Earlier this year, WA Melbourne Ikebana Festival launched Hanadayori 2021 where people can request an Ikebana artist to make a composition. This initiative is unique as the requests are based on their wishes and what they hope to see in an Ikebana arrangement. At the same time, it also gave an avenue for the Ikebana artists to share their creativity and talents to a wider audience especially during this challenging time.
I enlisted in the event as a volunteer Ikebana artist the moment I saw the invitation. For me this is a new challenge. It is not often that I get a request from someone to make a composition based on their preference and desires. When I received the email from the organizers, I immediately got excited. A lady from Romania requested an Ikebana for healing and prosperity for all people.
There was a flash of ideas and images in my mind the moment I read the request. However, it took me some time and several sample arrangements before I came up with the final design. Simply put brainstorming with me, myself, and I lasted for several days.
Unlike my usual compositions this one is a request from someone I have never known or met – a total stranger. I do not know what flowers she likes or what colors she prefers. Second, the words healing and prosperity are like yin and yang. For me, an arrangement for healing should make people feel calm when they see it. On the other hand, prosperity Ikebana should be invigorating as if there is an adrenaline rush. Having both in one composition would need a good balance between opposite energies. Third, the request came from someone who just started learning Ikebana. I want her to identify the basic concepts and elements that she learns at the moment like lines, colors, shapes, etc. However since this is an exhibition, I also want to showcase my skills as an artist.
Ikebana for Healing and Prosperity
My arrangement features the physalis (also called Chinese/Japanese lantern or bladder cherry), sunflowers, and gerbera flowers as my main materials both for the healing and prosperity parts. For healing, physalis is a Greek word which means wrapper. The lantern serves as a protection for the berry. Hence, it became a symbol of safety, comfort, and protection. The sunflower, on the other hand, is believed to help brighten someone’s mood due to its association with the sun. It also helps reduce stress and anxiety. As for the gerbera, the Celts believe that this flower would help lessen the sorrows and stresses of everyday life.
For the prosperity part, the sunflower is believed to bring good luck and happiness. In Chinese culture, it is often given as gift for graduation or at the start of a new business. The pink gerbera symbolizes high esteem while the orange and green colors of the physalis hopes for success.
To see the full exhibition, please visit: Hanadayori 2021.