Author Archives: Joan

Cold and snowy February, but we still had flowers!

We had an unusually cold and snow February, but I only had to cancel classes for one week.

I did another special project for OpenRoad Mercedes Benz in Surrey. This time they only wanted white flowers in black, white or silver containers, with the emphasis on height and formality. Another challenge….The caterer was impressed with my work and asked if I would consider providing some of her clients with my style of floral arrangements. Certainly! Just waiting to hear back about a couple of weddings and a reception at a winery later this year.

I also held a workshop at a seniors’ facility in West Vancouver. We made Valentine’s arrangements using pussy willows, and red and white flowers. The ladies enjoyed it so much, they asked me to return in April. Easter ikebana, coming up!

Happy New Year!

The Vancouver Ikebana Association (which I am president of) held its AGM on January 12th. We celebrated New Year’s with a lovely luncheon consisting of traditional Japanese New Year’s foods, and Ikebana made with traditional elements, such as pine, bamboo and plum. Many of the dishes were made by the members, and some were bought. Most of the dishes had an in depth traditional meaning to its ingredients, such as the use of lotus root, which has holes throughout its length, which symbolizes looking into the future, and burdock root, which is a very long root which symbolizes long life.

Lessons resumed after our Christmas break, and three new ladies joined our Beginners’ group. Our Intermediate ladies are happily creating more intricate ikebana, as well as the Advanced group. I am kept challenged to keep up with new ideas for everyone to try out.

Christmas Workshop and Goodies!

A lady from the Burnaby Public Library asked me if I was interested in doing an ikebana demonstration at one of their branches again. I suggested having an Christmas Ikebana Workshop instead. We had to limit the number of participants due to the size of the room, so fifteen people registered to have a “free” class. They were delighted with their creations which included red dogwood branches, three red carnations, variegated holly, and some pine, and a pine cone. My name was even mentioned as the Sensei who taught the class, on the front page of the local newspaper along with a photo of two of the participants and their creations.

For our final class of the year, I gave each of my continuing and advanced students a small container to make their arrangements in, and keep. The former class used red dogwood, baby’s breath, pine and Gloriosa Lilys. The advanced used dendrobian orchids, the baby’s breath and skimmia with the branches. We ended the classes with tea and goodies. Everyone brought something, and there was more than enough! ‘Tis the season!

The Late Mum Show, Memorial Service, and Special Orders

The Late Mum Show was held at Mandeville GardenWorks in Burnaby at the beginning of November. I had so many students who wanted to display, I didn’t have to! In all, 16 ikebana were displayed, six by Sangetsu. I thanked my students for making me look like a good teacher!

An old friend of the family passed away, and I was asked to do the flowers for her Memorial Service. I lent them my crystal candles holders which I decorated for the altar, and made a pastel coloured wreath to be used to surround a basket for cards, and then later to have at the grave site. There were also a dozen vase arrangements for the reception tables, which the family asked me to distribute to the helpers when the reception concluded.

Another flower challenge: Open Road was introducing a new alternative
to owning or leasing a luxury vehicle. The theme was “Flip”, as in flipping vehicles….I was asked to provide ten modern design flower arrangements with accent colours of navy and cyan. Okay…how about white flowers with accents of navy and teal (spray painted leaves, etc), arranged in white or silver containers? What do you think of these arrangements? Did I succeed in following the theme?

Sangetsu Seminar and More Classes

I was able to get away for four days in October to attend the Sangetsu Seminar for instructors in Tucson Arizona. It was a bit tricky since I had three classes to teach some weeks, but everything fit in nicely.  It was quite a reunion of Sangetsu teachers since people gathered from all over the US, as well as two of us from Canada. I even led a class on “Korinka” using protea, palm fronds and eucalyptus bark. It is really interesting how each arrangement turned out so differently from one another, although we all used the same type of material.

Back to classes, and Family time

Time to return to classes again. We started our advanced Ikebana class at the home of one of our long-time students who has generously offered his dahlias and other plant material for us to choose from, and to create our arrangements. Thanks again, Jack!’

Two students and I displayed our fall ikebana at VanDusen using the Point Grey Chrysanthemum Association members beautiful blooms

Another thank you to my son’s good friend’s parents who let us use their waterfront home on Galiano Island for the weekend, for family time. We took turns making meals and had a very nice time together. We did some hiking with our three dogs, and enjoyed the scenery of the rocky shore.

Festivals, Farewells & Functions

August was once again time for the Powell Street Festival. Ikebana was displayed in the hall of the Buddhist Temple, and there were two demonstrations both days. We (my daughter Kimberly and I) did the last demonstration. It was her first time commentating while I made five arrangements. Everyone agreed that Kimberly did a great job!

I was invited to the home of the Consul General, Asako Okai, for a garden party to wish her farewell. She was leaving for New York City to be of help at the United Nations.  I had assumed that others from the ikebana association would be there, but I didn’t see anyone I knew! Oh well, the food was good, and I chatted with a couple of people.

I had one flower order for the end of the month for a special birthday party. They wanted three purple and white arrangements similar to a picture from a magazine. Unfortunately, I only used one
similar flower and greens, but I achieved the look, and the customer was thrilled!

A Celebration!

Although I don’t usually teach in July and August, I had three ladies who wanted to take four double classes in July. So we made two different styles of ikebana at each class. One of the ladies is
even planning on continuing classes in the fall.

A very special wedding took place on July 21st at Grouse Mountain. My son and his fiancee, Christa, celebrated their nuptials at the top of the mountain with 90 of their nearest and dearest. Of course I did all the flowers, which turned out well (even though I say so myself). It was quite an endeavor to take everything up the mountain to have it all set up in time. We were so lucky that the weather cooperated, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. The venue was great, the food delicious, service fine and the views spectacular.

With a Heavy Heart, Yet a Bright Spirit

In June, our family participated in a Celebration of Life for my husband who succumbed to cancer the month before. I wasn’t planning on making arrangements for the reception tables, but my floral wholesaler said, “You can’t do that!” when I told him that I was planning on having some potted plants instead. So my daughter and I made sixteen ikebana, and I decorated two crystal candle holders and made two western style arrangements. Despite our grief, I know the effort that we put into making the service beautiful would have pleased my husband, and we could feel his spirit with us that day.

On a lighter note, I was asked to make some ikebana for a Mercedes Benz dealership in Surrey. They wanted two of each themed arrangements to represent “earth “, “air” and “water “. They also asked for four to incorporate the Mercedes Benz logo. The latter was easy…..I used three closed birds of paradise each facing away from one another. All the arrangements had orange flowers to keep everything cohesive.

I also did the flowers for a wedding for a June bride.

Keeping Busy with Spring Time Events

The Rhododendron Festival at Burnaby’s Deer Lake had Cecily of Ikenobo and me making ikebana arrangements throughout the day, and had them on display. We were able to incorporate rhododendrons into some of our arrangements, to go with the festival. We also promoted our upcoming Spring Show in Burnaby, at the Alan Emmott Centre, and tried to attract new students to take our classes.

Our Spring Show was a huge success, using haiku as inspiration for our displays, and also for our demonstrations. Additionally, this was the first time that we offered workshops for people to create and take home their own ikebana. Everyone left with a big smile on their faces

as they showed off their arrangements!