After that post on books, I found yet another book. It is an obscure little volume, only 92 pages: Ikebana is Better than Therapy (2004) by Susumu Uyeda. Although it was not at all what I expected, this book has its own charm in the few lines that grace each page. The author himself says in the foreword that these are “…rather whimsical and fun thoughts….”
For several years (decades, now) I have been saying, “Ikebana is better than therapy.” The first time those words escaped my lips I was in a lesson with several others who agreed wholeheartedly. Since that time, I have wanted to write a book, or at least an essay, about the therapeutic benefits of Ikebana. Now, I know that it is a worthy topic; maybe my book will be at least twice as long.
Think about the last time you gave flowers to someone. What was the result? How about the last time you received flowers, how did you feel? Whether the flowers are for a congratulatory event, during recuperation from illness, condolence for loss, or just for being you; they bring cheer. That is the therapeutic benefit of flowers, especially the simple line-strong arrangements of Ikebana. Therefore, not only does the designer benefit from handling and arranging the plant materials, the recipient benefits therapeutically as well. An in-depth discussion of this phenomenon will have to wait for my book.
Where are your books? Perhaps some are neatly shelved, on the coffee table, on the nightstand, or strewn on the floor. I confess: mine are in all these places. Some deal with history, art, science, literature, and of course, Ikebana and more.
Periodically, I shelve them by discipline or topic, but then I delve into a topic and they are no longer on the shelf. That’s what I found when I decided to do this blog post on Ikebana books. I’ve located some that I want to share with you, the Ikebanafuzion readers.
Twenty-five years of ikebana study result in numerous references, books, notebooks, drawings and pictures. Here is a sampling the books in no particular order, chronological, alphabetical, or even by Ikebana School.
The first two may be my favorites:
A Comprehensive Tome on Ikebana
The Art of Arranging Flowers: A Complete Guide to Japanese Ikebana 1968 by Shizo Sato. This beautiful, classic book has lessons and numerous illustrations. It was condensed and reissued with the same title in a shorter version in 2008, which is less intimidating than the original 366 pages. Even a Kindle version is available today, but when it comes to Ikebana, I prefer the heft of the book in my hands: And this one is certainly heavy. I wonder what the next iteration of this volume will be. The early editions are collector’s items and very expensive. Mine was a gift. (Book covers from Amazon.com except where noted.)
As you may have gleaned from earlier posts, the container is chosen to enhance the floral material. Many traditional Ikebana containers are ceramic works of art. Today, we use glass containers, clear or colored. (You might want to look back through earlier posts and see what I mean.) When you browse the Internet, you see more non- traditional choices in recent years with freestyle or contemporary arrangements.
This post shows two containers from the Ichiyo School of Ikebana in which I am an instructor. I have others that are Japanese, but I don’t know from what school they are. Additionally, there are those that I purchased at estate sales, consignment stores, or thrift shops; who knows their origin! You will find that when a container catches the Ikebana artist’s eye, it has found a home.