My interest in practicing Ikebana began after visiting Japan and meeting respected Ikebana artist, Toru Watarai. He talked about how Ikebana helps us become more aware and appreciative of nature. One way is how he uses foliage from the woods near his home instead of seeking commercially available flowers. Plants adapt to the surrounding environment, changing their appearance. The way flowers spread towards the sun or a decaying tree shelters new plant growth. Observations in nature are the source of ideas. Ikebana is a creative expression of nature’s rhythms. It’s also a way of acknowledging the land the plants came from.
For example, in the winter, I’d notice the sculptural qualities of bare branches. Some were twisted by strong winds, some had vibrant coloration from fungi, others might be hollowed out by insects.
I also considered the vessel for the arrangement just as important as the flowers. I collected rocks on hikes and inserted the foliage in its crevices. The rock’s weathered surface gave the arrangement a sense of history and topography.