Friday, June 6, 2008

Ikebana, Ceramics & Swordsmanship

I recently completed a short 5 session class in the Sogetsu style of Ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement) at the Irvine Fine Arts Center conducted by Takeichi Haruko Sensei. This picture was taken in class (2nd week) after we completed the arrangement, but before the Sensei came around (with her clippers in hand!).

I enjoyed the class tremendously. The 5 weeks went by so quickly. The ceramic vase I made fitted the style of the arrangement so I used it. It's a high fire Kazegama style firing (ash firing), invented by Steve Davis of Aardvark. The vase is about 12" high, made out of paperclay, flashing slip was applied to the surface of the piece in the greenware stage. The texture you see is actually left over dried paperclay that is "glued" to the vase with paperclay slip. The texture and colors came out beautifully in this piece.

One thing that struck me were the quotes Takeichi Sensei shared with us. Even though it came from the Ikebana perspective, with my training in Japanese swordsmanship I now better understand  what my sword Sensei (Katsuse Sensei) was trying to tell me. My two favorite quotes from Takeichi Sensei:

1. When a man cuts the pine tree, it is no longer a pine tree. It has become the man.

2. Even if you are a beginner in Ikebana, and you have a small vase, make your arrangement big. Do not let the size of the vase limit you.

Hearing those words for the first time I smiled inside and I thank Katsuse Sensei, "Now, I'm beginning to understand a little bit."

It is incredible the feeling you get when you view these flowers and arrangement in your home. The spirit from these humble flowers that so many of us take for granted fills one's heart and definitely fills the room.


Carolyn said...

Wow. That's really amazing. I love the flower arrangements, they are so lovely. And I can see what you mean about the similarity of the sayings with Iai. ^^
I'm interested in seeing what you do next :) I've been telling my friends about your work, hopefully they will also take an interest.

Tim said...

I really enjoy the parallels you draw between various disciplines. It exemplifies the belief that everyone's different, but everyone's reaching for the truth.