Art by Nature

Would you like to enjoy the beauty of nature and find yourself in serenity and calmness? Ikebana might be the positive energy you need to reconnect with nature in your busy life.

Ikebana is the Japanese traditional art of floral arrangement. The idea of Ikebana is different from western floral arrangements which mainly focus on flowers and leaves. Materials of Ikebana could be anything from nature, such as branches, withered leaves, stones and water, in addition to flowers and green leaves. It emphases the beauty of nature in each season by utilising what is available in each season.

I am Sachie Terasaki from Japan, an Ikebana artist and instructor for over 20 years. I am based in Canberra and offer Ikebana lessons, workshops, demonstrations, and displays for events and parties. I am the highly qualified Ikebana teacher registered in the Sogetsu Teachers’ Association in Japan.

My students are often surprised at how little we use for Ikebana materials. And when they have finished their arrangements, they are more surprised at how beautiful their Ikebana arrangements are with simple materials. We use the minimum and make the most beauty out of them. To create a basic arrangement, we only need 2-3 stems of branches and 3 flowers with leaves. We often use a shallow wide vase to show water and sometimes stones. Those simple materials could create a fantastic scene of nature in front of you. It might give you great fragrance of flowers or scent of greens and barks too.  

Ikebana is good for children to learn about nature too. I have held many workshops for children at schools and community events. Children are at first more attracted to arrange flowers, often only heads of flowers. But after explaining Ikebana, they become imaginative. They use anything in nature to create arrangements. I still remember one group of students included an insect as part of their arrangement. In recent years, Ikebana is recognised more broadly than the traditional art. It is education about culture and nature, and also relaxation. In Japan, it has started being used as a therapy, Ikebana therapy. Ikebana instructors go to hospitals, nursing homes and hospices to hold Ikebana workshops.

As well as teaching, I create Ikebana displays for restaurants and events. I aim to create Ikebana arrangements full of life and movement, as if wind goes through my arrangement, or as if my arrangement starts moving. Because you know what? “Ikebana” literally means ‘give life to flowers’!

Words by  Sachie Terasaki

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