One of my dreams is to share the art of Ikebana to my family and friends in the Philippines. It became one of my goals when I got my license as an Ikebana sensei. I was able to achieve that goal when my husband and I went to Manila last week for a short vacation. But much bigger than I hoped for. Last 30 April, I was able to have an Ikebana workshop with 30 children. My first ever Ikebana workshop was conducted in the Philippines, my home country!
It was under the “Me and My Environment Program” of KIDS Club, a volunteer organization that me and my friends created a year ago. The program is a series of capacity buildings intended to enhance children’s awareness and appreciation of the environment through different disciplines like the science and the arts.
Ikebana Workshop with Silid Aralan Learners
The Ikebana workshop was held at Kasiglahan Village Elementary School in Rodriguez, Rizal. It was organized by KIDS Club in collaboration with Silid Aralan, Inc. It was also one of the events in line with our first year anniversary celebration. Participants of the workshop were 20 students (7-12 years old) and 10 children of KIDS Club members (4-13 years old). There were also some parents, members and volunteers of KIDS Club as well as Silid Aralan staff.
It was very challenging to explain the meaning, history, and principles of Ikebana without making the children bored. That’s why instead of the usual Powerpoint presentation, I did it through story-telling in Tagalog (Philippine language). After that, the children made their own vases using paper cups, brown paper bags; stickers; and watercolors. The children enjoyed their time drawing and designing the vases to their hearts content.
When all participants have finished their decorating vases, we started making the basic Sogetsu-style Ikebana arrangement. First, I asked the kids to examine their materials carefully then choose the three materials which they think would fit as their Shin, Soe, and Hikae (three main stems). Next I demonstrated how they should place the said main stems in their vases properly. Lastly, I let them put the Jushis or supporting stems on their own as they complete their arrangements.
We then placed all the finished Ikebana arrangements on two long tables. It felt like we were in an Ikebana exhibition as we walk and admire each arrangement. The participants were amazed by the uniqueness of each arrangement although we used the same materials.
And they got more excited when I told them that they can take their arrangements home 🙂