March 18th and 19th, 2017
ABK AOT Dosokai Hall, Chennai
The Sogetsu Study Group took part in the Japanese cultural exhibition organised by ABK. The Annual show popularises Ikebana, Bonsai, Origami, Judo and other Japanese cultural activities.
There were eighteen exhibits by our members, and these were greatly enjoyed by the visiting public.
|Nagiere composition by Malathi sensei. Dressina, carnations, Baby's Breath and Lily in a ceramic vase|
|Nagiere composition by Seethalakshmi, in her trademark granite vase. |
Sapota branches, with carnations and white chrysanthemums
|Sensei Prerana's composition in a Sogetsu school vase. |
Strelitzia, anthuriums and Baby's Breath.
|Chrysanthemums of two colours were used by Pushkala in an|
interesting vase created with woven fabric.
|Moribana free style by Sensei Padma in an exquisite lacquer bowl,|
composed with Monstera leaves, Alstromera,
yellow carnations and green line material.
|Sensei Meenu's moribana composition with orchids, chrysanthemums, dry vine and green leaf material.|
| Composition by Bhuvana in an unusual container, with Oriental Lily, |
vine and assorted material
|Sensei Molly's nagiere composition with Crab Claws and tropical greens|
|Divya sensei's moribana composition with twin pinholders|
|Sensei Janaki's moribana using bulrush and complementary fillers, in a ceramic vase.|
|Chitra Rajan also experimented with a fish-path, twin kenzan composition,|
using cocolobo branches, pink anthuriums and orchids.
|Chelvi created an upright nagiere with jerberas, chrysanthemums, crotons and |
elegant wild grass flowers.
|Sensei Dalley created a large canvas for her composition with the use of two containers, |
and the strong use of a monotone colour added drama.
|Beautiful plaited palm is the hallmark of Sensei Trishala's piece.|
|Chitra Thiagarajan creatively combined fruit and flower in this |
free expression moribana.
|Shylaja's naturalistic style composition relied on the |
spontaneity of the bulrush lines and the vivid colours of the chrysanthemums.
Women’s Christian College
Ikebana Demonstration/ Workshop
February 20, 2017
Women’s Christian College, Chennai organised a demonstration/workshop of Ikebana to introduce students of the Botany department to this beautiful art form. 45 students were present for the session from 8.15 to 11 am. The Department staff and Head of Department too were present throughout the event and were very encouraging.
It was then time for the students to put their newly learnt skills into practice. They worked in groups of three and were given complete sets of vases, flowers, greens, cutters and kenzans to work with. Our senseis were very happy about the outcome and how well students had picked up the concept. It is easy to imagine how well Prerana and Trishala conveyed their enthusiasm and joy to the group!
|Students keenly observing the demo...|
and the joy shows too!
|Students convey joy and freshness with red and green|
|Good use of the angular vase to show expanse of water|
|Pink roses spread across the vase |
make good use of its length
|Pretty in pink, with the flowers and vase going well together|
|Line and space are shown well, along with |
the expanse of water in the suiban
The highlight of the workshop, Prerana said, was not about the technical aspects as much as the enthusiasm and enjoyment of students, which showed in their arrangements. Students made their work easy by assisting in carrying the materials to the venue on the first floor. They evinced keen interest and were extremely well behaved during the session.
The HoD’s remark that they would remember this workshop even 25 years later was the best possible feedback they could get, and this is the kind of encouragement that nurtures the group.
February 10, 2017
This was a workshop with a twist—not theme based as always, but grew out of Mrs. Padma Swaminathan’s idea of exchanging vases. It was decided that flowers and greens too would be exchanged and this suggestion was welcomed by all. In most workshops the theme is fixed in advance, and members have ample time to plan the arrangement. But today the challenge was to create something from an unknown set of materials. Once everyone had assembled, the materials were numbered, lots picked and all good to go.
|"What's in store for me?" Members eagerly look for their lots|Eleven members were present and it was good to have Ambika in our midst again, as she had been unable to attend a couple of earlier workshops .
Mrs. Malathi Pandurang began with a brief introduction of Sensei Padma, who also demonstrated on-the-spot creativity, arranging in a deep brown ceramic vase, yellow and red gerbera and local green material. A single brown twig curving downwards created an expanse of space in this eye catching piece.
|Sensei Padma works her magic|
|A close up of her finished piece, |
evoking freshness and summer days
|Sensei Padma's work|
| Fresh and dried material come together in perfect harmony|
in the experienced hands of Sensei Padma Swaminathan
A dramatic silence pervaded the room as members first observed the materials put together by others and pondered over how best to showcase them. Prerana said she had a feeling of going for an exam as she had to use materials not planned by her but by someone else!
|Sensei Padma combines angles and curves|
with colour for this piece using two kenzan
The end result was beauty and creativity that was truly inspiring and led us to believe that it is possible to rise up to any challenge if it is approached with an open mindset. As the proverb goes: " A picture is worth a thousand words" and so, here goes!
|An army green suiban, matching leaves and yellow roses inspire Sensei Janaki |
to recreate spheres with roses and the two halves of the palm leaf
The use of dried material by many members is a tribute to the faith of Chennai in the aftermath of cyclone Vardah, that this too shall pass and we will move forward again.
|Chitra Rajan uses two kenzan to create this piece-- "In Conversation", |
using trimmed palm leaf and gerberas blending with the green vase
|Yellow chrysanthemums and dried branch show|
line and mass in this piece by Sensei Dalley.
January 23, 2017
January is a month of celebrations, with the festivals of Pongal, Shankranthi, Lohri, Bihu, among others, celebrated across India. It is a season of plenty, marked by good food, colourful kolams/rangoli, family time, traditional dances and sporting events. In keeping with this, the theme of the first workshop of 2017 was Harvest.The day started as usual. The pro-jallikattu protests in Chennai had entered the sixth day, unprecedented in the city's history both due its peaceful nature and participation of people irrespective of age, gender, caste and any other distinction.
However, just as we were patting ourselves on our back, things took an ugly turn, and road blocks, arson, protests and traffic jams were reported from all corners of the city. This did not deter our members from setting out of their homes. Many were stuck in traffic and finally eight members were able to attend the workshop. As an exception due to circumstances beyond our control, Bhuvana and Chelvi made the arrangements at home and sent in pictures.
Sensei Meenakshi Sarin demonstrated three pieces on the day's theme.
|Sensei Meenakshi - Her arrangement using fresh turmeric roots denoting auspiciousness, sugarcane and yellow flowers for prosperity, set the mood for celebration.|
Farm animals are decorated with bright paint on their horns, and colorful garlands around their necks. Meenakshi found a unique piece of driftwood during her recent travels, and has used this, along with red and yellow flowers, to symbolise the worship of the animals that help in agriculture.
The third piece by Sensei Meenakshi conveyed the simplicity of the Japanese food plate, a work of art in minimalist style.
|The second composition by Sensei Meenu.|
The members then went on to create morimono pieces, using fruits, vegetables and flowers. Morimono has been part of the Japanese harvest festivals and is derived from the Japanese words moru, "to heap up" and mono "thing"--and denotes heaped up things. There is, however, a method to this, and the piece should convey a meaning or story. It may be simple, minimal or denote abundance and joy. The unique aspect of each material used should be the focal point of this arrangement.
|The third harvest composition by sensei Meenu|
|Sensei Malathi used a tall transparent nageire vase filled with wheat grains, topping it with a single yam to show harvest and beautifully curving leaves, conveying earthiness and new beginnings.|
|Sensei Padma used simple bamboo baskets with fresh carrots and tomatoes, heralding the harvest season. The yellow orchid --Dancing Lady-- shows bounty and used on auspicious occasions. The purple orchids brighten up the whole arrangement. |
A fresh frond of coconut flowers in a copper pot, sitting on a paddy-filled ceramic suiban--these materials are an integral part of any auspicious occasion. Divya brings them all together to create a simple yet striking festive mood.
|Sensei Divya - coconut frond|
|Chitra Rajan used a green pumpkin, hollowed out to create a vase, and the dark suiban showcases the bountiful vibrancy in harvest colours. Red and yellow enhance this effect.|
|A still life painting, no less, is how the piece by Chitra Thiagarajan may be described. A white bamboo tray is a perfect base for this work that harmonises abundance, colour, aesthetics--all that morimono stands for.|
|Sensei Prerana used a traditional "moram" as the base and painted it green to echo the harvest colours. A black ceramic vase kept flat made an interesting contrast for brinjals and corn cobs. Ornamental pineapple and flowers complete the festive look. |
|Bhuvana, having got stuck in traffic, was unable to attend the workshop, and sent in a picture of her morimono done at home. She chose a traditional brass pot used during Pongal celebrations, with gourds,fruits and dry materials to portray Ganesha--lord of plenty and prosperity.|
Chelvi too was in the same predicament and unfazed by the situation, came up with a lovely piece and sent in pictures. She used a small cane basket as the base for a yellow pumpkin, sliced open to double as a container. Contrasting fruits, roots and greens convey a deep connection with Mother Earth and its simplicity speaks volumes.
|Chelvi's composition - yellow pumpkin denotes the harvest season. It's open to indicate the innumerable opportunities that opens up in life. Apples that add colour and chillies that add spice to life, of course|
|Sugarcane, "moram" and ixora greens are Molly's choice for her Pongal themed arrangement. |
It was a day well spent, celebrating Nature's gift to us, and conveying this through Ikebana is a truly creative process. We are happy to share this with our readers and look forward to many more exciting workshops in the coming months.
December 19, 2016
The meeting began with Sensei Malathi requesting a minute’s silence in honour of our late Chief Minister Selvi Jayalalithaa and noted that she had been a strong person and capable leader.
It has been a difficult month for Chennai, what with the CM's demise being followed by the devastation of Chennai's green cover by cyclone Vardah which caused so many of the city's old and loved trees to be uprooted.
So it was with relief to look to our Ikebana to change the mood and welcome the festive season. Some members arrived late due to heavy traffic and were welcomed by an array of colourful arrangements. They lost no time in getting down to business and completing their work.
“Tis the season to be jolly”…yes, Christmas is round the corner and what better way to end the year!
The theme of the last workshop of 2016 was Christmas as a celebration or as an art, using the festive colours of red, white and green. 14 members were present and there was a true festive air.
Sensei Dally Verghese began the session with her arrangements and later spoke briefly about her experience with Ikebana. Always preferring to work quietly in the background, she had never imagined talking in front of a gathering. She acknowledged that learning Ikebana from Mrs. Malathi had enabled her not only to learn the art form but to overcome her inhibitions and address the group.
Sensei Dally displayed three very creative pieces-- the first was a burst of colour in a brick red nagiere vase with pine, red carnations and white chrysanthemums in abundance.
The second piece was a beige wooden base and vase, red and white flowers and bottlebrush leaves. The highlight was an elegant curved branch which Dally said she picked up from the IIT campus after the cyclone. It was a fitting tribute to Chennai’s spirit of survival in the face of crisis.
Sensei Malathi pointed out Dally’s innate aesthetic sense and eye for beauty and said this arrangement was beautifully coordinated in terms of the colours of materials used. The tender green leaves showed hope, she added.
A simple flat vase showcased a trio of red anthuriums with leaves from a plant that Dally said she found in a nursery and appealed to her.
It was time for the workshop, and the members' interpretation of Christmas was innovative and exuberant.
|Caladium and bottle brush flowers and leaves are|
Molly's choicefor bringing out the coulours of Christmas
|Prerana has used the banana leaf surface to advantage. |
A single gerbera adds contrast
|Chitra creates drama with a fan palm leaf,|
red chrysanthemums and whilte roses
|Pushkala's work is vibrant and welcoming, |
in keeping with the celebration mood
|A Christmas "gift basket" by Divya, a wooden stem|
quickly turned into the handle
|Simple elegance is Bhuvana's choice|
for this fresh, breezy piece
|Sensei Janaki's piece says: "We are ready to hit the dance floorand start the party!|
|Sensei Trishala used a palm leaf to good effect, along with aralia and gerberas|
|Shylaja used red anthurium sprayed with gold for a festive look,|
along with miniatures resembling damsels in frilled dresses
|Chelvi opted for Indian Christmas by using driftwood, dried coconut peduncles, |
tender coconut, gypsophilia and decorations for a touch of colour
Chitra Rajan too celebrates post-cyclone Chennai with a beautiful
dried branch, red roses, white chrysanthemums and greens
The workshop ended on a happy note, with Christmas and New Year wishes and holiday greetings, a promise of many more exciting meetings in 2017.
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