How Ikebana can positively influence your life

More than simply putting flowers in a container, ikebana is a disciplined art form in which nature and human creativity are brought together. Language is not needed to understand the beauty of Ikebana, it holds no cultural boundaries. Minimal materials convey meaning through colour combinations, natural shapes and graceful lines. Enjoyed not only for its beauty but also for its meditative qualities, Ikebana is an art form anyone, anywhere can appreciate and benefit from.
In Ikebana I have found a passion that I hope to share with people all over the world. Following I have outlined some of the reasons why I respect this ancient art form and how understanding Ikebana can positively influence your life.
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The spiritual aspect of Ikebana makes it more about the need to create than the final outcome. Ikebana expresses the feelings of the individual at the time they create it, this is what makes each arrangement so unique and intriguing. The effort and feeling put into the process never fails to capture the hearts of viewers.
Selecting thought-provoking materials from nature to bring together in an Ikebana setting encourages us to view purely with our own eyes and listen to our own instincts. To veer from the vast majority or popular trend at the time, often the more challenging direction, is encouraged in this free yet precise art form. For this reason I was first drawn to Ikebana and continue to use it as a tool of self-expression. One day subdued, perhaps vibrant the next, each creation stems from real feelings, demonstrating spirit and authenticity.
Space

Whether it be the space in which we live, work or entertain, the presence of Ikebana instantly brings life and feeling to an interior. Unlike any other art form, Ikebana is comprised of natural living materials, free to grow and change. The carefully considered space between branches, leaves or flowers and how they are attentively positioned projects a sense of motion – motion that arises from perfect stability. This brings a light ‘openness’ to a room, relaxing the mind and, in turn, encouraging our thoughts to grow.
Space surrounding an arrangement or print is equally as important as the space within – for this reason it is essential to avoid clutter. An arrangement set amidst a busy cluttered space or a print against a loud noisy backdrop will be overwhelmed and sadly lost. In the right setting Ikebana perfectly demonstrates the delicate balance we need in life between things and freedom from things. Without space around or between, objects themselves loose meaning and value – we all need room for our thoughts to exists and thrive.

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Since I began practising Ikebana, I have realised the significance of space and have made an asserted effort to avoid clutter in my own home. Creating space to think proves a positive influence in all aspects of life. Instead of empty, space is alive with possibilities, free from restrictions, ready to be renewed and enlivened.

Quiet

Ikebana brings a display of emotion to be embraced and interpreted by the viewer in their own way. The expression unique to each arrangement stems from the quiet energy put into creating it.
For the practitioner Ikebana is a therapeutic process, most beneficial and successful when working in silence. Only without distractions can that feeling of being ‘lost in the moment’ be reached.
Whatever may be happening in our lives, Ikebana encourages us to step away, offering a temporal escape. Taking quiet time for ourselves is when we feel most relaxed, closest to nature. So switch off mobile phones or perhaps arrange a babysitter for the afternoon while you quietly practise with a few simple materials. You’ll be surprised at what you achieve.

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I find myself truly appreciating the silence in the noise. It is often the quietest things that are overlooked but deserve the most attention. Ikebana draws such attention in a silent, bold statement.

Appreciation

When you invite Ikebana into your space, whether it be displayed as a print or an arrangement, you’ll begin to develop a heightened appreciation for all life around you.
Ikebana represents the exact opposite of the western perception of floral beauty. It is about the minor and the hidden beauty as opposed to the obvious. Rather than adding to nature the idea is to minimalize it.
Ikebana encourages one to seek out ordinary materials in all stages of life to transform into something extraordinary. By doing this you begin to notice more, seeing beauty in imperfections and simplicity of expression.
Wherever the day may take you, open your eyes to the beauty to the ever-changing cycle of seasons.

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Arranged with feeling, Ikebana can breathe life into your home, evoking emotions that capture attention if only for a passing moment.
I remember rushing through busy, crowded train stations and department stores in Tokyo, where you can sometimes see Ikebana displayed, as I approached it never failed to capture my attention, for a moment I would slow down, then continue on my way feeling enriched. I hope to bring that same feeling into the lives of others by practising Ikebana and capturing on print that brief moment in time.
By nature, Ikebana is an ‘art of the moment’. Each season, like each life, has a deliberate beginning and a deliberate end. This is the beauty of Ikebana, we accept it as temporal, appreciate its presence, then let it go… Day by day as flowers and leaves mature, constant changes can be observed portraying the cycle of life. Ikebana encourages us to recognise the values in each stage of life, not only the given beauty of youth.
Bringing each changing season into your interior space is refreshing. Changes need not be costly, small subtle adjustments are all that’s needed. A few stems of flowers, a branch, or fallen leaves arranged with feeling, can breathe the life of the current season into your home.
Altering displays of art work with each season brings instant change to an interior. I especially welcome prints of scarce flowers amidst bare branches in those darkest winter months. Then, as spring gathers pace, the long awaited colourful delights are inspirational. Welcoming change into your interior space throughout each year stimulates growth and renewal in all aspects of life. Ikebana conveys the message that change should be embraced, not feared.
Donna Canning
Ikebana Artist
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