Well that was a bit different!
We weren’t quite sure how it would work but felt it was worth the gamble and it really paid off. Susan Solomon, Master of Sujitsu Ikebana led 11 of us in a fascinating, highly entertaining and thoroughly eye opening afternoon. The Little Space was filled with buckets of flowers and greenery, the surfaces covered in Susan’s collection of vases – many made by herself and others acquired over the years since her interest in Ikebana was sparked when passing through a display in a Singapore Hotel many years ago. The need for interesting vases that complemented her Ikebana arrangements further expanded her artistic endeavours to include ceramics. Her vases are now sold in The Australian Design Centre Shop and Fanuli Furniture.
It took 10 years and 15 arduous exams to qualify as a Master of Ikebana during which she had to learn all of the strict rules of the art form before she could have the freedom to break them. Now, having internalised the discipline of Ikebana she feels free to let her creativity take the lead.
Susan illustrated the basic principals of Ikebana using photographed examples of her work and then blew us away by demonstrating how she used a variety of carefully chosen greenery, flowers, sticks collected on her morning walks around Rushcutter’s Bay and even a red capsicum and 4 long red chillies to make stunning, balanced and simple yet complex arrangements that were so different to our usual Western principals of more is better.
Despite the challenges of distilling 15 years of study into an hour’s teaching session, we threw ourselves into our own Ikebana(-ish) arrangements with great enthusiasm and there was much mutual admiration and constructive criticism.
As Susan predicted, some arrangements seemed to come together effortlessly whilst others took much greater time, effort and concentration to achieve.
Susan was encouraging and delighted in our attempts which really weren’t too bad, considering. Some, such as Jan’s below we all thought were very passable indeed.
Susan is keen to offer a series of 4 weekly teaching workshops over a month or so to allow students to develop a greater understanding of the art form and more time to practice under her careful eye. If any readers are interested, please comment below or get in touch via our email: firstname.lastname@example.org