Wendy Batson recently had one of the greatest honors of her
life bestowed upon her. The Ottawa, Ontario, resident has studied
Ikebana, Japanese flower arranging, for more than two decades
and when the Emperor and Empress of Japan visited her city
recently, she was asked to create a traditional Japanese flower
arrangement for the royal couple. "I had the honor of
doing the flowers for them," she said. "I got to
meet them and had a private audience with them."
many Ikebana students, Ms Batson was first drawn by the understated
simplicity of the art and the way flowers and other materials
are manipulated to mimic the natural world. "I was always
attracted to it because in Ikebana, less is more", she
explained. "You really get to admire the true beauty
in the line of the branch, or the flower."
translated as "bringing life to flowers," Ikebana
arrangements follow strict guidelines of structure and space,
and always emphasize harmony with the materials, the container
and the environment in which the arrangement is displayed.
Ikebana flower arrangements are recognizable because they
are asymmetrical. Balance in the designs is usually weighted
in a 30:70 ratio, as opposed to the symmetrical 50:50 ratio
found in Western flower arrangements.
|Sogetsu by Lili Chu.
addition to balance, Ikebana encourages sparseness when creating
a piece. "Space always forms an integral part of the
arrangement. Emptiness is an elemental part of the arrangement",
explained Ms Batson. The arrangements usually stand in low
containers that don't hide the water in which the flowers
and branches stand. "We use branch material as our main
line, and just one or two flowers." In such a way, Ikebana
expresses a profound respect and celebration of nature.