All posts by Wanda LaLoggia

2018 Ron Brown Demonstration & Workshop

Article by Susan Hoe

The “oohs” and “ahs” coming from the audience was in response to the creativity of Master Teacher Ron Brown’s dynamic Sogetsu demonstration. His expertise thrilled the ikebana enthusiasts at the Palo Verde Room in the Maricopa Cooperative Extension this past Saturday, October 6.

Working with materials that ranged from large monstera leaves and bright yellow sunflowers to the delicate and bright orange Mexican bird of paradise (a favorite of Ron’s), he deftly created eleven beautiful arrangements using a variety of flowers, leaves, palms, and dried materials. Some were ordered from Hawaii (including monstera leaves, red and pink torch gingers, birds of paradise, and pale-colored anthuriums), while others were gathered from the nearby yards of Retta Marconi-Dooly and Carol Brecker, with local florists filling in the rest.

Since the art of ikebana focuses not just on the floral materials but how well they harmonize with the container, Ron selected a wide array of vessels, some traditional (such as a round, low suiban), others modern, and still others wholly original.

With an uncanny talent for turning mundane simple objects into exciting new receptacles or accents for ikebana arrangements, Ron’s ability was front and center as he used unique containers that he had constructed out of living as well as inorganic materials. One uncommon container that he featured was made from a very pretty lace placemat.

Another original creation that excited the audience was a trio of bamboo “vases” Ron created by partially splitting lengths of black bamboo and connecting them together to form a set of linear vessels. The small hollow bamboo opening at the top of each structure was filled with water so he could arrange a colorful spray of floral materials in each one to cap off the tall slim stems of the split bamboo.

Ron also created three miniature arrangements in tiny glass bottles, which he loosely wrapped with colored bendable wires for interest. He placed a single blossom (including a yellow mini pom, a purple mini carnation allium, and an orange Mexican bird of paradise) in each bottle, which he feels “forces” the viewer to look closely and appreciate the delicate features of each single bloom—an experience they may miss when the same flowers are used in bunches on a larger arrangement.

In contrast, his largest piece was a spectacular five-foot structure that was built upon a metal frame (made by artist Ping Wei). Selecting diverse materials that ranged from dried brown palm tree bark to succulent green fire sticks, red and pink torch gingers, and vivid birds of paradise, the arrangement provided a rousing end to his demonstration.

A light lunch was served, and materials (including horsetail reeds, hala and flax leaves plus a perfect, single anthurium) were passed out for the workshop portion of the program. Attendees created their own arrangements using either an upright or low bowl container. Following the technique that Ron demonstrated, they inserted wires through their hollow horsetail reeds, which allowed them to bend and manipulate the thin reeds into a myriad of new three-dimensional shapes. Hala and flax leaves were creatively added to each arrangement, which was completed by the perfect placement of the single anthurium.

As part of the ikebana study process, Sensei Ron took the time to evaluate every arrangement, tweaking the students’ work while explaining why and how the pieces could be improved—a great learning exercise.

When the day ended, all attendees left with a beautiful arrangement they had each created along with a renewed and profound sense of what is possible in the art of ikebana.t of the single anthurium.

The “oohs” and “ahs” coming from the audience was in response to the creativity of Master Teacher Ron Brown’s dynamic Sogetsu demonstration. His expertise thrilled the ikebana enthusiasts at the Palo Verde Room in the Maricopa Cooperative Extension this past Saturday, October 6.

Working with materials that ranged from large monstera leaves and bright yellow sunflowers to the delicate and bright orange Mexican bird of paradise (a favorite of Ron’s), he deftly created eleven beautiful arrangements using a variety of flowers, leaves, palms, and dried materials. Some were ordered from Hawaii (including monstera leaves, red and pink torch gingers, birds of paradise, and pale-colored anthuriums), while others were gathered from the nearby yards of Retta Marconi-Dooly and Carol Brecker, with local florists filling in the rest.

Since the art of ikebana focuses not just on the floral materials but how well they harmonize with the container, Ron selected a wide array of vessels, some traditional (such as a round, low suiban), others modern, and still others wholly original.

With an uncanny talent for turning mundane simple objects into exciting new receptacles or accents for ikebana arrangements, Ron’s ability was front and center as he used unique containers that he had constructed out of living as well as inorganic materials. One uncommon container that he featured was made from a very pretty lace placemat.

Another original creation that excited the audience was a trio of bamboo “vases” Ron created by partially splitting lengths of black bamboo and connecting them together to form a set of linear vessels. The small hollow bamboo opening at the top of each structure was filled with water so he could arrange a colorful spray of floral materials in each one to cap off the tall slim stems of the split bamboo.

Ron also created three miniature arrangements in tiny glass bottles, which he loosely wrapped with colored bendable wires for interest. He placed a single blossom (including a yellow mini pom, a purple mini carnation allium, and an orange Mexican bird of paradise) in each bottle, which he feels “forces” the viewer to look closely and appreciate the delicate features of each single bloom—an experience they may miss when the same flowers are used in bunches on a larger arrangement.

In contrast, his largest piece was a spectacular five-foot structure that was built upon a metal frame (made by artist Ping Wei). Selecting diverse materials that ranged from dried brown palm tree bark to succulent green fire sticks, red and pink torch gingers, and vivid birds of paradise, the arrangement provided a rousing end to his demonstration.

A light lunch was served, and materials (including horsetail reeds, hala and flax leaves plus a perfect, single anthurium) were passed out for the workshop portion of the program. Attendees created their own arrangements using either an upright or low bowl container. Following the technique that Ron demonstrated, they inserted wires through their hollow horsetail reeds, which allowed them to bend and manipulate the thin reeds into a myriad of new three-dimensional shapes. Hala and flax leaves were creatively added to each arrangement, which was completed by the perfect placement of the single anthurium.

Student Workshop Photos

2018 Visiting Professor Demonstration and Tea

Having just learned of the passing of Janet Ikeda, longtime member of Ikenobo Ikebana and Ikebana of Arizona, and for many years our primary translator and host for visiting Japanese professors, we would like to dedicate this past week’s Ikenobo demonstration to her memory. Janet made us all better and embodied the spirit of Ikenobo ikebana.

The 2018 visiting professor demonstration was held on March 9, 2018 at the Japanese Friendship Garden. Please enjoy the pictures from the demonstration.

2018 Ikebana Exhibit at Phoenix Art Museum

Ikebana of Arizona hosted the the 34th annual presentation of flower arrangements in the Asian Gallery of Phoenix Art Museum this month.   Thanks to all who contributed to making Ikebana of Arizona’s exhibit this year so very lovely.   Dr. Janet Baker’s comment was “fantastic”!    We had many visitors and countless positive responses.   Many visitors thanked us for sharing our ikebana and remarked on how much it meant to them.  Thanks also to members who volunteered to act as “docent hosts” to  share information about the different arrangements and provide information about Ikebana of Arizona and the various schools.

Gallery Guide:

  1. Allen, Susan: Sogetsu School. Niju-ike, a classic Japanese bamboo container with two levels, holds a cascading or hanging arrangement of pine, alstroemeria, and lilies.
  2. Brecker, Carol: Sogetsu School. A somber, meditative piece to complement the Infinite Light exhibit. A sea fan and budded peach branch emerge from Carol’s hand-made shell-shaped container coexisting with pottery squiggles on a wood burl base. From the deep stillness, seaweed-like dracaena reaches upward and delicate cymbidium orchid cascades earthward.
  3. Collins, Wanda: Sogetsu School. Variation #3, Slanting Style Nageire using palm and bamboo with yellow chrysanthemums.
  4. Cullison, Beth: Sogetsu School. “Loop-the-Loop,” a whimsical free style arrangement in a triple-circle ceramic container with yellow midollino sticks formed in a double circle, spider mums, and daisies.
  5. Foster, Tiah: Sogetsu School. Free style arrangement in a Japanese vase with white and red gladiolus.
  6. Gould, Carol: Sogetsu School. Burgundy dahlias, yellow crespedia (Billy Balls), baby’s breath, and ti leaves are contained in an antique vase on a wooden base.
  7. Hoe, Susan: Sogetsu School. This free style arrangement in a tall narrow vase uses a mixture of orange-colored curly willow and black branches accented with pin-cushion protea, white wax flowers, and Australian pine.
  8. Hughson, Yoly: Ikenobo School. Shoka Shimputai, a modern shoka, whose main elements are called shu (the lily) and yo (the oncidium). A flowering quince branch serves as ashirai, or helper.
  9. Hyde, JoAnn: Ohara School. “Landscape arrangement” is made up of piñon pine with small red flower accents. “Contemporary Arrangement” features amaryllis and tradescantia.  “Heika” is an arrangement of piñon pine, red rose, and baby’s breath.
  10. Jones, Theresa: Sogetsu School. This free style arrangement in a white container features red tulip anthurium, tropical foliage, and branches.
  11. LaLoggia, Wanda: Ikenobo School free style, Jiyuka, arrangement in a contemporary Japanese ceramic “boat-shaped” container with peace lily, Stargazer lily, croton, and yucca. Although a modern free style arrangement, this work reflects the ancient and classic boat shoka of the Ikenobo School with the materials outlining the shape of a sail and a small peace lily serving as an oar.
  12. Marconi-Dooley, Retta: Sogetsu School. A Shigaraki vase, which gets its unusual texture from the quartz crystals in the clay from Shiga Prefecture in Japan, sits on a myrtlewood base and holds variegated ti leaves and pink and red ginger blooms as if they were paint brushes on a master calligrapher’s desk.
  13. Millard, Janet: Sogetsu School. A free style arrangement in an antique bronze usubata container has white lilies, white alstroemeria, and eucalyptus. A miniature torii stands behind the usubata.
  14. Nguyen, Michele: Ikenobo School. Shoka Shimputai, a modern shoka with a main element, shu, here a plum branch, and a supporting element called yo, here the Queen Anne’s lace. The begonia serves as an ashirai, or helper. It also focuses the arrangement at the mizugiwa, the water’s edge.
  15. Palmer, Mary Ann: Sogetsu School. The black and red suiban container was chosen to reflect the “Red” theme in the galleries, and the arrangement is a traditional moribana, a term which means “heaped up,” using curly willow, stock, and mini-carnations.
  16. Payne, David: Ikenobo School. A classic Shoka Shofutai Isshuike, using one material, knife-blade eucalyptus with yellow fluff ball flowers. Because this material is flowering, it may be used alone to express its nature.
  17. Rosenblatt, Maya: Sogetsu School. A free style arrangement in an Oriental turtle container using bamboo and bromeliads.
  18. Schmich, Toby: Ikenobo School. A traditional shoka using two materials, this Shoka Nishuike with Nejime is in a Japanese ceramic container. Eucalyptus are shin and soe; and purple pom-pom mums form the tai area, called nejime here as it serves to “tighten” the area of the arrangement at the mizugiwa, or water’s edge.
  19. Sellars, Marty: Sogetsu School. A free style arrangement in a tall ceramic container hand-made by the arranger and holding eucalyptus and mums.
  20. Siedenburg, Minnette: Ikenobo School. This modern rikka, rikka shimputai, uses sago palm. The arrangement has two main elements called shu and yo complementing one another, responding to one another. Other materials serve as ashirai, helpers, to complete the globular form of the work.
  21. Sours, Jeanne: Ikenobo School. Shoka Nishuike with Nejime, a classic arrangement using two materials: calla lilies as shin and soe, the two main branches, and red alstroemeria as tai, here called nejime with the flowers in a V formation and functioning to “tighten” the area at the mizugiwa, the water’s edge.
  22. Storm, Linnéa: Ikenobo School. In the tokonoma is a traditional shoka using only one material, Shoka Shofutai Isshuike, here with flowering branches. As in all shoka arrangements, the “feet” are in a line, and the arrangement is intended to be viewed only from the front, as here in the tokonoma.In the gallery is Tatehana, or standing flowers, the oldest form of ikebana which would have been placed on the temple altar or in the tokonoma of a samurai’s residence. From this style rikka would emerge with its many main components. Materials include red twig dogwood, Queen Anne’s lace, bird of paradise leaf, solidago, freesia, statice, Italian ruscus, cape honeysuckle.
  23. Tall, Bev: Ikenobo School. This double arrangement, Futakabuike, is a divided shoka which separates the shin and soe of quince in one kenzan, from the tai of Dutch iris in the second kenzan. Futakabuike thus represents a land and water scene.
  24. Wong, Wyman: Sogetsu School. This free form arrangement with black, white and green colors is in a gray pedestal-design bowl. Painted bird of paradise leaves, aspidistra, and white calla lilies make up the materials, providing color contrast and distinctive lines and shapes as main elements in the design. Emphasis is on the sculptural qualities of the leaves and the wavy, curly effect of the plants.

2017 Fall Fest Demonstration and Workshop

Ikebana of Arizona’s Fall Fest attendees enjoyed a full day of demonstrations, culminating in a workshop where they were able to employ the techniques demonstrated by our three instructors.  Sogetsu instructor Retta Marconi-Dooley demonstrated how to create striking effects with leaves.

Striking Effects with Leaves

Next, Ikenobo instructor and rosarian Marylou Coffman demonstrated jiyuka arrangements with roses.  Last was Ikenobo professor Pat Kuffler who led a demonstration and workshop designing with leaves and roses.    Attendees, then created their own arrangements which are displayed below.

Japanese Friendship Garden 2017

garden20171a The 8th Annual Ikebana Exhibit at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix, sponsored by the Sonoran Desert Sogetsu Study Group had more than 40 displays, representing Sogetsu and Ikenobo styles.  The 4 day event from Jan. 26-29, included live music, Ikebana information artist booth, Ikebana presentations and hands-on-experiences, and a pottery display by Ping Wei.

Continue reading Japanese Friendship Garden 2017

2016 Holiday Workshop

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The Holiday workshop, held at the North Mountain Visitors Center, was a great way to wrap up 2016. Tasty snacks were shared, while creative juices flowed. Carol Brecker lead the workshop, using aspen branches, pine, red lilies, red and silver roses, amaranth and baby’s breath to create arrangements that expressed holiday feelings and wishes.

Continue to see a sample of arrangements.

Continue reading 2016 Holiday Workshop

Ikebana Renga Style Japanese Friendship Garden Oct. 2016

Ikebana of Arizona and Sonoran Desert Sogetsu Study Group presented Renga Style Live Ikebana at the Japanese Friendship Garden Oct. 2016 

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 Live Ikebana Renga Style set to music for the moon viewing festival Otsukimi at the Japanese Friendship Garden, Phoenix, on October 15, 2016.  Arrangements were presented by Susan Allen, Carol Brecker, Wanda Collins, Janet Millard and Mary Ann Palmer.  Narrators Sharon Ady and Joan Foltz read the haikus the ikebanists chose to represent and described the materials and inspiration for their design.  The moon was full and high in the sky behind the exhibit.  Perfect evening in Phoenix.

Continue reading Ikebana Renga Style Japanese Friendship Garden Oct. 2016