Ikebana Workshop – Notes from the Old Ottawa South Garden Club

The Old Ottawa South Garden Club recently sponsored a workshop on Ikebana—the traditional Japanese art of flower arrangement.  The workshop was led by Elizabeth Armstrong, a Second Associate Master in the Ohara School of Ikebana.  After retiring as a psychologist, Elizabeth became interested in ikebana as an intellectual and creative challenge; she is now a member of the North American Ohara Teachers Association and has studied ikebana here and in Japan.

Elizabeth began the workshop with a short history of ikebana: its roots can be traced back to Buddhist rituals some six-hundred years ago but it is now an art form independent of its religious origins.  The Ohara school was established in the late nineteenth century and is distinguished by its landscape arrangements—in low, wide containers.  Elizabeth taught the rising form of the Hana Isho arrangement: a vertical subject (in this case dogwood) with an object (in this case carnations) with baby’s breath and asparagus fern as filler material.  She noted the importance of the height, width, and angles to arrangements.

Elizabeth then invited participants to create their own arrangements with materials supplied by her.  As the workshop progressed, both Elizabeth and a senior student in the Ottawa Chapter, Patty McGaughlin, critiqued and adjusted participants arrangements.

Participants all agreed that it had been a pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

The next meeting of the Old Ottawa South Garden Club will be on Monday April 9th at 7.00 pm at the Firehall (260 Sunnyside Avenue) when Tyler Ring, a horticultural specialist from Ritchie’s Feed and Seed, will tell members about easy-care, hardy perennials and tried-and-true garden maintenance methods for the lazy gardener.

By: Colin Ashford

Photo Credits: Colin Ashford with permissions

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