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:
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.)
I used this book when I started studying with my Sensei, the late Rosamonde F. (Lynn) Naegele, Executive Master in the Ichiyo School and two-term international president of Ikebana International. When I handle the book, I hear her gentle voice guiding me and later freeing me to soar with my own ideas about Ikebana.
Sparnon was a Sogetsu master in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. He founded a Sogetsu study group whose influence spread throughout the country and thrives yet today. When I was in Melbourne, Australia, over a decade ago, I happened upon an Ikebana exhibition and was impressed by the diversity of schools on display. 264 pages (My image)
Houn Ohara was the son of Unshin Ohara, founder and first headmaster of the Ohara School. This school is known for its natural designs. In fact, the founder originated the style we know as Moribana. Since the 80s, there have been two more editions:
The 2009 edition, 164 pages, authored by the School itself
A 2015 revised edition of 198 pages by Hiroki Ohara, the current headmaster.
This latest edition has ikebana terminology in Japanese with English translation and updated changes in the curriculum. Now, to figure out how to obtain a copy of these new editions. .
The author studied in several schools, Ichiyo, Sogetsu, and Ikenobo; however, this book rings Ichiyo. I found this on my shelf around 2006 where it had resided, unloved and unappreciated for over a decade. Unfortunately, there are no new editions, so you can count yourself lucky if you find a copy. It is truly another collector’s item.
This beautiful book illustrates arrangements from different schools all while reminding the reader of the commonality of line and space. What makes it unique is that the space surrounding the arrangement is considered a component of the design. In brief, this book is a 21st century take on Ikebana. Another book emphasizing the environment in which the arrangement is placed.
It’s no surprise there is a new edition or update by these two authors. Ikebana: A Fresh Look at Japanese Flower Arranging, 2007. This one is not on my shelf.
Heaven and Earth Are Flowers:
Reflections on Ikebana and Buddhism 2010 by Judith Stamm. 184 pages
Interspersed among Stamm's musings are more than a dozen of her arrangements. This is a peaceful book, one to read and savor.
She shows the reader that indeed Ikebana is
a meditative art and encourages one to experience its beauty and therapeutic value.
How many of these books do you have? How many piqued your interest in obtaining them?
As I was posting this and confirming image sources, I discovered that a similar list of references is on the IkebanaSanAntonio site. http://ikebanasanantonio.org/feature/recommended-books/
It was a comfort to note that some of the books discussed in this post are on their list. What a coincidence! I have been invited to speak at one of the group's meetings this fall.
Looking for books,
Reflection and Afterthought
I chose eight books to share in this post for two reasons.
- “Eight is enough.”
- Eight is an auspicious number in Japan as indicated by its Kanji (Japanese script). Notice that the lines swoop down and out as if continuing to spread outward and beyond.