About a month ago while at the flower shop getting flowers for one of my lessons, I noticed some very nice, large dried leaves. I asked if they were special order for someone, but the staff said that they were actually left over from an exhibition held in October. That meant I could use them if I wanted to, but I had to think about it. Because they were so big, I would need a large container, and I didn't have any. So, my search for a container began.
I looked around at different second hand shops and even an antique type store, but I couldn't find anything. I asked my teacher if she had any large vases, and just my luck, she did! With that vase, I could use the leaves. Yeah! The next time I was at the shop, I saw that the leaves were still there and immediately bought them. Now, I just had to figure out what to put with them.
I thought I would like to another Bunjin styled arrangement, but it would be difficult to find materials to go with the leaves. One day at my lesson, I noticed that my teacher had a beautiful, old piece of lichen covered persimmon laying out in the corner of her yard. She had been through her garden cleaning things up, getting ready for the winter season, and she had put the old branch (one she had used about 10 years ago) in the pile to be thrown away. I asked if I could use it, and she said yes. I had another material for my arrangement. (When searching for materials, I look everywhere to try and find the perfect materials to use -- while driving, while walking, in the school yard, around the school, around my neighborhood, everywhere!)
I thought that some pine would also go nice with the arrangement, so a friend and I went for a little drive up in the mountains to search for some pine. We finally managed to find some, and after climbing up the tree to get to it to cut it off, I had some pine. Now I needed something to go in the front of the arrangement to give it a focal point.
I went to several different flower shops in several different cities looking for some unusual flowers, but I had no luck. I thought I could also use a potted plant, so I went to several different garden centers and found some huge ornamental cabbage plants that would be perfect. Everything was coming together.
Last, I thought it would be nice to give it a little color, so I decided to add some green chrysanthemums to the arrangement. They would give the arrangement a nice pop of color and help to fill out the space of the work. They would also help to give the arrangement a bit of a fall feel to it.
After a couple of weeks of planning, I finally had my arrangement completed.
Dried Sterlizia augusta, pine, lichen covered persimmon,
ornamental cabbage, chrysanthemum "Anastasia"
It may be hard to tell from the picture just how large this arrangement is, but the ornamental cabbage in the front is about a foot wide! The large leaf probably stood up about three and a half feet out of the container. This is the largest ikebana arrangement I have created, and I think it turned out very well (if I do say so myself!).
Here's a picture of it from the left side so you can also see how far back it stretches.
It was a dynamic arrangement, and I think I captured the feeling of fall and the coming of the cold winter ahead. This was something that I don't normally do, and people noticed that. I saw these leaves and knew that I had to use them somehow. Since they are dried, I can use them again. Yeah! I thought they would look nice if they were gold-leafed. I could use them in a Christmas or New Year's arrangement, but that won't be this year.
Click here to see the arrangement I did for the spring exhibition.
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