April 20th 2020 With the Covid Lockdown in Chennai, it was not possible to have a face to face meeting or workshop. Instead, we had a "virtual" meeting via our WhatsApp group. The theme was "Miniatures Challenge" - the idea being to create Ikebana with ...
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"Ikebana and us" - 5 new articles

  1. Ikebana in the time of lockdown. Our April workshop of Miniatures with materials available at our homes. - Google Photos
  2. March election meeting and an unusual demonstration
  3. Celebrating the Emperor's birthday
  4. Collaborating on mall installations of Cholamandal artist Jacob
  5. Demonstrating at the Palladium Mall by Senseis Molly and Trishala
  6. More Recent Articles

Ikebana in the time of lockdown. Our April workshop of Miniatures with materials available at our homes. - Google Photos

April 20th 2020


With the Covid Lockdown in Chennai, it was not possible to have a face to face meeting or workshop.  Instead, we had a "virtual" meeting via our WhatsApp group.  The theme was "Miniatures Challenge" - the idea being to create Ikebana with whatever we find in our homes.  So while some members had to be really innovative using dry material,  grape stems, clay creations and tomatoes, others had the luxury of their spring home gardens.

We had 24 members participating, the highest we have had for any workshop! Click on the link below to enjoy the creativity and enterprise of our Chennai Sogetsu Study Group members!

Ikebana in the time of lockdown. Our April workshop of Miniatures with materials available at our homes. - Google Photos


March election meeting and an unusual demonstration

10th March 2020

13 of us gathered at ABK AOTS Dosokai, at the start of the Coronavirus spreading in India.  We were cautious to maintain social distance, and used namastes to greet each other, rather than our customary warm handshakes and hugs!

It was unanimously decided to request our current office bearers to continue for another term, and they readily accepted.  Ms Bhuvana Shivshankaran will be the program Coordinator and Ms Chelvi Gopinath the Treasurer.

A novel experiment was done.  In order to give the budding sensei-to-be senior students a chance to demonstrate from the back, they were encouraged to do one basic lesson from the rear.  The lesson was chosen by lots.

Chitra Rajan demonstrated Variation 1 moribana Slanting style,
with a lovely dry branch and roses.

With her arrangement, a smile of accomplishment!

The beautiful completed arrangement. 

Next Bhuvana was to demonstrate Variation 3 Slanting moribana.

With her arrangement and a ready shy smile!

The lovely clear lines of ixora for Variation 3 with hikae coming forward, with bunched up jerberas.

Chitra Thiagarajan was given Variation 6 all round, for her
demonstration from the back.  Doesn't she have a naughty smile?!
Skilful use of the large monstera leaves, Heliconia flowers, fox tailed a few gypsofilia completed the arrangement.

Chitra T also received her certificates for Book 1-4, congratulations!

It was a beautiful and confident show by Chitra R, Bhuvana and Chitra T and they are well on the way to becoming accomplished senseis!
We wound up the meeting with congratulations and farewells but not before we had some lovely refreshments courtesy Divya and Prerana.


Celebrating the Emperor's birthday

Feb 20th 2020

On the occasion of the Emperor of Japan's birthday reception, it is customary for the Consulate of Japan, Chennai to get in touch with our Chairperson, Sensei Malathi, to embellish the hall with a work of Ikebana.                          It was no different this year, though the big difference was that this was the first reception for Emperor Naruhito, who was crowned in May 2019.
The space required that the arrangement be no taller than 3 feet, and was to one side of the podium, whilst on the other Sensei Cherry Venkatesh of the Ohara school would be displaying her work.

Using tall vases this time meant that the arrangement of flowers needed to occupy a more horizontal space.

The final composition - Chrysanthemums, Ibericum berries, gypsofilia.  Do notice the touch of gold on the leaves.

Ohara school's Cherry Venkatesh worked on the other side of the podium.

Mrs Karen Uchiyama was intrigued by the arrangement, and discussed with sensei Malathi who explained that the pair of vases are her greetings extended to the new Emperor and Empress.  The Chrysanthemums symbolise their throne, the berries wish them long life, and the gold shows a special celebration.

Sensei Malathi, Mrs Uchiyama and Mrs Venkatesh

It was a beautiful evening, with the Consul speaking of the long connections between our countries, and so graciously acknowledging and thanking both Mrs Pandurang and Mrs Venkatesh for their lovely creations, which brought a bit of Japan to Chennai.

Collaborating on mall installations of Cholamandal artist Jacob

Jan 24th 2020

After our enriching and interesting experience of doing our annual exhibition at the Cholamandal Artists' Village earlier in the month, there was an interesting request from Jacob Jebaraj, the Cholamandal artist.  He was participating in the Madras Art Guild's Connecting Communities Through Art exhibition at VR Mall, with three installations that used discarded material for the most part.

His installations were ready, and would we care to add fresh material and bring in the essence of Ikebana into these pieces?  Our member Sathya G, who resides at Cholamandal, was the coordinator for this whole project.

VR Mall is a busy mall in the Anna Nagar side of town, and they had given us permission to work on these installations only after 830 pm!  So it was that Sathya, Mrs Jacob and Ambika set off from the ECR side at 630pm and reached the venue after a maddeningly slow and tortuous ride at 845 in the evening.

They were armed with long-lasting flowers like Strelitzia and Ginger Lily, and water tubes as also cotton and cellophane paper to make sure the flowers get a drink of water.

This was the first one we worked on.  Jacob had created a driftwood tree, filled with various
discarded material.  Ambika and Sathya used only the Strelitzia to add drama and colour to the
composition, with leaves lower down, and this is how it looked when they were done.
This installation was placed just at the lift entrance in the ground floor lobby
 Here is another view, and the title board that was put up.  Jacob aimed to bring an aesthetic appreciation of the environment and what we discard, combining Ikebana and the Chinese form Suiseki.

It was close to 10 by the time we finished this piece and so the group trooped up for a quick dinner, before starting on the next piece.

For this second installation, Jacob had created flowers from plastic bottles, and this splendid tree
did not need any more colour.  So, with a bunch of palm, crotons and aralea, Ambika and Sathya
gave the tree some greenery, making it feel more "alive".

Jacob titled this as "Openness"

It was close to midnight when they moved to the last installation, which was a dramatic spreading piece.  

Various discarded human-created elements - from slippers, to broken bottles to thrown away toys - formed colourful accents on the floor, while dramatic lines supported what looked like the beach weeds, as they moved upwards and outwards.  The Ikebana team used ginger torch lily to complement the look and feel of this composition, as also Dracaena,
whose colour merged well with the piece.  

It was a interesting experiment and experience for Ambika and Sathya, and we hope the start of more collaborations across the arts.


Demonstrating at the Palladium Mall by Senseis Molly and Trishala

11th January 2020

The high-end Palladium Mall, adjacent to Phoenix City Mall, organised a multi-cultural morning, exclusively for women.  The event was organised by Glass Box, an Event Management Company.  They presented different activities like artistic Ikebana, creative zentangles, nail art,  calligraphy etc. All these various activities went on at the same time, in the large common area of the mall, near the Food Court.  Separate space was allocated for each activity with nice tables and comfortable chairs.
While few participants registered early whereas others just walked in.  Altogether we had 10 participants.

Both sensei were helped efficiently by Ms Luna Bose 

The Ikebana demonstration was in two sessions of one hour each. Sensei Molly started the first one,  with one Freestyle composition mainly to attract the passers by.

This attracted the attention of few more passersby who walked in.

Sensei Molly then demonstrated three basic lessons. 

Towards the end, she demonstrated one more free style arrangement.
Then sensei Trishala took over.

After demonstrating a few lesson arrangements, se also demonstrated freestyle artistic ikebana.

Sensei Trishala's trademark plaited palm to dramatic effect

The final piece by sensei Trishala

The event was a big success.  Two participants showed keen interest to learn further. In fact, one of the persons, attended both sessions! They were given the pamphlet detailing the activities of Sogetsu Ikebana Chapter in Chennai.

It has been a busy January for our senseis!!

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