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No Kenzan -- Tools and Techniques

...discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.

-- Marcel Proust

On my morning walk, the air is crystalline. Leaves, scarlet and gold, dance in gusts like boisterous fairies broadcasting good news. I'm excited! It's that time of year to cut grasses and collect straw. To embrace cattails and exhausted corn stalks, bare branches and pine cones.

I once thought winter would be an unwelcome ikebana interlude with few flowers and a dearth of color. Perhaps true, but so shortsighted! Winter is a time to get creative, to contemplate the potential in a dead root or crumpled leaf. But, maybe, like me, you ask, “What if I’m not imaginative enough?” The answer: tools and techniques. I’m the first to admit to a lack of innate creativity. I’m a good learner though, curious and determined, and probably you are too. Ten percent inspiration, 90 percent perspiration!

Here are some techniques, tools and tips for your practice of creating ikebana without a kenzan:


Freestanding ikebana

  • Select a vase with a flat base.

  • Use screws, wire or floral tape to construct a tri-footed platform.

Upright ikebana

  • Pour gravel into the bottom of high, slender vases to stabilize.

  • Gather a bunch of straw or recycle those plastic drinking straws in your cupboard so they don't wind up in the ocean.

  • Cut to just below the top of vase.

  • Insert plant materials. They'll stand straight and tall!

Ikebana Outside the Box

  • For containers with small or awkward openings, try an usumaki (aka flower assistant).

  • Create your own "assistant" with colored wire.

Colored wire, 8 guage.

For all your ikebana supplies, please visit the Ikebana Dreaming shop on Etsy!

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Oct 28, 2020



Oct 28, 2020

Thanks Geri.


Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee
Oct 28, 2020

Excellent tips. Thx for these ideas.

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