An inspiring, original, and really enjoyable workshop was held at Christ Church Hall, Gananoque, on Saturday, June 9, 2018 with Cliff Shinju Byrnes instructing. Hosted by Cliff and his students, Sandra Olney gave a brief introduction on the Zen of ikebana based on her own practice and the classic book, Zen in the Art of Flower Arrangement by Gustie Herrigal. She emphasized that because you and I as well as branches and flowers are the essence of existence, and not separate from the rest of the universe, in doing ikebana we try to do things that increase our awareness of being ‘one with’ the ‘doing’ and the flowers. We were encouraged to ‘lose ourselves.’
In the first workshop students worked on a Free Style form roughly based on Rising Form or Inclining Form using their favourite vase, and placed emphasis on the vase and the sculptural quality of the plant material. Cliff provided a vast array of over 30 very interesting materials to choose from.
For the second workshop students created a One Row arrangement using three vases that they brought. They used peonies as the main flower material for this workshop. Results were stunning, and working in three containers was challenging and provided an excellent learning opportunity.