Contemporary Floral Design
The Art of Arranging Flowers
Around the World
Contemporary Trends in Floral Design
Influences, which have helped, crystallize our present day aesthetics and
preferences are the art forms of the past from all parts of the world. Great
artists are visionaries. They stand upon the shoulders of the people and
show us trends and choices that lie ahead. The people, who create beautiful
things for their homes, gifts for others or to bring in income reflect the
changing consciousness, values and feelings of civilizations.
Schools of Japanese Flower Arranging
Ikebana, the Japanese word for the art of flower arranging, is more popular
today than ever. The word meaning of ikebana is “living flowers”, but a
more accurate interpretation would be an ‘arrangement of plant
material’. Ikebana strives to convey through symbolism how nature and art
relate to daily living.
Originally, the first school of ikebana was divided into three styles. The
formal Shin style involved an erect line arrangement displayed in a bronze
container, sitting on a carved teakwood stand. The Gyo, or semi-formal
school, featured flowing, sweeping lines and the use of a variety of
containers. And, the So, or informal school, displayed flowers in baskets,
bamboo vases and natural wood containers as well as in pottery sitting on
bases of bamboo or natural wood.
All the schools had one concept in common. They employed three main branches
of varying lengths which where used to achieve asymmetrical balance and a
three dimensional effect. All three styles symbolically portrayed the
relationships between heaven, man and earth.
Styles of Japanese Flower Arranging
Rikka means ‘standing flowers’. The designs are large, elegant and
magnificent. The basic arrangement of three main stems are the framework or
setting for the flowers. They are carefully balanced and often massive in
their proportions, An average Rikka measures from three to five times the
height or width of the container. Once the length of the primary branch has
been decided, the other branches are balanced according to a set pattern of
measurements. A completed Rikka is globular in form having great space and
means to throw or fling. Hence the Nageire Style has a spontaneous, casual
feeling. Nageire requires a tall container and employs various artifices to
hold the branches in position. The primary branch may be from one to two
times the height plus the width of the container. The secondary branch is
three quarters the length of the primary branch and the third branch is
three fourths as long as the second branch.
Classical Shoka arrangements have a linear style and use no more than two
varieties of materials. Modern Shokas commonly use three varieties of
materials. It is one of the oldest styles of ikebana.
The Shoka design contains three principal branches that rise from the mouth
of the container as a single unit. The design is devoid of any foliage for a
height of three to four inches above the rim of the container. The branches
are held in position with a special holder. When flowers are combined with
the branches, the branch material is used for the primary and secondary
stems. The flowers are used in place of the third stem.
The Moribana style is not created for religious ceremonies, nor does it
represent any ethical or philosophical symbolism.
The arranger is guided by either the container or the material when deciding
on the design. The arrangement employs the artistry of asymmetry, creates a
feeling of depth and aspires to endow the arrangement with a mood. The Moribana arrangement reminds me of how children play in the sand or dirt and
make magical environments.
The word ‘Bonsai’ means, tree-in-a-pot in both the Chinese and Japanese
language. It was originally developed in the Orient over 2000 years ago. A
tree planted in a small pot becomes a Bonsai after it has been pruned,
shaped and coaxed into a desired shape. The art of creating and nurturing a
Bonsai is separate from flower arranging, but I included a few words about
it because it is so closely related to flower arranging and so widely
Chinese Flower Arranging
Chinese flower arranging includes the use of the strong, erect, highly
colored and dominant male element called yang along with the finer,
delicately tinted, horizontal or vine-like female element called "ying".
Species of plants are usually limited to one or two kinds. Chinese flower
arranging suggests a way of perceiving the perfection of life as represented
in the balance between contrasting natures.
Seasonal plant material is preferred, and each month of the year has its
special flowers. Many have symbolic meanings: pine boughs represent wisdom,
maturity and nobility, narcissus (the sacred lily) stands for prosperity,
good fortune and purity, Bamboo represents longevity, constancy, humility
and fidelity, peach blossoms are youth and charm. No one really knows who
assigned significance to each flower and plant, but it is written that
'‘every plant can well express itself.
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