Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Asian Fire: Ikebana @ Craftsmen Gallery

Ikebana in Japanese means "Living Flowers" and is also known as kado, "the way of flowers". It is the art of flower arrangement. An art form with some rules (like ballet), it has its own formal concerns and geometries, principles, and symbolism. The art is minimalist, often employing usually (but not always) three blooms in one arrangement, symbolizing Sun, Moon and Earth. The pot that they sit in is normally carefully chosen and a pivotal decision in the making of a work.

 This was one of the risks that the Curator, Ruth Philipon and her group of artists faced with this show. They used extant pots and glass from Craftsmen Gallery artists.

 Ikebana's origins are tied to Buddhism flower offerings, and to the Japanese love of nature, which is has a depth and intensity that is rarely found in the West. There are several schools of Ikebana, the three most popular being Ikenobo, Sogetsu, and Ohara.

The ceramic on the left is "Waning Moon", by Henry Gernhardt

Many fine kimonos, sashes and other pieces of exquisite Japanese clothing were brought into this exhibit, enhancing the aesthetic experience.   


 The flower arrangement above was by Barbara Goss
 in the style of the Sogetsu School. The vessel by Henry
 Gernhardt, "Lunar Set, Mc Clamory Key"

On the right, the arrangement was by Monique Jouaim, Sogetsu  School. "Red Graal Vase" by Terje Lundaas.

 Many of these works were extraordinarily beautiful, and the expert curating amplified this. Arrangement by Rita Moore, Sogetsu School. "Leaf Shaped Platter" by Frank di Gangi.


 On the right, an exquisite arrangement by Margaret Salmon, Sogetsu School. Vase by Helen Byon, "Mountain Vase With Three Birds"

Congratulations to Ruth Philipon for an unusual and excellent exhibit. It is a welcome sight to see Ikebana in a gallery. To Craftsman House, a great idea, and to the ceramicists and glass artists, congratulations for making an unusual show from the fusion of two forms.

 --- Luis

Arrangement by Barbara Goss, Sogetsu School. Vessel by Chuck Boux, "Platter".  

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