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  • The Art of Ikebana: Japanese Flower Arranging

    Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arranging. It means “making flowers alive” and is also known as kado (the way of the flower). Ikebana has a rich and interesting history in Japan and has also become popular in the West. You can find here a Online Design Tutorial on how to do a western interpretation of Ikebana. In this article, we’ll delve into its origins, its different schools, and the types of flowers commonly associated with ikebana. What is Ikebana? Ikebana is a specific practice of arranging flowers that relies heavily on Buddhist philosophy. Most importantly, it’s based on the Buddhist belief of preserving life, so the types of flowers - and even the shape of the vase - dictate how arrangements are made. Rather than just focusing on the flowers themselves, ikebana acknowledges other areas of the plant, such as the leaves and stems, and carefully considers form through lines and shapes. It’s often regarded as the meeting of nature and humanity and how one informs the other. Minimalism is common in ikebana, but isn’t exclusive. Often, arrangements may include only a few blossoms with greater emphasis on stems. As you might expect from such a disciplined style of flower arrangement, the seasons are very important. Not only does this influence the types of flowers used, but it also impacts how they’re arranged. For example, spring styles might include branches in unusual shapes to symbolise strong winds, and summer styles will often use low, open vases that show more water. This is believed to create a cooling effect in the hot weather. In short, ikebana is first and foremost a spiritual practice. Anyone who’s spent time arranging flowers will know the act is very calming, and it highlights the link between people and nature. The History of Ikebana Ikebana is believed to have started in Japan during the Heian period (794-1185). This is when Buddhism began in the country, and it’s a standard practice to leave flowers at Buddhist altars. Historians believe the art of flower arranging came to Japan from China when Buddhist priests travelled there for education. In its early stages, it was simply putting flowers in a vase but it quickly became a dedicated art form. By the 15th century, many flowers had developed symbolic meaning, and this led to ikebana becoming a more dedicated practice. It was still intimately associated with Buddhism but also became a more secular practice; flower arrangers were by now considered artists. Over the next few centuries, various schools developed that placed different emphasis on artistic elements. By the 19th century, Japanese people began growing Western plants, which led to a specific school, moribana. Ikebana didn’t really become popular in the West until the 20th century. There is evidence of its practice existing in Europe much further back, but it was growing international communication that led to its rise. Schools of Ikebana There are multiple schools of ikebana, each of which practices the art slightly differently. Each school has its own head, known as an iemoto, which is essentially a grand master. These positions regularly pass down through families. Some of the most notable schools include: Ikenobo, considered to be the original school. Enshu-ryu, which has numerous offshoots. Misho-ryu, which uses isosceles triangles as its base shape. Saga go-ryu, one of the newest schools (founded in 1930) that has roots dating back to the 9th century. Each school uses different philosophies for arranging that include shapes, flower choices and vase selections. Regardless, though, the main principles of ikebana remain consistent throughout. Popular Flowers in Ikebana As you might expect, the types of flowers popular in ikebana vary depending on the school. However, some remain consistent choices and have a long history associated with the art. These include: Iris Chrysanthemum Camelia Peony Tree narcissus Willow Bamboo grass Pine branches Boxwood Typically, an ikebana arrangement will contain two or three elements that are carefully chosen to work in unison. Also, Western arrangements often get a bit more experimental with their foliage choices. You might see everything from monstera leaves and ivy to roses and lilacs. Even so, the main principles of ikebana remain the same. The symbolism behind these flowers is the same in both the East and the West. It was common for meanings to travel with the flowers, so practitioners across the world generally shared the same understanding of what these flowers meant. However, one of the key theories behind ikebana is that meaning is derived as much from how the flowers are arranged as it is from which flowers are used. For example, willow branches feature in arrangements when people part (such as leaving home). In these cases, the length of willow branches symbolises how long the journey will be. The ikebana language of flowers is called hanakotoba. Many of its meanings are consistent with Western symbology, but there are a few differences. Red flowers symbolise morbidity and are often used in funeral arrangements (where Westerners might use lilies). Also, even numbers are considered unlucky, so you’ll typically find odd numbers of branches and blooms in an ikebana display. Ikebana Facts If this hasn’t been interesting enough already, here are some facts about the art of ikebana. Ikebana is an ungendered practice. In the past, samurai did ikebana as a way to relax. The two main types are rikka and shoka. Rikka is standing plants, while shoka is living plants. This dictates how they’re arranged. Ikebana vases usually have large openings at the top to allow for better oxygen circulation. This is believed to help the flowers live longer. Different schools base their arrangements around shapes in nature. These typically include mountains, valleys, and waterfalls. Tall arrangements that point straight up symbolise faith. Conclusion Ikebana is a fascinating practice that takes flower arranging to a whole new level. The symbology of flowers is only one of many elements that combine to make displays with a range of implicit meanings. Luckily, there are now international schools that teach ikebana, so it shouldn’t be difficult for you to get involved if you like the sound of it.

  • The Best Wedding Flowers and Their Meanings

    Having flowers at a wedding is almost a given. Whether it’s the bridal bouquet, buttonholes, or decoration for the venue or reception, flowers are everywhere at a wedding. You can find here the Online Tutorial for a Bridal Bouquet and the Button Hole. But let's talk about Wedding Flowers in General. In the modern age, we’ve lost a lot of the traditional meaning behind our flower choices, with most couples opting for varieties that fit their colour scheme. However, the history and meaning behind our flower choices are still fascinating and deserve a revival. So that’s what we’re here to do! The History of Wedding Flowers The history of wedding flowers in the Western world stretches all the way back to Ancient Rome (and pr obably before) when brides carried flowers as a symbol of new beginnings. Flowers symbolised new beginnings and growth for obvious reasons: they grow and bloom fresh each year. In the Middle Ages, herbs became a more popular choice due to their perceived ability to ward off bad humours and evil spirits. Strong-smelling herbs (such as dill or rosemary) were particularly popular. The wedding bouquet as we know it rose to prominence in the Victorian era when Queen Victoria carried a small arrangement on her wedding day. As with many other things, the queen doing something made it incredibly popular and it stuck. Of course, the link between weddings and flowers has grown massively since then. They now dominate the venue, the reception decorations, and are worn by both the bride and groom’s parties. White Flowers at Weddings Ever wondered why white flowers are popular at weddings? Well, it’s the same reason traditional wedding dresses are white: it’s the colour of purity. White has held this association for basically all of Western history; it’s clean and unblemished and, in the days before modern chemicals, was very difficult to achieve. But remember to stay away from white lilies! Although they symbolise commitment, purity of the soul, and rebirth, they’re often chosen for funerals. While this doesn’t mean you can’t use them at your wedding, it’s a link most people will make. So tread lightly! Using Flowers at a Wedding Flowers pop up in almost every part of a wedding. They’re most popular in: Bridal bouquet. This one is a given. Groom’s buttonhole. The groom will often wear a flower in his jacket buttonhole (typically on the left). It’ll usually be a bold flower that’s not too big and is something found in the bridal bouquet. Venue displays. How you include flowers in your venue really depends on your theme. Anything from freestanding displays to arches of climbing plants looks amazing regardless of whether your wedding is indoors or outdoors. Wedding reception. At the reception, table displays are the most common. Ideally, these should match the bridal bouquet and overall wedding theme in terms of colour. With floral displays, there are plenty of ways to reduce the budget and keep them looking amazing. For example, using something like cherry blossom or sticks can look chic and doesn’t cost much at all. Popular Wedding Flowers While white flowers might seem like the obvious choice, there’s nothing stopping you from opting for a more colourful choice. In fact, a wide range of flowers have long been associated with wedding bouquets and arrangements. Some of the most popular include: Roses The link between roses and love is almost ubiquitous in society. After all, they’re the go-to on Valentine’s Day. But did you know different colours of roses have different meanings? Red is love and desire White is innocence and charm Pink is happiness Queen Anne’s Lace This flower is popular in floral arrangements because it’s very delicate and frilly and so fills small spaces well. Its small white flowers symbolise femininity and complexity, and it works great in both table decorations and bridal bouquets. Lilac Lilacs are beautifully fragrant and come in either purple or white. Both colours symbolise first love, so they might not be a suitable choice for everyone! Iris Irises are perfect for adding a pop of bold colour to any floral arrangement, and their meaning makes them ideal for weddings. The iris symbolises faith, valour, and wisdom, all of which are suitable virtues at a wedding! Gerbera Daisy These massive daisies are another popular choice in wedding bouquets, both because they’re inexpensive and they go with pretty much every other flower. As you’d expect from such a bright flower, the gerbera daisy symbolises cheerfulness. Clematis Clematis is a beautiful climbing plant with small, often fragrant flowers. It can be both bold and delicate depending on the type you have, and it comes in a wide range of colours. Clematis symbolises mental fortitude and ingenuity, which are always good virtues to have. Hydrangea Hydrangeas might not be every bride’s go-to flower for their wedding, but they’re ideal for adding body to table displays and bouquets. What’s more, the hydrangea is perfectly suited for a wedding because it symbolises heartfelt emotion and perseverance. Japonica Japonica is a flowering shrub that makes a great choice for venue displays. It can be grown into arches or shaped as freestanding bushes. It’s suitable for weddings because it symbolises graciousness. Lavender Lavender might seem like an unusual choice for weddings but it’s actually perfectly at home in a bridal bouquet because it symbolises devotion and virtue. While it would also be ideal for venue displays, it might be best to keep it away from table displays because its powerful fragrance might not go too well with your guests’ dinners! Lily of the Valley If you want lilies at your wedding, lily of the valley is the perfect choice. It’s long been associated in Christianity with the Virgin Mary because it symbolises purity of heart and sweetness. Its small, dainty flowers make it ideal for bridal bouquets. Conclusion While the meaning behind flowers has typically gone out of favour in the modern age, knowing the symbolism of your wedding flowers can help you to put together a beautiful (and meaningful) arrangement. White is always a firm choice for obvious reasons, but this doesn’t mean you need to stick to white alone!

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  • Florist Tools |

    FLORIST TOOLS OF THE TRADE Do you know what a kenzan is? How about the best tool for thorn cutting? What’s the secret to keeping your flower accessories from drying out? The answers to these and many other questions can be found in this tutorial on florist tools of the trade. While floristry may seem simple at first glance, there are many tools and techniques that are required for the many kinds of arrangements that exist. Learn what these essentials are and how you can use them in to your creative advantage. WHAT WE WILL COVER: Why you need different kinds of flower scissors for flower trimming The difference between waterproof and paraffin tape How to keep you water clean and bacteria free with a special trick When to use gloves and why to use them Kaye Anthon’s top three essentials for florists on the go ​ WATCH NOW Not a member of Sign up today! THE LECTURER All online flower school tutorials and floral design classes are conducted by Kaye Anthon, the founder of ATELIER A. ​ She is known for her expertise, training, and innovation in the world of floristry, flower arrangement, and floral composition. ​ After working for years in floristry, Kaye decided to share her knowledge and experience with students. She wants to share her love for flowers with the whole world!

  • Western Ikabena |

    THE WESTERN INTERPRETATION OF IKEBANA-TUTORIAL A worldly art form that spans centuries, flower arrangement is not limited to one place or region. The Western interpretation of ikebana tutorial introduces you to the beautiful floral techniques and practices from around the world, focusing on minimalism, elegance and composition balance. It also teaches you the mindfulness behind flower arrangement, uncovering the meditative foundations behind ikebana, the principles of non-wasteful flower arrangement, and the refinement that can be found in just one type of flower, perfectly positioned. For flower enthusiasts seeking something soothing and new, this tutorial is exactly what you seek. WHAT WE WILL COVER: Despite the sparse nature of the tools and flowers in this tutorial, the art of ikebana is decidedly precise, requiring focus, patience and artistry. A world-renowned technique on its own, you will learn ​​ The unfettered aesthetics behind ikebana The proper cutting and pressing technique for ikebana using the kensan How to compose your ikebana with balance Where to find these specialty tools WATCH NOW Not a member of Sign up today! THE LECTURER All classes and online flower school tutorials are conducted by Kaye Anthon, founder of ATELIER A. She is known for her expertise, training and innovation in the world of floristry, flower arrangement and floral composition.​

  • Mystical Installation |

    THE MYSTICAL INSTALLATION Fairytale settings can inspire fairytale evenings and events. This is the essence behind the mystical flower installation. Using artistry in addition to unique tools and flowers, you can learn the fundamentals of thematic flower arrangement for entertaining, while also letting your creativity shine. Playing with light, texture, vessels and flowers with character, you’ll see how Kaye Anthon brings an event to life with this imaginative and alluring installation. For those who love to decorate and inspire, this tutorial is essential as it covers all the important floral entertaining basics. WHAT WE WILL COVER: Poppy stem sealing Moss setting, structure and design basics Glass dome floral arrangement Floral lighting Floral installation etiquette and timing for events ​ ​ ​ ​ WATCH NOW Not a member of Sign up today! THE LECTURER All online flower school tutorials and floral design classes are conducted by Kaye Anthon, the founder of ATELIER A. ​ She is known for her expertise, training, and innovation in the world of floristry, flower arrangement, and floral composition. ​ After working for years in floristry, Kaye decided to share her knowledge and experience with students. She wants to share her love for flowers with the whole world!

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