July 8, 2017 Janaki presenting the summary of accounts and Secretary's Report The study group resumed after the summer break amidst much excitement and was well attended, with 16 members present. The workshop got under way with a summary of accounts and ...

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"Ikebana and us" - 5 new articles

  1. July workshop - Haiku--Poetry and Ikebana
  2. The 90th anniversary celebrations at Tokyo
  3. Ikebana Exhibition / Workshop at Phoenix Market City
  4. Our annual exhibition
  5. Botany Meets Fresh Flowers
  6. More Recent Articles

July workshop - Haiku--Poetry and Ikebana

July 8, 2017
Janaki presenting the summary of accounts
and Secretary's Report
The study group  resumed after the summer break  amidst much excitement and was well attended, with 16 members present. 

The workshop   got under way with a summary of accounts and Secretary’s report presented by Janaki.  Mrs. Malathi Pandurang announced the themes and resource persons for the coming months.

Ambika creating the tranquil  pond scene
Sensei Ambika chose a wonderful theme for her demo—“My experience with haiku and ikebana” and briefly introduced members to haiku poetry. She read out translations of two  poems that inspired her to do the arrangements. Ambika had written her own haiku to celebrate the welcoming carpet of yellow flowers in her parents’ garden. 

Members were fascinated by the concept and the facility with which Ambika recreated verse into perfect ikebana pieces. 

Of three arrangements she did, the first one was based on a frog jumping into a pond and the stillness broken by this. The simple materials she used were perfect for a pond scene and a pebble was thrown in to show the frog jumping. Ripples were created using thin flexible twigs and the end result was a feeling of tranquility amidst nature. 

 Furu ike ya
kawazu tobikomu
mizu no oto

Breaking the silence
of an ancient pond
a frog jumped into water
a deep resonance

Matsuo Basho
One can feel the stillness of the pond.  Anthurium leaves, lemon grass, Amaralis lilies, berries and jasmine branches for line.
Ambika moved on to the next arrangement evocative of an ancient well overgrown with morning glory and a tangle of creepers that make it impossible for the poet to access the well water.  She skillfully depicted this with a brown nagiere vase, ferns and allamanda.

asagao ni
tsurube torarete
morai mizu

Morning glory
The well bucket entangled
I ask for water

Fukuda Chiyo ni  

The tangle of morning glory covering the well, a brown nagiere vase, 
ferns and allamanda being the ideal choice for this 

 The beautiful yellow carpet fades
as the gnarled tree watches.


Inspired by the haiku poems Ambika wrote this poem recalling the pretty yellow carpet of flowers under the bottle brush tree in her parents' home. She used a peltaforum branch, yellow chrysanthemums and fallen Peltaforum flowers to showcase this beautiful scene.

The welcoming carpet of flowers under the bottlebrush
 tree in Ambika's parents' home

The members then got down to doing their pieces on minimalistic freestyle and it was a treat to watch so many interpretations of the theme. 

Sensei Malathi  used a light green vase to showcase her aspidistra leaf interestingly split,  and a solitary Copsia for a touch of colour.
Sensei Trishala reflects the angular vase using anthurium flower  and leaf.
Pushkala chose an abstract vase resembling a seated lady
gracefully balancing the subtle pink flower and leaves
Prerana’s arrangement is minimalistic with the single large alocasia leaf
depicting strength. The flower though colourful is shy and hiding behind the leaf. 
Sensei Prerana has used the sweep of the spray can to showcase  a single sprig of purple orchid
The flat vase, twigs and interesting placement of anthuriums create a wind blown effect by
Sensei Meenakshi  
Sensei Dalley used tall grass, pink flowers and brown nagiere vase in this 
simple cheerful piece. An additional ceramic piece adds an element of interest

White plumeria  flowers and dracaena in a blue ceramic nageire vase
 was Sensei Divya’s choice for flowers fresh from the garden.
Chitra Thiagarajan created a natural look with a tree bark  as a base for dracaena and orange zerberas.
Bhuvana used a fragile looking bright blue vase with a designof cracked lines. She used  dry twigs to match the crisscross lines and bright orange zerbera for colour.
Pastel pink contrasted with deep maroon; simplicity and grace combine to make a pleasing arrangement by Sathya
Sensei Janaki chose allamanda and calladium from her garden, using two  vases to blend the various coloursin a seamless arrangement.
We look forward to the August workshop.

The 90th anniversary celebrations at Tokyo

Four senseis of our Sogetsu Study Group Chennai attended the 90th Anniversary celebrations at Sogetsu HQ in Tokyo, from the 5th of April until the 10th April 2017.

Details of the exhibition are in the link below.

Our Senseis Malathi, Prerana, Trishala and Meenalskhi, returned, inspired and motivated, with lots of memories and experiences.  For us in the Study Group, the award received by Sensei Malathi was a double bonus!

Sensei Prerana recalls:

  "Seeing the school for the first time is awe inspiring.Before entering u r struck by a huge rock with the Sogetsu emblem carved on it.Walking through the school had a very sublime effect on me.The celebrations were in full swing with everyone so engrossed in creating Ikebana."

Sensei Akane writes in the Sogetsu website:"  I decided to entrust the venue design to design office nendo led by world-renowned designer Mr. Oki Sato, and arrange a collaboration with artists who belong to the Tomio Koyama Gallery."
The workshop

Prerana - "The workshop was a learning experience coupled with some humour by the Ikebana Sensei Koka Fukushima.  It was art and craft incorporated with subtleness."

The workshop handled by Sensei Koka was to update teachers regarding the textbook 5 curriculum. 

Sensei Koka is an old friend of Chennai having visited us and
demonstrated in the city,
two times in the past.
With a portrait of the Late Iemoto Kasumi
Exhibit on the 5th Floor
In the Japanese room

2nd Floor exhibition

The award ceremony and the demonstration

Settling down for the start of the event.
The Award Ceremony was solemn. Mrs. Abe was the chief guest for both Award Ceremony and the Performance.

Six senior Awardees received their awards individually. Their citations were read out, and handed over amidst applause and bowing.

The other awardees names including sensei Malathi, came on the screen, with supporting photographs.

The citation and scroll were handed over later on, and here are some pictures of the aesthetically and beautifully written award.

A proud moment for all of us in the Study Group and we congratulate our Chairperson on this much deserved award!

Sensei Malathi recounts - "The ikebana performance by Iemoto Akane in the sprawling  amphitheatre was superb. There was drums, shamisen music performance while she performed. Also hi tech simulation and art side by side. It was a very dynamic and unusual show. "

The day was Grand, punctual and efficient in all ways.There were 1360 delegates and 136 tables at the sayonara banquet.  All our vegetarian members were served a wonderful 5-course spread!

Prerana concludes - "The convention and banquet were at another level.The glamour quotient was wonderful with Akane taking centre stage.The finale arrangement was breadth taking.The drum beats and the laser effect brought all of us on our feet with a thunderous applause.

The banquet dinner saw Iemoto Akane completely relaxed and in her element.The food was served with so much grace.We raised a toast for Sogetsu Ikebana completing 90 yrs on the planet.

Gave all of us an opportunity to meet Ikebana artists from around the world and interact with them.The night ended with all of us with happily tired but on a high.  The hospitality of the Japanese  will remain with us for a long long time."

The trip was completed with sakura viewing and a Japan homestay for a truly memorable fortnight.


Ikebana Exhibition / Workshop at Phoenix Market City

Sensei Molly sends this report:

It was indeed a privilege to join hands with PHOENIX Marketcity in the celebration of 'Japan Week' from April 20-23, 2017. Displayed 10 Ikebana arrangements along with Bonsai plants from ' BODHI' - The Chennai Bonsai Association.

Ikebana arrangements were by four students and me. The students did simple but meaningful arrangements based on the lessons completed.

Chief Guest was Hiroko Taniguchi, Deputy Consul General, Consulate of Japan. She inaugurated the Exhibition as well as the Ikebana Workshop.

My first arrangement was basic upright style using red carnations and sansevieria in black ceramic suiban. I did three more, two based on lessons and one free style. Used materials easily available in Chennai.
Freestyle composition demonstration
22 participants including few foreigners and couple of students attended the 2 hours long workshop. Each participant was given a terracotta suiban, flowers and foliage. Seating arrangement was not that of a typical class room. There were many round tables, each shared by 2/3 participants. This has created an informal atmosphere and the interactions were easier. Many participants were eager to know more about Sogetsu Ikebana and its activities in Chennai.

Sensei Molly and Chitra Rajan with the demo arrangements

The participants were given the container, scissors, flowers etc used by them. All of them were eager to practise once they reach home. The workshop was followed by a high tea for all.

Meanwhile The Hindu also had this to say:
It might be sweltering outside, but once you step into the mall, you are transported to a spring wonderland. As Phoenix MarketCity dons a visually enchanting decor themed Spring Time in Japan, cherry blossoms and a zen garden with a water feature set the mood for shoppers.
Bonsai pots with casuarina and green island ficus dot the corridors; the exhibits were inaugurated by Hiroko Taniguchi, Deputy Consul-General, Consulate of Japan.
The event also saw Molly Cherian, a certified instructor from Sogetsu Ikebana, Chennai Chapter, conduct a beginner-level workshop on Ikebana. Cherian has been involved with Ikebana for more than 30 years now, and frequently conducts workshops at schools and colleges.
She was assisted by Chitrah Rajah and explained how Ikebana stands for arranging flowers in a container that can hold water. Cherian patiently walked the participants through how to cut the stems, measure them, and choose flowers.
Flowers such as carnations were used, and Cherian taught participants four different styles of Ikebana. 

By Roopa
By Niloufer
By Susan
By Niloufer


Our annual exhibition

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.

Botany Meets Fresh Flowers

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. 
Sensei Trishala Vaishnav shares tips on palm weaving
Senseis  Prerana Mehta and  Trishala Vaishnav  handled the session, and it  was a special day for Trishala as she is an alumnus of the College. Prerana began with a 10-minute introduction on Ikebana, followed by a demo of the Basic Upright style  by Trishala and Basic Slanting style by Prerana. They also did a freestyle arrangement each, and everything went smoothly as they had meticulously planned  and prepared for the day.
Sensei Prerana Mehta doing a freestyle arrangement

Sensei Prerana creates fluid movement 

Sensei Trishala uses woven palms
 to offset the yellow chrysanthemums

Sensei Trishala's basic slanting style arrangement

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.

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