Ikebana is the arranging of flowers which considers the shape and form of the whole plant, including the leaves and stem as well as the bloom. It has the philosophy of developing a closeness with nature and is a disciplined art form where the arrangement is a living thing bringing nature and humanity together.

Ikebana has a very long history and can be traced back as far as the 6th century but its precise origin is unknown. It appeared with the introduction of Buddhism to Japan from China and Korea as a part of worship where flowers were offered on the alter to honor Buddha. This had evolved from the Buddhist practice of offering flowers to the spirits of the dead. These offerings were made up of three main stems which were gathered closely at the base to rise from the water as one, representing the harmonious relationship between heaven, earth and man. These floral offerings to Buddha continued for hundreds of years.

The earliest form of Ikebana was created by Ikenobo Senkei which was called tatehana which translated means standing flowers. This type of flower arrangement began to be displayed in the recessed area of a Japenese home to display art objects, changing the purpose of religious offerings to home decoration.

Ikebana continued into the 16th century where these impressive flower arrangements were made by priests, noblemen and Samurai Warriors. At this time tea drinking ceremonies which originated from China were being developed by Zen Priests. Flower arrangements were now adapted to be more informal in order to fit in with these simplistic ceremonies by using a single seasonal flower or branch.

Over the years Ikebana has continued in popularity becoming a Japanese custom and currently there are over 3,000 different schools of Ikebana, of which Ikenbo, Ohara and Sogetsu are the most popular.

Ikebana is a beautiful art form and is still practiced today, bringing the beauty of nature indoors by using natural materials to create and promote relaxation of the body, mind and soul.

Ikebana Tools:

Scissors: Used to trim and shape stems and branches.
Kenzan: A metal spike used to hold the stems in place.
Flower Frogs: Devices used to arrange the stems in place.
Ikebana Vases: Vases designed specifically for the art of ikebana.
Bamboo Sticks: Used to arrange branches and stems to create height and structure.
Wire Cutters: Used to shape stems and branches to create a desired form.
Raffia: Natural fibre used to bind stems and branches together.

These tools are used to create stunning arrangements of flowers, branches, and leaves that showcase the beauty of nature while also showcasing the skill and creativity of the artist.

Ikebana Materials:

Flowers: Fresh or dried flowers are a staple in ikebana arrangements.
Branches: Branches add height and structure to ikebana arrangements.
Leaves: Leaves provide a natural and organic element to the arrangements.
Rocks: Used to create weight and balance in the arrangements.
Moss: Used to add texture and softness to the arrangements.
Fruits: Fruits can be used to add a pop of colour or texture to the arrangements.

Each material is carefully chosen to complement the other elements in the arrangement, creating a harmonious and visually pleasing display. The use of different materials allows the artist to express their creativity and highlight the beauty of nature.

I have always enjoyed flower arranging but as I was creating something one evening I suddenly realised that this was different so I did a lot of research and created my passion into a business. Ikebana is being in the moment and this was it I can turn my energy into something positive and creative and share it with other people - Sylvia Purves.