18th July 2018
|Mr Kojiro Uchiyama, welcomed with flowers of course!|
The Study Group gathered again after the summer break, and what a nice way to kickstart our activities again! We had the pleasure of a visit by the new Consul General of Japan and his wife, Mr Kojiro and Mrs Karen Uchiyama, accompanied by Ms Megumi Shimada, Consul for Cultural Affairs and Information, whom we all know as a well-wisher and friend of the Sogetsu Study Group.
|Mrs Karen Uchiyama|
This tea meeting was held at The Savera, a city hotel, who were helpful and accommodating of our needs for buckets, water and other odds and ends that are unique to Ikebana needs!
Mr and Mrs Uchiyama are no strangers to India, having served at the embassy in New Delhi several years ago. In fact, they were familiar with our Sogetsu friends from New Delhi, and spoke fondly of the flower friendships and cooperation during their stay there.
|The meeting was well attended, with 17 of our members joining in.|
Our Chairperson Mrs Malathi Pandurang introduced the guests to the Group, and in turn, also introduced our Group and our activities to the guests. Mr and Mrs Uchiyama gave us their remarks and we were immediately touched by their warmth and openness, as they shared their personal experiences of India and Ikebana with us. They took time enjoying the Ikebana compositions put up by the Senseis, and also enjoyed dialogues with members over some hot tea and delicious bondas!
We do look forward to many more such interactions, and of course working closely with the Consulate in the years to come.
Study Group Meeting and agenda
Our members assembled for our meeting, which preceded the tea reception with the chief guests. The Senseis put up their freestyle compositions and then we got down to the business agenda.
The report of activities of the previous year were summed up by Ambika while Janaki presented the accounts. She formally handed over the treasurership to Chelvi. Programmes Secretary position was formally handed over by Divya to Bhuvana. The Group was unanimous in wishing the new committee good luck and in thanking the previous office bearers for a job well done.
The freestyle exhibits
|Sensei Malathi created a composition using the inner drum of her geyser - Oriental |
lilies, Ixora leaves, Dracaena and Gypsophila. The wabi sabi look of the container
drew a lot of comments!
|Sensei Divya highlighted the driftwood line in this composition with Jerberas, Gyposphila and lily leaves. |
Mrs Uchiyama appreciated the driftwood.
|Prerana sensei created some magic with lights from within a cane ball placed on a fibreglass moribana container. |
They provided soft backlights for the carnations and chrysanthemums.
|An aged and blackened copper pot was used by Ambika sensei to create a circular movement with the use of |
Hosta lily leaves and Gypsophila, swirling around the upright Asia lilies and chrysanthemums.
|Sensei Padma complemented the beautiful glass container with a mass of Curry leaf (Murraya koenigii) |
fruits. Mrs Uchiyama was fascinated by this use of the common Indian spice leaf,
and Mr Uchiyama enjoyed the restrained simplicity of the composition.
|It was wonderful to welcome back to active participation Meenakshi sensei, whom we have missed for a whole year, |
for health reasons. She used lilies and vine in this fibre glass basket.
|The riot of yellow, orange and pink colours that Janaki sensei so skilfully harmonised was a showstopper, and |
delighted everyone! She combined Gulmohar with two colours of bougainvillea in a ceramic vase.
|Sensei Trishala highlighted the lines of Dieffenbachia leaves in her glass and |
wood vase and complemented them with the lines of painted cane and Curly
willow, with the chrysanthemums adding a colour focus.
|Molly sensei created a composition of dramatic lines with dried branches of Jasmine, beautifully balanced |
with a mass of Combretum constrictum flowers and variegated spider plant leaves
Each composition was unique and different, and what a wonderful way for us to restart activities for the year!
We were hoping that Mr Ranganathan of ABK AOTS Dosokai would also be able to participate, but he was held up with family commitments, and sent us his best wishes.
Our August workshop has been fixed for 18th of this month at ABK Sakura Hall at 11 AM. Sensei Meenakshi Sarin will be doing the demonstration and followed by the workshop by all members. The theme for the demo and workshop is "Hope in Adversity".
April 19th 2018
As summer has well and truly set in in our city, it was but appropriate to have a workshop with the theme of summer. Ten members were present for the workshop.
Sensei Dalley kicked off our meeting with a pleasing demonstration, with dramatic driftwood in each arrangement.
Summer brought to mind the dry branches that await the rain.
She began with a moribana, no-kenzan arrangement in a ceramic suiban. She spoke about looking to balance her driftwood pieces naturally without a fixture, that was her aim.
|Sensei Dalley's first arrangement "Summer in the Woods", with the natural balance of the driftwood, the newly sprouting leaves and flowers.|
She had a most interesting anecdote about her second vase, which as you can see, is a burl, hollowed out tree trunk! This neem tree branch had grown around the iron angle that adorned her compound wall, and in fact enveloped it. When cut, it revealed this lovely hollow!
|Using the burl as vase, the browns of the orchid complemented the vase, while in the circular motion of her branches mirrored the patterns on the wood.|
|Using a copper plate that has oxidised with exposure to the air, sensei Dalley began her third composition with more driftwood.|
|Using the leaves of Sea Grape, she nestled a few carnations and created the effect of shade under a large tree - something that is most welcome in the summer months.|
Sensei Dalley wished to end with an offerring of two Chabana compositions. These flowers from her garden were used to create the simple, natural look that is typical of the "thrown-in", nagiere style of chabana.
Sensei Dalley explained that flowers in chabana are usually seasonal and short-lived.
After that delightful demonstration, it was time for the members to try their hands at summer compositions. It was interesting to see the various associations that people had with summer.
|For Jyotsna, summer was the time for tall cool drinks maybe? "The sun shines, but we have a cool state of mind, " she says. Cherry tomatoes in a transparent vase, with the bright colours of summer.|
|For sensei Malathi, summer is reflected in her dry garden, fallen flowers, and the tenuous hold of new life. She says, "Dry hot winds made the dry leaves and flowers fall but those fallen on the water touched my heart."|
Materials dracena and copsia. Shallow ceramic container
|Bhuvana created this composition with mangoes, her best memory of summer!|
|"Scorching heat, Cold watermelon", says sensei Prerana, as she combined the fruit in a white porcelain vase, with a dry branch and maroon orchids.|
|For Sathya, the Copper Pod trees that line our streets are a strong summer scene.|
|And finally, sensei Ambika showed a harsh summer, with the roots depicting the leafless trees, the dry dahlias symbolic of fallen leaves, and the bright sun that beats down on us.|
The session was followed by fellowship and laughter over lunch, as we bade goodbye to each other, until we meet again on the other side of summer!
And here are some arrangements, with filters, just for some experimentation.
|Aim is to highlight the yellow, in a painting-like effect.|
|Bringing out the colours of the fallen flowers|
|A summer vignette|
March 20th 2018
Four of our members had travelled to Delhi to witness the demonstration of Iemoto designate of Ichiyo school, Naohiro Kasuya. Watching and absorbing techniques and approaches of other schools of Ikebana is always a enriching experience.
For our March meeting, the members hsared heir experiences, pictures and impressions of this demonstration with other members. The emphasis on natural balance and the Iemoto designate's artistic interpretations of his impressions of India were fascinating and enjoyable.
This was followed by our election agenda.
There was unanimous election of the following:
Chairperson - Mrs Malathi Pandurang
Deputy Chairperson - Mrs Ambika Chandrasekar
Secretary - Mrs Bhuvana Shivshankaran
Treasurer - Mrs Chelvi Gopinath
They will take over in June 2018, for the 2018 to 2020 period.
23rd and 24th Feb 2018
The Sogetsu Study Group Chennai had its annual exhiition at Focus Art Gallery in Egmore. It was our first time exhibiting in this gallery, and members enjoyed the aesthetic ambience. Our exhibition pictures are here.
Click on the link above to see the gallery of pictures, regarding the inaugurations, the visitors and the compositions. Short videos on the speeches by our chief guests are also in the album.
It was a colourful and memorable affair!
|Our exhibition opens tomorrow|
A curtain-raiserIn the spirit of the rising sun
“Ikebana is an ancient art, which entered Japan along with Buddhism. The flowers used were traditional ones, like azaleas, offered to the deity in monasteries,” explains Malathi Pandurang, chairperson of the Sogetsu Study Group.
Pandurang goes on to describe how, in an ancient monastery in Kyoto, a priest sat observing a pond and the flowers that grew on it. It occurred to him to use both these as elements of art , “which is why the art form is called Ikebana; ‘ike’ means water and ‘bana’ refers to plant material.” Pandurang has been practising this art for the past four decades, and follows the Sogetsu school of Ikebana. It is one of myriad schools, each with its set of rules and techniques of arrangement. Through her study group, Pandurang and her team have been working to learn, teach and spread this art in Chennai.
“Chennai weather is the biggest deterrent,” she says, adding, “The advantage is that no other city has foliage like this. So, we use more of greens and less of flowers in our work.”
The other reason for this choice of style is the availability of flowers in the region. “Unlike our tropical flowers, which are strong in scent but with short lives, traditional Japanese flowers would last in the the monasteries for a week,” she says. In Chennai, the team uses pre-cut flowers, as well as fresh seasonal flowers. “The seasonal peacock flower is one of those we prefer to give students who are just starting out,” she says.
Her authority on the subject is well founded. Over the years, Pandurang has stayed in touch with every single Iemoto — or grandmaster — of the original Sogetsu school in Japan, and witnessed the direction each one took the art form towards.
“Founded by Sofu Teshigahara, the school has thrived under four different Iemotos,from the Teshigahara family. The title of Iemoto is hereditary, and can be translated as “grandmaster” or “founder”, she says via email, “Founder Sofu was attracted by old, worm-eaten wood, what he called ‘Nature’s Sculpture’, favouring the camellia flower. Daughter Kasumi loved lacquer-ware, especially the traditional Japanese handcart, and her heart went to small, light-coloured flowers which she would use in abundance. Son Hiroshi on the other hand, with a background in film-making and ceramics, loved to work with bamboo, and the Sogetsu displays became bold, large and dynamic. Hiroshi’s daughter Akane, is the current Iemoto , and she has moved further creatively, experimenting with combining other art forms and highlighting the process of creation itself.”
The Chennai Sogetsu Study Group will showcase its work at an exhibition ‘Exploring Movement, Expressing Shakti’ at Focus Art Gallery, on February 23 and 24.
Flowers for a Pharaoh
Flower arranging dates back to ancient Egypt. Apparently, the Egyptians were the first to cut and place flowers in a vase to decorate and add colour to their surroundings.
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