So, after a long winded creative hiatus, (yes, yet another one), of almost 10 months, I have managed to find time for a new creative outlet despite my busy non-art related work schedule. I am forever meaning to make art my full time job but it's just not a viable process at this time. It is frustrating, but I am grateful for what I have and for the opportunities I am given. With all the awfulness happening in the world, I am finding it harder and harder to even hint at complaining about my own situation or to feel sorry for myself. Sure, everything is relative, but let's face it... there are people with far bigger problems than not being able to make art every day. However, I am making an effort to keep the creative juices flowing.
Those that know me or my work are obviously aware of my love for Japanese art and culture and know how heavily they, along with my travels to Japan, have influenced my work and inspired my creatively. I have recently been fortunate enough to start taking Ikebana lessons - something I have wanted to try since my second visit to Japan in 2005. I have found a wonderful and very lovely teacher an hours drive away. Chieko is a qualified teacher from the Shogetsudo-Koryu School of Ikebana. She is not only a wonderful teacher but also a wonderful host. Her Japanese hospitality, inclusive of green tea and Japanese or homemade sweets and treats, is an absolute delight and each week, for 1-2 hours, I feel like I am back in Japan without the language barrier, although I have been trying to polish up my limited Japanese vocabulary with her and she is very encouraging and full of praise.
I am only three lessons in and already I feel I have learnt so much, despite having so much yet to learn, about such an ancient and beautiful art in the form of flower arranging. Enjoyable, meditative, serene, inspiring, contemplative... the lessons are all these things to me.
My first three arrangements with the guidance of Chieko.
* week 1 - using Fern Ruscus, Dahlias and Easter Daisies
(my dogs, Aspen and Teak, thrown in for good measure)
* week 2 - using Camellia and Chrysanthemums
* week 3 - using some sort of Autumnal berries (don't know name), Chrysanthemums and Rose Berry
This week there was no lesson as Chieko was involved in the instalment of an exhibition. I missed our little weekly ritual but decided to continue practicing at home using cuttings from the garden and sake in the place of green tea.
This is my effort without Chieko's guidance and with the assistance of sake! Kanpai!