Sunday, March 13, 2016

Day 2 - Iemoto Akane's workshop

Feb 27th Saturday

Well rested, and after a hearty breakfast at the IIC, we headed to the workshop room for the Iemoto workshop.

There was a buzz of anticipation and excitement as we all picked a flower bunch, and chose where to sit based on the vase available.

While the local senseis from Delhi brought their own vases and material, most of the teachers from Bengaluru, Mumbai and Chennai picked up the material from the bunches available at Rs 300 per bunch.  The Delhi chapter had also helpfully organised cutters and kenzans for those who needed it.

The theme for the workshop was "The power to go within, the power for externals."  We had been told that we should use our imagination on how to interpret this theme.

Iemoto Akane arrived bang on time, and with the help of her translator, demonstrated two compositions - one for power to go within and one where she expressed her power for externals.

The deftness and grace of her  movements as she cut her materials under water were in itself a learning. She used the vases made by one of the members of the Delhi chapter who is a ceramic designer.

This first composition with inward looking lilies.  She coaxed yellow calla lily stems with a soft touch to bend down and inwards at beautiful angles, and shared with us the right technique for bending—elbows held close to the body and both palms used to gently bend the stem or branch.  The green and yellow of  the flowers and stems added a fresh dimension to the earthy container.

A single red and green anthurium provided just the right colour accent and before we could say “Ikebana” the piece was complete. The participants were very appreciative of her skill and speed.

The next arrangement reflected the theme “Power for externals” and used a creamy white jug-like container with a lovely sheen to it, akin to mother of pearl. 

The focal point was a dried driftwood log in a unique shape. Bright orange strelitzia (bird of paradise) soared upward,  straight and tall, and curved red reeds placed in between gave even more height to the arrangement. 

The participants watched in awe and admiration at the simplicity, minimal use of materials to the maximum effect, and the speed at which the pieces were arranged. 

The gaze naturally moved upward from the vase to the tall stems and reeds.

Her second composition, moving externally
We were given an hour to work, and then the Ieomoto went around appreciating and commenting on all the creations.

Highlighted in this piece are the compositions of our study group members.

Sensei Malathi - "I explained to Iemoto that in my work I am always inspired by Nature.  Here also, nature is the external power for me to be strong within.  The ascending lines of the chrysanthemums are the life force that nurtures the power within me which is represented by the red anthuriums."

Sensei Prerana - "Power to go within - for the workshop I used miniature White chrysanthemums, red anthuriums and a green branch which I think was a fern. I related my round brown container to my mother's womb, the white flowers to innocent emotions as a child.  The red flowers as I grew older as my stronger emotions and the green branch as my shin to denote I was open to learning.  As I do not know what the future holds for me.  Iemoto responded saying it was a beautiful journey of life! "

Sensei Meenu - "The tall stems are the strength of my family.. which give me the power via the dressina to the heart and soul "

Sensei Dalley - The power to go within
By Janaki
Janaki wonderfully and evocatively recounts her experience:
Having observed the maestro at work, the theme seemed simple enough to translate into an arrangement, and I had decided to wait till the last minute to get some ideas. I chose a whitish moribana as I was sure of one thing—I wanted to use two kenzan. I had been fascinated by this technique in class, as this gave a chance to showcase every material to its maximum advantage.
The bunch of flowers and greens I had were beautiful white Asian lilies with many buds, white chrysanthemums, dracaena and some leaves I had never seen before. I felt like a school girl who is thrilled to get a question paper to which she knows the answers well! Again, some of my best pieces in class had featured lilies.
I chose the theme “Power within” as I wanted to show that I had great inner strength, though at times I did give in to doubts and despair. At such times I always knew that I could turn to a greater, more powerful source for courage and motivation—God, guru or any person who had faced tough times with grace and conviction. A tall, full-bloomed lily represented this, and I had trimmed all the leaves except one on the stem. It was anchored by a short stem of dracaena at the base, also similar to flower in full bloom. A single stem of chrysanthemum reached out to me from the back, reassuring and gentle.
There I was on the right side, a half bloomed lily and many buds, and a barely visible thin stem of chrysanthemum wandering away—my doubts, fears and everything that shook my strength. The buds looked up to the tall open lily to the left. A short stem of chrysanthemums at the base showed that I was anchored to reality after all, and rejoiced in finding my inner strength again.
A single white lily at the base had a few brown spots and a broken petal, and I used this to convey the generations of wisdom that guided me gently, unobtrusively—ever present, but not thrust on me.
All along, I could recall every minute detail of every lesson I had taken with Malathi sensei—trimming, lines crossing, showing water, balance! She is like the tall lily, gently guiding, challenging and appreciating my work in class.
Like the school girl, I eagerly waited for Madam Akane to come to my table and surprised myself by being calm as I explained my choice of the theme “Power within”. She listened intently and observed keenly. I emerged with flying colours when she said my arrangement brought out my character well. A big thanks to Malathi sensei for everything.
Sensei Molly recounts - "I Collected the materials i.e. bottle brush branches, red anthurium, white chrysanthemums and the oval Moribana container. With the recent flood havoc in Chennai fresh in my mind, I have selected the theme, 'how to wriggle out of trouble in a smooth way'. Showed 3 slanting lines arising from the base where red anthuriums were kept. White Chrysanthemums stood above anthuriums, represented hope. Iemoto Akane with a smiling face commented that the lines were perfect."

Sensei Ambika - "I chose a nagiere vase because for me, it is easier to be exuberant, outwardly-directed with nagiere.  The strong woody shin line, I imagined as representing the power of wisdom needed in this world, while the complementary Asia Lily bud is the hope and youth.  When the two are In balance, there is harmony and joy, symbolised by the chrysanthemums.  I hope the translator conveyed this to Iemoto Akane, who simply smiled and said well done!"

Iemoto Akane made some closing remarks on her observations that Indian ladies seem to create from a strong spiritual core, and she hopes to take back with her this energy and be inspired in her future work from this.

She advised us to allow the material to flow, and not be stiff, and look to Nature for inspiration.

1 comment:

Jrao said...

Lovely way to keep the workshop alive and refresh our memories of 5 days well spent. Learnt so much. Thanks Ambika