To get the most out of your practice, ikebana requires your full concentration. I suggest using all of your senses to immerse yourself in your practice:
- Begin by listening to the sound of water being poured into your vase. The sound of water (think waves, a running river, waterfalls) has a calming effect, which is why it’s often used in yoga or meditation classes. This small act is the perfect way to clear your mind for your practice, and to get those creative juice flowing.
- Next, touch your materials to create a physical connection with nature. You’ll discover rough and smooth branches, soft petals, and maybe even furry parts, like the catkins on a pussy willow or the flowers of a clematis kibo. Keep in mind, the more you handle petals the faster they deteriorate, so be gentle!
- Take a moment to “stop and smell the roses”. Enjoy the fresh scent of nature by smelling each of your materials. You’ll discover flowers with delicious perfumes, a few with unpleasant smells, and some with scents so faint you’ll have to use all of your concentration to detect it.
- Observe your materials as a whole - notice how all the colors and shapes come together. Turn over your materials and view them from different angles, discovering curves. Then study the individual parts - seeds, petals, leaves, stamen - and highlight your discoveries in your arrangement.
Discovering different aspects of your materials by engaging all of your senses will lead to a better understanding of your materials, and will help you create a harmonious arrangement.