November 30th, 2014 by Keith
Many years ago I took a great course learning european floral design techniques at the AFS Education Center (now Teleflora) in Oklahoma City, OK. It was a great experience, and at the time it was suggested to me that I should study with one of the other designers who taught design classes there, and her name was Hitomi Gilliam. I knew her work, ikebana infused floral designs, and I kept thinking about it. Lots of years have passed since then and it just never happened. But I found myself drawn to her work once again this year, perhaps my desire to begin fusing my ikebana with my floral design work fueled that interest. So I began looking to see if I could find a demonstration or workshop close by to attend. Bingo! I found both a demonstration and a workshop, close by and each within one week. Hooray!!! So I signed up for both, hoping to gain some useful information and a lot of inspiration. As luck would have it, I got both.
The demonstration at Potomac Floral Wholesale was geared toward wedding work, but there was lots of useful bits for everyday work as well. I took lots of handwritten notes as well many mental ones. But what I really wanted was the hands-on workshop be held a week later thru the Innovative Floral Designers Association. The workshop was great, Hitomi is a very enthusiastic, engaging teacher. It is wonderful take a workshop from someone obviously loves what they do and can’t wait to give you as much information as possible.
During the morning session we began creating a spiral structure made with aluminum wire and midollino sticks, bound with boullion wire. My spiral was a bit tight ( think it is simply a matter of practice), but we were assured that no matter how tight or loose the spiral was that we could use it. We attached the spiral to a stand made from using the pieces of a floor lamp provided to us, which opened my mind more to using every day items to create floral art. I think most of the participants felt the pressure of trying to learn a new weaving technique with limited time to create a usable piece to make a finished work later in the day. We finished our spiral structures and put them aside until later in the afternoon when we were to add flowers to complete them. After lunch we worked on the second piece for the day, a wire armature screen for flowers. Using strips of flat wire (the wire we were given was too wide so we had to cut in half lengthwise) we made curls and pieces curled at both ends to form the screen. The base was a white glass cube with styrofoam at the bottom, then oasis on top of that just below the rim of the cube. A simple curtain rod, pulled apart to give us two pieces to use, was inserted into the foam to make a “V” shape. We connected the curls with Uglu tabs to build the screen and used boullion wire to further stabilize the screen. Then flowers were added and we had our floral screen design done. Sadly I got one bad photo of my final design. My priority was less on getting photos, and more on learning as much as I could. At least I had some record of my day.
Later we began working on our designs using our midellino spiral forms. There was a good selection of flowers to use, and picked flowers in a similar tonal range of reds, burgundy and plum. As a during accent I used some whaleback palm using an interesting technique Hitomi taught us to give it some great curving movement and a few foxtail ferns and galax leaves. I loved what I created and the only adjustment to the design that Hitomi made was to change the direction of the foxtail ferns. The day was a great experience and I loved getting new ideas and techniques!
I’ll leave you with a couple of added items, an interview with Hitomi at Floral Today and her YouTube tutorial on making the midollino spiral. Enjoy!
May 2nd, 2014 by Keith
Taking a few materials left over from past projects I did a little experimentation and came up with this. Lately there has been a return to some work with bamboo, something I would love to do more of. I’ll keep the bamboo in mind with some of my works this summer.
April 18th, 2014 by Keith
Today the third and last exhibition installation of ikebana by the Washington,DC Chapter of Ikebana International opened at the U.S. National Arboretum. All of the ikebana arrangements are on view from 10AM until 4PM thru Monday, April 21. At the exhibition you can see the piece I did using bamboo, colored contorted filbert branches, craspedia, mosses, and aspidistra leaves.
April 13th, 2014 by Keith
March 7th, 2014 by Keith
Ceramic container by Carla Amerau, framed photography by Erin Tetterton
Thursday night The Art League Galley opened the Biennial Ikebana Exhibition featuring works of art by Art League artists paired with ikebana artists from the Washington, DC Sogetsu Ikebana branch. Frederick and I went to Alexandria to install my piece in the afternoon, most of the other ikebana artists were done and my spot was ready and waiting for me to work. I choose a ceramic piece by Carla Amerau (who is also a very accomplished Sogetsu ikebana artist as well) and an intriguing photography piece by Erin Tetterton. Both of their pieces had very organic feel to them, and I was very pleased with how well they worked together. For my ikebana arrangement in the exhibition I choose some pink mink proteas, split bamboo, and some bird of paradise leaves that I wove with strips of red colored wool. After the installation we had dinner and came back for the opening which was really wonderful, a great chance to talk, view all the work and meet other artists too. This exhibition is up thru Sunday March 9th and I hope that you get a chance to go to Alexandria to see it!
To see more photos from the exhibition you can take a look at the Art League Gallery Flickr page
March 5th, 2014 by Keith
15th Biennial Ikebana Show
March 6–9, 2014
All events are in The Art League Gallery and are free and open to the public
Reception: Thursday, March 6, 6:00–8:00 pm. Performance by the Washington Toho Koto Ensemble beginning at 6:00 pm
Washington Toho Koto Ensemble performance: Saturday, March 8, 2:00 pm
Flower Arranging Demonstration: Sunday, March 9, 2:00 pm
Art and nature come together as The Art League welcomes back the Washington, DC branch of The Sogetsu School for our 15th Biennial Ikebana Show. This popular exhibit will be featured in The Art League Gallery from March 6-9, 2014.
What is Ikebana?
Recognized as a sculptural form of art, Ikebana, the art of Japanese flower arranging, has over 300 schools of thought. Sogetsu Ikebana is a three-dimensional artistic expression composed of flower and plant material arranged in a container. Sogetsu promotes an Ikebana of no limits, in which plant materials of any type may be used and displayed anywhere and in any circumstance. Sogetsu does not encourage students to emulate nature; they encourage students to use lines, hues, and masses provided by nature to inspire their own creations. Combining the arrangements with two and three dimensional artwork results in stunning, contemporary installations.
The Ikebana Exhibit
Sogetsu members have selected works of art by Art League and Torpedo Factory artists to inspire and complete their harmonious installations. The carefully crafted compositions of art and nature create a peaceful and reflective environment in the Gallery. A Sogetsu member is present at all times, watering the arrangements as needed and answering questions about their art form. This dynamic, interactive collaboration brings fresh and calming energy to The Art League Gallery.
February 15th, 2014 by Keith
February 13th, 2014 by Keith
December 9th, 2013 by Keith
My first book featuring photographs from “365 Days of Ikebana”is now available for purchase. If you would like to make a purchase Blurb books is offering a 20% discount on any order placed by December 15, just use code BLURBGIFT-1 at checkout.
October 11th, 2013 by Keith
I love building structures, and this one was quick and easy to make. Hanakubari is the technique of building fixtures with natural materials to support flowers without wire, nails, or screws. But more important is the fact that it is meant to be part of the design, not hidden like a kenzan or kubari fixture in traditional ikebana. For this particular piece I used mostly “Y” shaped pieces of willow, all held together with some light tension. Strong tension in this ceramic container, and the swelling of wooden stems could cause too much stress on the vessel and cause it to crack or break. There is just enough tension joining it will to form a Hanakubari that is interesting and secure for stems.