Friday, January 26, 2018

Using man-made material

January 19th 2018

Our first workshop of 2018, and it was an exciting way to kick off the year!  In keeping with the artistic principles of Sogetsu Ikebana, the challenge was to use only man-made material in our compositions.

Ten members of the Study Group assembled for the workshop.  Sensei Prerana started us off  with a demonstration of the theme, and her four compositions were each different, unique and creative, giving the group many ideas for the future.

Each arrangement was accompanied by an interesting narrative which helped us viewers understand the artist's mind.

As she began her first composition, Sensei Prerana said, "I was visiting a craft exhibition recently and I saw a craftsman making bookmarks with different coloured wires.  A thought struck me that I should use these wires.  I ran the next day and literally cajoled the craftsman to sell a few meters of the wires.  While I was very excited with the material,  I still had no idea what to do with them.  At night about 2pm a thought came.  I got up rolled a piece of wire round a thick rolling pin.  Lo and behold it took the shape of a flower.  Happily went back to sleep!"

An arrangement using a glass vase, a fruit bowl, a wine bottle and hand crafted
flowers made from coloured aluminium wires.  Emphasis on using unconventional material.

Her next piece was with fibre glass sheets and Prerana recounted visiting the hardware store and making him cut it into the shapes that she wanted.

The hardware shopkeeper was nonplussed at her requirements, as there was a lot of wastage and unused bits from the sheet!

She used a ceramic container to give structure to the composition and placed the sheets of various shapes in order to create an abstract composition of geometric shapes.

Fibreglass sheets in an abstract, modern composition.

Titled "Hope", this dramatic composition used the discarded wooden frames from her decoupage craft to signify the waste
and destruction that natural calamities have caused.  In the midst of this desolate scene, hope always arises, signified by the
bottle and its floral design.

"Stolen pleasures of childhood" was the theme of this last composition, with bottles of coloured 'forbidden' drink
and the flowers representing the innocence of childhood. 

Sensei Prerana with her very different and exciting compositions!

It was on to the workshop.

Sensei Padma used woven mats and a fan from Manila to create this composition with drama and movement,
with an upside-down pedestal as base.

Sensei Malathi was inspired by the hardware store,
making use of plastic drain heads for mass, wire for lines and steel
scrubbers as well!

Chelvi titled this as "The confused mind" creating mass and colour with decorative party material

Sensei Molly used painted material on a base of wood to create a table arrangement, with the silk pink flowers
in contrast to the brown and gold.

Sensei Trishala created this elegant composition with festive coloured wires
creating beautiful swirls on lines created by plastic wire.
Sensei Ambika's "Wishing Tree" contrasted
the golden box with the  tall painted  branches
festooned with coloured thread. A small
jewelled button and the golden mesh cloth
softened the sharp line of the box.

Bhuvana used the tray from her oven, with a wine bottle and woven coir
to create dramatic movement.

Sensei Divya created a mass of steel lines to complement her container, with the golden flower and leaf bunch adding
a focal point.
It was an invigorating start to 2018, and whilst we initially wondered how we could work without flowers, it was a challenge well met!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

The challenge of glass containers

December 21st  2017

The last workshop for 2017 was held on December 21st   at ABK Hall, Chennai.  Eight members   were present and Chitra Rajan, who attended the workshop in Delhi by Sensei Yoko Hosono on curriculum updation, shared with us her experiences of Sensei's demo and narratives. She commented how Sensei Hosono noted that simplicity is the key, and one should consider the three lines as representing the materials, the artist and the viewer.

Chitra Rajan sharing her experience of Sensei Yoko Hosono's demo
Thank you Chitra for the crisp and lively presentation.

Sensei Ambika took over the second half of the workshop to present a slide show and demonstrate on the day's theme. A visit to Seattle, USA, is incomplete without a day at the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum. She  had the opportunity to be there and gave  the group a virtual tour through the fascinating world of glass in hundreds of colours and designs. As students and teachers of Ikebana, the series Cylinders and Baskets  was of special interest to observe the colours, shapes and how we could relate to them through Ikebana.  Her experiences can be found here.  

           To know more about Dale Chihuly and his works click here.  

Ambika then gave a demo on the workshop theme, “The Challenge of Glass Containers” to showcase the beauty of this fragile but truly versatile material.

Her first arrangement was with a beautiful yellow-orange glass vase with interesting detail.  This was her reaction to the Chihuly experience

The vase as the inspiration
The glass Iwata vase belongs to her mother, and  reminded Ambika of the Chihuly glass creations.  she contrasted this with the tangled roots of lady's finger plants and complemented the warm colour  with orange heliconia and brown shades of dried hydrangea.  It was a well balanced arrangement adding height and space.

Twists and turns make an eye catching statement

An elegant transparent glass nageire vase was the focus of the second piece. Ambika stressed that the ikebanist  has to ensure  the materials are arranged aesthetically, since whatever is placed in this container will show through the water and glass. Both have to be spotlessly clean and stems inside the vase should also form part of the composition. She  achieved this effortlessly,  creating a striking piece with hosta leaves artistically arranged and purple and white flowers to provide balance

Ambika’s final piece was  a table arrangement wit a Christmas theme in a glass fruit bowl, with red anthuriums, gypsophilia and boxwood leaves to create a simple yet striking piece that looked equally beautiful from all angles. The three pictures give a fair idea of this.

The group then moved on to their arrangements.

Sensei Mrs. Malathi Pandurang used a transparent glass vase for heliconia and dracaena creating dramatic lines. Bundled up dracaena leaves and a hint of gypsophilia provided  artistic tension to the arrangement.

Simple elegance of white and green in a transparent glass

Chitra Rajan chose a transparent glass for her single white zerbera
that stood out against the hosta leaf and delicate frond of  fern.

Pushkala used a tall nageire glass vase with rolled leaves to create interesting lines
 reflected in the green lines of eunonymous, green chrysanthemums and a bunch of ixora 
for the colour highlight.

Divya Selvam’s artistic weaving of colourful dressing leaves with a hint of white 
from the temple tree flower was deceptively simple and could sit proudly
 on any drawing room table. It looks beautiful viewed from any angle.

Pretty maids all in a row 

Tall mineral water bottles in transparent glass was Prerana Mehta’s choice and three of them in a row with dried branches for lines, gypsophilia a single orchid for colour was truly a work of art.                                         

Janaki Rao made two arrangements—one using a deep red tea light holder
 and offset it with gypsophilia and a few blooms of temple flower and leaves. 
The use of  Christmas colours was apt for the season.

Welcoming the festive season with
Christmas colours

Look at me...I can fly!
          She used a transparent pickle jar with a single stem of  heliconia
          and dracaena leaves   with an interesting twist.

Pushkala's Second piece