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Drafts in WHITE
The Way of the Flower
Issue 4

October 2023

Lately, I find myself spending a lot of quality time in my garden…

I have always perceived my vases as sculptures, and so I have resisted the notion of integrating plant life into them despite the obvious inclination. Then, in 2020, I came across an exhibition of work by Sōfū Teshigahara at Nonaka Hill Gallery in Los Angeles. This is how I first encountered the work of the Sogetsu School of Ikebana, founded by Teshigahara in 1927.

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Ikebana is a traditional Japanese flower arranging practice, dating back to the 7th century in Japan, and started as flower offerings on altars. I was profoundly moved by the work of Master Kaz Yokou Kitakima, a renowned practitioner and teacher at Ikebana Sogetsu Los Angeles. Kitakama broke the rules of ikebana, specifically in the exhibition at Nanoka Hill where he eliminated the vase as the base. He played with scale and worked directly on the ground, transforming ikebana from a restrained aesthetic moment into a kind of landscape design. Following this awakening to the Sogetsu School of Ikebana, I was inspired to use nature as a sculpting medium.
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Returning to my garden everyday I find a cornucopia of potential greens to work with. Through playful improvisation, my studio has seen the likes of clippings from succulents, a giant leopard plant, and my eccentric rose bush named “Steve.” The discovery of non-traditional ikebana inspired me to incorporate nature into my studio practice and at last find a way to integrate my vases with plants.
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Drafts in WHITE are bimonthly notes from our studio – inspirations, illuminations, and cultural explorations. Check out our archive of previous Drafts in WHITE here.

Images:

White Dirt photography by Nikki Gerdes;

Photo of Flower Arrangement: The Ikebana Way by Jessica Eve Rattner.

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