tokyo and their Majesties have already read them and that we need not ask any questions of them, but they will ask for which we reply. 

We were shown how to bow before them, and also from where they will enter and where we stand to meet them. It was a serious reheasal, as our instructors played the role of their Majesties and the Consul General and did the introduction, and we answered in Japanese or in English. At that time we were also told that both of them speak excellent English and His Majesty has a fantastic memory. 

The order of our introduction was Mr. Krishnaswamy,  Mr. Ranganathan, then I and finally Sherry. The actual event took place exactly as per rehearsal, I was asked to be in traditional attire, (it made me self-conscious, a bit).  I did a 'namaste' with folded hands, but His Majesty extended his hand and we shook hands and gave such a broad smile, as if we had known each other for a long time. Her Majesty asked me how long I have studied ikebana, and how long have I been teaching. She then thanked me for the work I have been doing for the Consulate and very gracefully, gently requested me to continue doing so and finally thanked me once again. 

It was indeed a rare experience, to meet such charm and grace. 

Subsequent to this, we had the annual National Day celebrations of the Emperor's birthday on Dec 12th at the Taj once again, for which Malathi sensei chose the four triangle vases of the Sogetsu school, and created a wide, colourful and cheerful composition in the entry foyer.  The yellow chrysanthemum is very significant  for the Japanese royal family, and these were the focal point in a composition of chrysanthemums, ixora branches, baby's breath and boxwood.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Surface and Mass workshop

Sensei Molly demonstrating

Our November workshop was held at the Defence Officers' Club on November 12th.  The venue was a welcome change, set amidst a green oasis, tucked away in the military cantonment part of the city.

The hall was comfortable and well laid out
for us, with demonstration table, workshop tables, chairs and water.  Our member Nirmala Sunderam had booked the premises. As members were trooping in one by one the workshop got started

14 members were present.  Member introductions were carried out for Prerana and Molly.

Sensei Molly presented the theme "Surface and Mass", with two arrangements using homegrown material.
The first arrangement

While her first arragement used a cane "mat" as a vase, the second one was with a ceramic "compote".    She used lovely caladium leaves from her garden to emphasisize surface.

Caladium leaves, to show surface
Another view of the same arrangement
Members also participated in a workshop, interpreting surface and mass in many ways.
Divya used Asia lilies

Prerana balanced the surface of her palm leaf with the chrysanthemums

Kalpana used intertwined leaves for "mass" with the candlebush flower

Meenu used the surace of the banana leaf, dramatically

Janaki used our Indian garland of chrysanthemums, which she bunched together to create the effect of a mass

Another view
Trishala used chrysanthemums against the heliconia leaves
All in all, a chrysanthemum filled workshop!

Molly not only did the demonstration, but had made an eggless cake and very good 'murukku' which vanished in a jiffy, so also Nirmala's 'thayir vada' and Kalpana's Karachi cookies. Hot tea ended the

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Oct workshop report

Janaki receiving her cerificate
We had an eventful meeting in October.  It was well attended by some seventeen members.  Venkatesh, a rare bird joined us from Mumbai.

We missed Pushkala who was unable to come.

Meenu sensei first gave a detailed description of the Delhi trip.  The exhibition was very impressive and our members had a wonderful trip, which was a bit rushed, but enjoyable indeed.  The pictures are up on Flickr via a link

Malathi sensei then gave away the student certificates to Janaki Trishala and Prerana.

We were introduced to the very talented Padma sensei, formally, as Malathi sensei proceeded with her methodical introduction of all members.  

Trishala gets her certificate

And Prerana too
We then had an interesting slideshow from our member Chitra on Lines and Colours in Interior Design.

There was an active discussion on how these principles apply to Ikebana as well.
The topic of Chitra's slideshow
Chitra explains the difference to mood that vertical lines and horizontal lines as also curves bring
Ambika then looked to demonstrate the same concepts through Ikebana.

Ambika's first arrangement with the backdrop of the presentation
The second arrangement to show colour and mass and how it can change a spacc. 
The first piece again
We then went off to have a nice lunch at Eden, filled with laughter and friendship, and where Meenu was missed, as she could not make it to the lunch.

Delhi Exhibition 2013 - a set on Flickr

Delhi Exhibition 2013 - a set on Flickr

More pictures from the cameras of Malathi sensei and Chelvi.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Delhi exhibition - more photos

Thank you Chelvi for the photos via Meenu!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Taking part in the Delhi Sogetsu exhibition

At the opening ceremony

The Chennai Study Group members who took part in the exhibition
Sensei Molly with her arrangement
Chelvi and her basket arrangement
Sensei Vaishali stand with her creation
Sensei Dally and her arrangement

We are awaiting more pictures of sensei Meenu and Pushkala's work!  It will be posted as soon as it is received.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

September fruits

Sensei Meenu demonstrates morimono
18th Sept

Our 200th blog post and we celebrate with fruits, Sogetsu style.

We had a good turnout at the September workshop at ABK-AOTS Dosokai, but disappointingly, only a few of the participants tried their hand at arranging fruits the Ikebana way.

Sensei Meenu used pineapple for mass, and the apple indeed added colour to her fruit plate.

Sensei Meenu's arrangement
Sensei Molly's summer harvest, complemented with the periwinkle
Chitra experimented with using the pumpkin as a container
Janaki used banana flowers as her main lines
Apples in a row By Kalpana
A large contingent also attended and took part in the Delhi Sogetsu annual exhibition, and details will be up soon, where Chennai Study Group interpreted "Peace".

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Ashoka and Venky

These are from our annual exhibition. the two men in our group have still not given me their freedback, so I am now publishing them without the artist's comments!
By Ashoka

By Ashoka - glass container

By Venkatesh



Interview: Ikebana Master Akane Teshigahara | BK Magazine Online

Interview: Ikebana Master Akane Teshigahara | BK Magazine Online

Akane Teshigahara has been called the rock star of ikebana, the Japanese floral art which is said to bring together nature and humanity. Here, she talks to us ahead of her new installation to mark HM Queen Sirikit's birthday (Aug 2-13).
How did you first get into ikebana?
When I was six years old, I began learning under my aunt, Kasumi Teshigahara, who was the second generation iemoto (headmaster) of the Sogetsu school of floral art. And I've continued to learn ever since.
What is the core concept of ikebana?
At the heart of ikebana is an expression of peace and serenity through the life power which is hidden inside plants. It is my wish to send good spirits, smiles, and joy through ikebana.
Do you have any tips on how to appreciate ikebana?
There are no rules for appreciating ikebana. There is no prejudice or judgment in appreciation. Through ikebana, though, the emotions and feelings of the floral artist are reflected quite directly. Even when the same plant is used, it can be represented in many ways according to the artist's essence. Personally, I would encourage you to simply enjoy the variety of expression.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I believe the art of ikebana is born from the environment and space in which it's made. So, I try to put myself in the place as much as possible, to be conscious of the presence of humans, air and light, and I transfuse that into my work.
How would you describe your style?
I tend not to verbalize my work too much. I think different people might perceive it in different ways.
Can you tell us more about this new floral installation at The Emporium?
Bamboo, which I use as the main material for this installation, possesses a very strong life force. In Japan, it is used for auspicious occasions. It also has the potential for a wide variety of expressions. Strength, delicacy, elegance, and dynamism—these are exactly the same traits as the mother of the Thai Kingdom, HM Queen Sirikit. In Japan's winter, the bamboo stands without breaking or splitting under the weight of deep snow. It stands strong with the coming of spring, too.
What do you hope to achieve in the future?
My grandfather Sofu Teshigahara, who pioneered the Sogetsu art school, said, "Ikebana is the art of peace." I think that in ikebana there is a power potent enough to blur religions and borders, and convey a peaceful feeling to people all around the world. I wish to continue in ikebana, for any chance that it might lift the suffering of people.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

July - meeting after the summer break

The Chennai Study group got together after the summer, with joyous hugs and raised voices!  Many of us had not seen each other for a coulpe of months.

Pushkala, our member from the academic world, regaled us with her experiences on her first trip to Europe, where she picked up these beautiful vases, which you see below.

Sensei Vaishali then demonstrated in one of the vases, showing how a crack can be skillfully hidden.

The last item on the agenda was the awarding of teacher's certificate to Dalley.
Vaishali demonstrates
Pushkala talks about her trip and the tulips!
The dramtic effect of adding the wire!
Congratulations Dalley!

Dalley will give her firat demonstration as a teacher, sometime over the next couple of months. The ladies are all set to go to Delhi to take part in the Delhi chapter's annual show in September.