Flowers and Ikebana

When You Feel Like the Creative Juices Start to Run Out

Learning Ikebana and training as a sensei has been fun yet a little challenging for me for the past months. Fun because I am able to create my own arrangements freestyle. However since I have already finished the books prescribed, doing different arrangements almost every week has been a big challenge also. Every time I bike my way to our community center to attend ourTuesday lessons, my mind is already brainstorming with my brains on the style or type of arrangement that I will do. To add to the challenge, sometimes the arrangement I have in mind does not match to the flowers that were provided for us that day.

And so before I go back to being monotonous and run out of creative ideas, I started to get inspirations a little outside the books. Here are some ways on how to get fresh ideas:

1. Highlighting the flowers and/or other materials to make them look happy

Following the main principle of Ikebana which is to give life to the  flowers and plants in an arrangement, I draw inspiration from the flowers and other materials available that day. I try to highlight them in a way that when people see my arrangement they would feel happy and light.

Giving emphasis to the pentecost roses or peonies

2. Creating a Happy Place

There are times when I miss home a lot. And to cope with that, I try to recreate the scenarios that can somehow bring me to my happy places.

Recreating a pond in spring
Remembering the colors of the sea

3. Sometimes you to need to focus on the vase/container

When I started with my Ikebana lessons, I did not realize that I have also started collecting vases which I use for our afternoon lessons at home. I often visit the second hand shops to look for unique yet cheap vases. But I also try to limit myself from buying too many because we do not have enough space to stock them at home. Likewise, it would be difficult to transport them in the future when we decide to leave Japan.

I try to highlight the design and color of the vase when I sometimes do my arrangement. And based the type and color of the flowers that can go along with it. In this way, I was able to give a different perspective of the the vase and make it like new.

A three-vase arrangement featuring the three significant Japanese symbols: Bamboo, Plum flower; and Pine tree

4. Keeping it simple

Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the arrangement that I need to do and has the tendency to use as much flowers and materials available. Although grandiose is beautiful, sometimes too much or too many is heavy to the eyes. So I always remind myself to keep it simple and clean as much as possible. To do so, I sometimes focus on one color or one type of flower for my arrangement.

Highlighting the elegance and purity of white using peonies and baby’s breath


5. Remembering the special people in my life

Flowers convey meaning. And what makes them more special is when I think of the people I love while doing the arrangement. I sometimes use the meaning of the flowers when I think of an arrangement dedicated to my loved ones.

An arrangement dedicated to my mom for she loves roses and dancing lady. The Chinese bamboo leaves also reminds me of her plants back home which is believed to bring good luck.

6. Considering the arrangement as my canvas or craft project

My sensei always tell me that the important thing to remember while doing an arrangement is to have FUN! Ikebana is a way of expressing oneself and also a great way for meditation and relaxation. Having fun while doing an arrangement also conveys happiness to the people who see it.

For me to maintain having fun while doing my arrangement, I put myself to the time when I was a kid attending art or craft class. During this time I enjoy ed mixing and matching colors, trying different media and materials, and was not afraid to experiment.

I made the vase out of wooden sticks similar to the popsicle sticks I used to make a fruit tray when I was in elementary.


Recycling old dry twigs and made it as a frame for my arrangement.


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