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Winter Ikebana: A Walk on the Wild Side

To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.

-- George Santayana

sogetsu ikebana, pinecones, nageire, bend oregon
Winter ikebana with pinecones, curly willow and carnation.

When I teach ikebana, my take on it evolves. For example, I’m finding now that a sense of place matters more to me than a beautiful flower. Anybody can buy a tropical bloom, but to discover, just outside my door in the dead of winter, a twisted, moss-covered branch or a clutch of quivering pine needles is revelatory.

In winter, the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi -- that nothing lasts forever and there is beauty in imperfection -- takes center stage. The world may seem gray and lifeless. It's easy to imagine that practicing ikebana might be uninspiring. Instead, winter ikebana opens the mind to new possibilities and offers an opportunity to reveal the heart of the artist.

moribana, sogetsu ikebana, maple leaves, dahlia
Student work with maple and dahlia.

We had a great class this fall thanks to neighbors who provided multi-colored maple leaves, curly willow branches, pine and cedar. They made it possible (for all you fans of the Great British Baking Show) to have Maple, Curly Willow and Pine, even Crabapple Week! Central Oregon’s abundance makes ikebana dreaming easy.

nageire, sogetsu ikebana, bend oregon,
Student work with curly willow, lisianthus and dried salal.

Wherever you live, make the most of what's outside. Sure, for that pop of color after the landscape turns leaden, treat yourself to a trip to the florist or TJs. But, if it's discovery you seek, just take a walk with open eyes.

ikebana, sogetsu, winter yarrow, Oregon grape, yarrow, crabapple
Winter treasure: pine, Oregon Grape, Yarrow, crabapple.

Thank you students of fall 2023—such a reflective bunch, neophytes, artists, young and old, who all came to understand, by our final session, that what we were doing each Sunday afternoon was so much more than flower arranging.

Hope to see you again in spring!

Upcoming: I'm working with Leah Thompson (Stumpmunk Farms in Sisters and Flora Deschutes in Bend) on offering a couple of winter ikebana workshops. Stay tuned!

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1 Comment

albert t.
albert t.
Nov 21, 2023

Interesting thoughts, lovely photos

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