Flower arranging like a boss

So I get this email from my dear friend, goes a little something like, love the blog, looks like you are having an amazing time, yadda yadda yadda, aren't you supposed to be doing some work over there?...

You got me.
You are dead right lil lisa. I am a man with a plan. I came here for one thing. One thing only! And it's not swan boats or cat buses and it's not delectable peach treats no matter how delicious they may be, it's for......

I came to research and learn from the ancient art of Japanese floristry; Ikebana. I want to then translate these findings to glass and design a range of vessels for Ikebana but catered to Australian natives. So now that the Tokyo information overload has kind of subsided I can get down to work. 

Had my very first class at Sogetsu a massive Ikebana headquarters. The first class was the real deal and it was in Japanese....we were lucky enough to have a lovely translator, phew! Like most things I do, I guess I just like to dive in at the deep end and this was no different. The building itself was very intimidating, not much signage some crazy big sculptures in the foyer so after standing around awkwardly we just had to take a punt and hop in the elevator. Eventually we did find our class and maybe I got the times wrong but they were in full swing by the time we got there.

First you get to chose your materials, one greenery,
One flowers and they already had a vessel out for us to use, a big round low dish. I was kind of hoping to pick from something like this;

So you walk in and there are maybe 30 plus people seated and working on their arrangements. I think it was good to do this class first because you got to see all the other skilled practitioners working. It was pretty beautiful in there, (i wanna say real classy like, but then you will peg me for the real moron i am) they were playing soft classical music and the view from up there was spectacular.
We had a lovely lady helping us (and when I say helping she really made it for us) I get the impression this is what happens on your first lesson. It's just like a teaser, we'll show you the basics kid but look around at what all the big kids are playing with, we know you'll be back. Cunning.

So my first lesson was for a 'basic upright style'.
You use 3 main pieces, the Shin, Soe and lastly the Hikae. These pieces make a triangle (i always knew  3 was a good number) The tallest is the 'shin', this is double the hight of the vessel plus the diameter, this guy goes at a 10 - 15 degree angle. You always make them facing you. The next guy is the'soe', he goes at a 45 degree angle from the shin. Last in the frame, is the 'hikae' which is the flower and goes at a 75 degree angle. 
By the way all these are attached to the kenzan at the bottom of the vessel (spikey guy). So these are your main points then you kind of just add more to cover the kenzan. There are lots of cool tricks to keep weaker stems in play and cutting on the angle and things like that. 

The teacher gave an example of two different styles. The second was of a straight and curved line arrangement together, talking about harmony between the two.

I really liked seeing what the other students were up to. It seemed as there were a mix of skill levels in the class, some were from all over the world (i think we had a lady next to us who was kind of a big deal in denmark..)

Loved this crazy vessel.

Ladies workin their magic.

If there were classes like this, I would go every week. Then at the end the teacher rolls round and critiques everyones work (apparently you should bow lower than the teach, i missed this and gave her the upwards nod, you know like the 'sup' teach kinda nod by accident)
Then at the end of the class you dismantle your arrangement and wrap up the blooms in paper to take them home! Kawaiii! 
Next lesson I am going to be there earlier and get my pick of the blooms! (i actually was there early, like an hour earlier but i was killing time in the park!!)