Monday, November 5, 2018

Creative interpretations with banana leaves - Our September workshop

September 22nd 2018
ABK AOTS Dosokai hall

Banana leaves are an integral part of Indian culture and flora and diet as well.  We Indians use all parts of the banana plant, from using the leaves as plates, to eating the bananas as fruits, cooking the raw ones as vegetable, and using the flower and stem in our cooking! Banana stem fibre used to be used to tie flower garlands too.

As a Study Group we have not used this material in Ikebana, and so Ambika decided to experiment with that in her demonstration.  Thirteen members were present.  She used the surface in various ways.

"Invocation" - this was her first composition.  The fresh, young banana
leaf was the calm that she hoped for, as she focused
her mind, symbolised by the white lotus pith, to help her creativity
that would bear fruit, symbolised by the vibrant anthurium.

"Indian wedding" Using bottles painted beautifully by her niece, Ambika used the colours of
auspiciousness - red, yellow and green to recreate an Indian wedding,
with the fairy lights adding the glow of happiness that a wedding symbolises.
The wide strong green surface of the banana leaf was offset by the cheerful yellow
chrysanthemums, and the gypsofilia brought innocence and romance to the composition.

"Prayer flags" - A visit to any Himalayan state is not complete if one does not come across the prayer flags
of the Buddhists gaily flapping in the breeze.  The banana leaves with the shredded edges
reminded one of those flags, and this was the aim with which Ambika chose the
vase with which to work as well.

The last composition was titled "Tropical Salute", emphasising bold vibrant lines, large colourful
flowers Strelitzia and torch ginger, and maybe some birds as well, symbolised by the white
It was then the turn of the  members to work with banana leaves.

Sensei Prerana created this gorgeous composition in brown, using banana leaves that she patiently waited to dry
and take some beautiful shapes.

Sensei Malathi used board pins to recreate a starry sky from her childhood.

Sensei Divya softened the surface with gypsofilia that
complemented the vase as well.

Sensei Molly used the banana leaf inside a glass vase,
creating a completely different effect.

Sensei Trishala used green and brown leaves to create this dynamic composition.

Mohan tried using the banana leaves in a modification of the Open style.

Jyotsna's experiment with cutting the leaves created a sailboat-like effect, beautifully.

Sensei Meenu used strips of the leaf to carry forth her design.

Shylaja complemented the vase colour with the flowers

And this dramatic composition was done by Chelvi, for whom the driftwood and dry banana leaves created
a stunning colour composition.

Bhuvana was able to create a line out of the banana leaf, quite unusual interpretation from the rest.
It was indeed a wide variety of interpretations and it was a satisfying workshop indeed.

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