Before there were kenzans, people use traditional fixtures and stones to stabilize the stems when creating Ikebana. Strong twigs or stems are placed in the container as fixtures to help maintain the structure and balance of the materials.
Last Tuesday during my special lesson with my sensei, I tried to use a natural fixture for an arrangement. This is a type of fixture that uses the original angle of the twig. I cut a peach blossom stem to fit inside my vase with enough space yet sturdy enough as a support.
Seasonal Arrangements Using Traditional Fixtures
As part of my learning this year, I want to have more practice on seasonal materials. Luckily although it is quite early, we already have sakura stems in our flower set.
For my first arrangement, I only used the sakura stems to create a somehow traditional style. I also applied some bending techniques to highlight the lines of the sakura. My sensei thought me to listen to the sound as I try to bend the stem. True enough, there was a light crisp sound indicating that I was able to manipulate it correctly. Louder and faster sound would mean I broke the stem, which most of the time I get.
Compared to the cross fixture or kenzan, the natural fixture was a challenge. I tried to put all my stems inside the limited space to maintain the neatness outside the fixture.
Using the same materials, I created another arrangement as part of my practice. This time, I added other materials to make it a little contemporary. I used Narcissus leaves and purple Statice. By adding a little pressure as I run my finger to the leaves, I was able to create some curls to complement the wavy lines of the Sakura stems. The Statice flowers, on the other hand, gave distinct points without overwhelming the delicate Sakura flowers.