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!
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Very clever indeed Cathy! Perfectly conceived and named. Here’s my contribution to the meme but not the challenge this time, you’ll read why later. https://myhesperidesgarden.wordpress.com/2016/07/11/in-a-vase-on-monday-rich-and-sumptuous/
@ Christina – I always want to comment on your lovely vases, but WordPress won’t let me as I do not have presence in any of the four options. Any chance you can let us deprived social networkers use the form to fill in like Cathy does here?
anyway – I loved your fabulous vase with zinnias and sunflowers.
Thank you Cathy for letting me contact Christina here.
I’ll ask Cathy how to do it, I didn’t realize there was a problem, sorry.
Thanks Christina – as usual, it just seemed to come together…and reminds me that there are uses for blue gravel! Always good to have your vases, whatever they are 🙂
In response to Joanna’s comment to me, do you know what is different in your set up to mine by any chance?
Will email you
Well not only am I impressed with your vase but the background too….wow! And a shell for a vase. I agree ‘Praying Hands’ was perfect the perfect leaf for the waves. I was planning to make a contribution but life and weather got in the way. But I had done some research and will likely make one in the coming weeks.
So here is my contribution although not Ikebana….
Thanks Donna – I couldn’t have asked for a better background really! Or wavy leaf 😉 Life and weather can be tough task masters and I hope that overall your week has been OK
We needed the rain desperately so it was a good thing….2 inches in 3 days. And now back to the 90s, dry and sunny! Enjoy your travels!
Thanks Donna – and I suppose the heat then dries up the soil again pretty quickly? I trust you have lots of water butts…
What a beautiful arrangement and so very inspiring. Thank you.
Thanks – and so simple to do too. It is good to know that people find the meme inspiring
What a brilliant idea to use the shells. You are so organised! I have had a go https://digwithdorris.wordpress.com
I am enjoying looking at your gallavanting.
Thanks Dorris – that’s the trouble when you beginning acquiring lots of vases… they and other potential receptacles rarely get a turn! I shall write more about the gardens we visited later in the week
Most interesting combination. I can’t wait to hear more about the mural.
Thanks Lisa – and the mural has been there for 2 or 3 years now so do click on the link or look under The Garden tab
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Oh, you are ingenious Cathy! This works very well! It’s also interesting to see behind the scenes of the photo set-up. 😉 I have taken up your challenge too:
Thanks for ‘challenging’ us!
Love, love, love your vases!
Glad you enjoyed being challenged Cathy – I know I do 😉 I thought it was only fair to show how I was able to get that first photo – it put it into perspective when shown with the whole mural!
An imaginative and successful interpretation! Loved reading how you developed each stage Cathy. Thanks for setting up the challenge and happy travels to you. My vase is https://pbmgarden.wordpress.com/2016/07/11/in-a-vase-on-monday-summer-song/
Thanks Susie – and to you for instigating the thought of the challenge 🙂 It is empowering to be taken out of our comfort zones
There is always so much to read here. Your post is giving me itchy feet : I’ve got to get on the road again and experience some of what you describe.
We visited Rosemoor – a place I never thought I would reach. Most definitely worth a long trip: the roses were perfect.
My ikebana post is HERE: http://july-2016.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/ikebana.html
Thank you so much for making me attempt this after many years.
Thank you Joanna – in a way I missed out on a thoughtful planning process because I made my vase early, but I know I am now inspired to try others in an ikebana style and I am very grateful to you for your enthusiasm and support. Your post is so informative and is clearly being well received by everybody
I love the arrangement and the setting is fantastic. I had difficulties balancing the flowers (physically and design wise) the conch shell is great as well as the flow and balance of the flowers used.
Here is my attempt:https://theshrubqueen.wordpress.com/2016/07/11/in-a-vase-on-monday-ikebana-lite
Thanks Amy – I certainly know what you mean about the physical balance as the conch shell could stand in different ways but not always holding the water. AND the hosta flower kept leaning!
My jewelry box vase wasn’t holding water very well!
What a tease….and how perfectly to you have brought elements together to make your vase this week. A tenuous attempt maybe? http://noellemace.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/in-vase-on-monday-japanese-style.html
Thanks Noelle- and it didn’t take much thought in the end which may or may not have been a good thing!
I meant a tenuous attempt on my behalf; should have been a : after the question mark. I have been admiring all the acrobatic arrangements and felt mine was still in the ‘plonking’ but thoughtful ‘starters’ class of ikebana…
Ye, I guessed you meant yours, but wanted to assure you that mine perhaps didn’t justify being described as ‘perfectly brought together’!!
How very clever, I enjoyed the link explaining the artistry behind the sea blue wall too. Thank you Cathy and well done.
Thanks Kate – and the blue gravel hung around for a long time before I came up with a use for it, so I am pleased I am now using it in vases too!
You’ve done it again, oh flower master! I love how your arrangement illustrates the essence of the story. Thank you for this fun challenge, I very much enjoyed taking a stab at Ikebana – like arrangement.
Oops, my effort can be found here: http://outlawgarden.blogspot.com/2016/07/in-vase-on-monday-ikebana-rule-breaking.html
Thanks Peter – and I think of myself as a facilitator rather than a ‘master’… certainly no mastery on my part! Glad you enjoyed the challenge – I did too!
Oh that is just wonderful! My creation includes Hosta flowers as well: http://www.thedangergarden.com/2016/07/in-vase-on-monday-ikebana-challenge.html
Thanks Loree – the hosta flower was a good alternative to the arums or lilies I didn’t have!!
I love your take on this challenge, Cathy – it’s brilliant! Botticelli’s Venus is one of my favorite paintings. My vase this week: http://wp.me/p3O3z4-1ak
Oh thanks Eliza – it’s funny how ideas just arrive in one’s head sometimes, isn’t it?!
Great challenge and solution. I have been on vacation and missed this concept. Maybe I will give it a go next week as it offers lots of creativity — and angst.
Thanks Linda – and I think that most of us who gave it a go have enjoyed doing so. It was refreshing to look for material with a different eye
What a wonderful idea… sadly I missed the challenge setting last week, so here is a not-remotely-Japanese vase on Monday from me – https://edinburghgardendiary.com/2016/07/11/in-a-vase-on-monday-fresh-as-daisies/comment-page-1/#comment-899 – and a well done to you for giving such inspiration. I’m not sure if this is the first themed vase challenge you’ve ever set, but please do give us another one every now and then as there’s nothing like stepping out of one’s comfort zone!
Thanks Joanna – hope you had a good break. It wasn’t compulsory in any way so your vase is just as welcome – but you want another challenge? Hmmm, I will need to work on that…. 🙂
Not Japanese ikebana, but I hope you enjoy anyway! https://lindylecoq.wordpress.com/2016/07/11/sunshine-in-a-vase-on-monday/
There was no obligation to take the ikebana challenge Linda, and I am off to see your sunny vase now!
Cathy, it looks fantastic! I am not the biggest fan of Ikebana – I enjoy it in gardening shows, exhibitions and so on, but would not necessarily decorate my home with it. (Except from Novemer till February when “reduction” happens naturally). Your piece is amazing, though. Love the colours and the concept. In fact, I like it much much more than classical Ikebana, because it’s playful, smart and fun, with great colours. And it does not seem strict or rigid. I did put together some vases today, too (no Ikebana), but I haven’t had time to sort through the pictures yet, let alone write a blog entry. So my “Vase on Monday” will actually be posted on Tuesday.
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I completely forgot about your challenge… Oops. Your ikebana arrangement is great! My conventional vase is here: https://acoastalplot.wordpress.com/2016/07/11/in-a-vase-on-monday-better-late-than-never/
Thanks, Cathy. Sam
No worries about lack of ikebana Sam! I enjoyed ‘constructing’ mine!
I love all the thought and references that have gone into your arrangement – especially the ‘back stage’ view of how you set it up to take the photo – ingenious! Here’s mine: https://daffodilwild.wordpress.com/2016/07/11/round/
How lovely, what a great idea! This is my In a Vase Monday post http://wp.me/p1jkAI-2Tk
Thanks Ronnie, and I am pleased that people have been inspired to have a go
Of course you’d have a backstory for your creation! I’m very impressed by how well you rendered your story in floral and foliage form. The shell was an inspired choice for a container and the contorted hazel was a perfect way to tie the image together. I wish I’d approached my own ikebana experiment with half as much creativity but I did give it a try – thanks for the push! I had difficulty finding your IAVOM post this morning – probably yet another glitch in the Blogger-Wordpress connection – so I’m late with my link but here it is: http://krispgarden.blogspot.com/2016/07/in-vase-on-monday-ikebana-experiment.html
Best wishes with your ongoing gallivanting.
Sorry you had a problem linking – and I hope people weren’t confused by me posting a second post soon after. The vase one was scheduled and posted automatically but I hoped to post the Gallivanting one the day before but did not have an internet connection where we were! Thanks for your kind words – I was pleased about the twisted hazel afterthought as it really made all the difference
What a perfect choice of plant material with its North Asian origins to illustrate the ikebana theme Cathy 🙂 Wet, yet more wet, and a backlog of post holiday catching up got on top of me today but I’ll have a go at an ikebana vase one of these Mondays.
Thanks Anna – and I meant to say I look forward to hearing about your travels too. Hope it wasn’t wet and more wet while you were away…
A beautiful rendering of east and west, Cathy 🙂 Love the narrative approach to Botticelli! Thanks for showing the background shots as well.
I did have a go at it today — it’s just as well to stretch one’s approach from time to time, isn’t it?! Results are not particularly spectacular, but here it is: https://smallsunnygarden.blogspot.com/2016/07/in-vase-ikebana-style.html
Thanks Amy – deliberately creating something in this style was out of my comfort zone but when it came to it it wasn’t difficult and I enjoyed seeking inspiration from a different angle
Here’s my late contribution (no Ikebana, though): https://sweetpeasandsavory.wordpress.com/2016/07/12/in-a-vase-on-monday-foraged-fire-ice-plus-icecream/
No worries about no ikebana – it’s good to see vases whatever they are 🙂
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a beautiful arrangement Cathy, love the background and story. Defintely need to do some reading about Ikebana before I have a go – Mine is very simple sweetpea vase – Things have been very hectic since the Spring – good news too. Here is my link – have a lovely week gallivanting around 🙂 love bec xx
I missed your comment till now Bec – don’t know how and I am sorry, but I am off to see your vase and hear your good news…
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How very creative and well-thought out, Cathy! I love it! It took me a couple days to figure out what I wanted to do, but here is my take on Ikebana: https://cosmosandcleome.wordpress.com/2016/07/13/in-a-vase-this-week-ikebana/
Thanks Kimberley – I was pleased with the results. Again I am late responding to you – I tend to have a break from blog commenting after the Monday blitz!