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Learn more About Ikebana

Freestyle ikebana arrangement


Ikebana originated from early Buddhist offerings and grew into an art form with many styles and schools. Special attention is given to the choice of plant, vases, placement of branches, and the relationship of those branches to the surroundings and the vase used. There is also the creative use of empty spaces that are part of the composition. This distinguishes it from the Western style floral art.  

The word ikebana consists of two Japanese characters, Ikeru (行ける) and Hana (花). ‘Ikeru’ means ‘to live’, and ‘Hana’ means ‘flower’. Ikebana thus translates as ‘a living flower’. When you cut a flower, you shorten its lifespan. Therefore, the underlying meaning of ikebana is that you will give the flower a second life. If you cut a flower, you have to add something extra to give it a new life. Just putting flowers in a vase is not Ikebana, you have to add a part of yourself to the arrangement.

Freestyle ikebana arrangement


All schools originated from Ikenobo, and many styles developed from there.  The most popular schools are Sogetsu, Ohara, Ikenobo, and Ichiyo.  But there are more than 2000 ikebana schools registered. 

Ilse is a certified Sogetsu Ikebana Teacher.
The Sogetsu School was founded in 1927 by Teshigahara Sofu. He was one of the leaders who ensured that traditional ikebana was reformed into an art form. He was succeeded by his daughter Teshigahara Kasumi. The third Headmaster was Teshigahara Hiroshi, the famous filmmaker, his daughter, Akane, succeeded him and is the current Headmaster.

The basis of Sogetsu is that anyone can do ikebana at any time and any place with any material at hand. This means that whoever practices ikebana must be creative with materials. It means that ikebana is not just repeating predetermined flower arrangements. 

Freestyle ikebana arrangement


You can find more information on ikebana on the websites of the respective schools.  You find a list below.  Also in the two books by Ilse, there is a concise explanation of ikebana, the schools, the techniques, and philosophy.  You can check out the two books here

Links to schools:

Ikebana International

Ikenobo School

Sogetsu School

Ohara School

Ichiyou School

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