During the past few months, I was preoccupied brainstorming with myself about my design for this year’s Ikebana exhibition in Seishincho Community Center. I sketched some samples but for some reason, they all felt lacking. This year’s exhibition is very special for me because it is my final arrangement and sort of an exam to confirm my license as a Fourth Level Ikebana Sensei (teacher) or Yonkyu Shihan. I was fortunate that my husband is very supportive. He gave me some ideas that helped me a lot as I finalized my design.
Last Saturday morning with my big blue vase; six kenzans; and several Gobou (Burdock roots) filling up my bike’s basket, my friend and I headed to Seishincho Community Center for our annual Ikebana Autumn Exhibition. It took me two hours to finish my exhibition piece but my efforts paid off when my sensei approved my work.
This year’s exhibition piece represents bit and pieces of my beginnings. The flower balls made of yellow Malaysian Mums symbolise my days as a wedding planner/florist in Manila, Philippines. Back then, I love making flower balls and bouquets for weddings.
The two towers made of Gobou (Burdock roots) represent my passion for crafts, recycling, and repurposing. Gobou is one of the Japanese staple vegetables normally seen as a side dish in the bento boxes. I highlighted these roots so that people can appreciate its beauty from a different perspective.
The aloe vera plants represents my love for gardens. These plants came from the big aloe vera plant from my own garden in our balcony. It was also the first plant that I tried growing here in Tokyo.
The yellow Chrysanthemums, blue Gentians, and the green Tsuromodoki (Oriental bittersweet) were the same materials I used for my first Ikebana exhibition piece in 2013. They represent my journey as an Ikebana artist.
My husband suggested that I should arrange my materials taking into consideration the three main stems – Shin, Soe, Hikae. This is to represent a cycle as I complete my training as an Ikebana sensei. Hence, the towers served my Shin and Soe while the Tsuromodoki as my Hikae. The Gentians were the Jushis that support the Shin and Soe while the Chrysanthemums support the Hikae. The Aloe Vera were added as a contrast to the straight lines of the Gobou towers and as a complement to the curvy lines of Tsuromodoki. Main colors used were yellow, blue, and green to give an early autumn feeling.
Next week I will start my training as a Third Level Ikebana Sensei (Sankyu Shihan). I am excited and at the same time scared because this could mean harder training and stricter rules. When will I able to finish? Only my sensei knows. Until then I will continue to do my best!