Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arranging. The word stems from the Japanese words ikeru, which means 'to arrange' and hana, which means 'flowers.' However when you put the two words together they more accurately translate to "making flowers come alive". You may also hear the art referred to as kado, which roughly translates to 'the way of the flower.'
Ikebana combines nature with a human touch. The intent is to enhance nature by arranging and manipulating the materials. Ikebana often emphasizes the bend of a branch or the curve of a leaf, which allows the practitioner to discover new aspects of a plant. There is great emphasis placed on the intention behind each stem in an arrangement, with the goal being to use each stem to maximum effect.
Ikebana can be practiced by anyone, anywhere! Here are a few tips to get you started:
1) Collect your ikebana tools and arranging materials
i) You will need a vase (see our post on the different types of ikebana vases), clippers, and kenzan (spiky flower frog to hold the flowers upright)
ii) Collect a variety of flowers, branches and leaves. Think about the mass, line, and color of each, and how to combine all three. Try to use seasonal materials by going outside and snipping materials from your garden, or walk around your neighborhood or park to find an interesting branch or leaf
iii) Expand your idea of materials by incorporating dried materials, or even non-natural materials like paper, or wire
Ikebana tools, including clippers, vases, and kenzans
2) Start Arranging
iii) You're creating an arrangement for yourself, so express your own personal style!
Instructions for a simple arrangement:
Simple arrangement using peonies, italian ruscus, and tree fern
If you want to learn more about ikebana, we offer a monthly banabox subscription that includes fresh flowers, tools, and lessons for a unique design that you can create at home! You can also find in-person ikebana classes by looking for your local chapter of Ikebana International.