When setting the challenge of utilising a Japanese ikebana style for our vases this week I forgot that not only was I not going to be on hand to comment promptly on your vases on Monday but I wasn’t going to be at home over the weekend to prepare my own vase – so the above effort was created on Friday, not that you would have known if I hadn’t confessed!
When I did a quick google search for guidance, I realised there were in fact several styles and schools of ikebana, the term ‘ikebana’ actually meaning the ‘Japanese art of flower arrangement’ so the world is really your oyster for this challenge, or spider conch in the case of the above vase. No doubt most of you taking on the challenge will have done some research so I shall let you tell your own tales. For me, I took on board a reference to the use of natural materials for a vase and chose one of several shells that have been awaiting their opportunity to appear on a Monday – it didn’t then take much lateral thinking for an image of Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus’ to pop into my head and thus the essence of my vase was born.
In the absence of any perfect flowers remaining on Zantedeschia aethiopica ‘Crowborough’, I selected a flowering stem of Hosta sieboldiana and was planning to roll up a slim leaf of hart’s tongue fern, hinting at a rolling wave, when I realised that the wavy edges of another hosta, ‘Praying Hands’, was an ideal candidate without any manipulation whatsoever. In a matter of minutes the two stems were snipped to appropriate lengths and inserted into the shell, held in place on a metal frog. Venus still looked naked, and as in the original painting she does her best to cover her modesty so a suitably twisted stem of contorted hazel came to her rescue with just a hint of a resemblance to her flowing locks.
Blue gravel cover the innards of the shell, but also played a vital role in the background – you can read about the gravel and shell mural here but suffice to say it was perfect for today’s vase, even if it did take a little stage management to set up the main photograph!
The overall effect of the vase is not quite the same in the absence of the theatrical background, but I am still pleased with the simplicity of the vase and the absolute ease with which it was put together. I do so hope those of you who have risen to the challenge have enjoyed coming at your vase from a different angle and that those more reticent will be inspired by the ikebana vases that others have shared. As promised, all those who have ‘had a go’ will be entered into a draw for a packet of seeds, but for non UK bloggers I will need to check whether seeds can be imported into your country. I shall, however, be later than usual catching up with your vases but look forward to seeing them as soon as I can. Let the fun begin!