When I was in my early 30’s trying to figure out what to become in my life, I had a brief flirtation with the idea of opening a store called Nothing But Flowers. Even before David Byrne wrote the song. In my 40’s, still a bit adrift, I traveled to Surrey, England to take a month long course designing flowers at the Constance Spry School of Flowers deep in the lush and lovely English countryside. Following that, I worked for a time in a few flower shops but realized that it wasn’t an ideal fit. However, my love of flowers is always simmering on a front burner.
Imagine my pleasure when I unexpectedly walked into a blockbuster ikebana flower show at a department store just a few blocks from my hotel in Tokyo. It was mobbed with hundreds of very excited, chattering women, but I had a decided height advantage for a change, so I was able to take it all in, with just the slightest bit of pushing.
The Sogetsu School of ikebana is pretty wild, using natural and artificial materials, wild colors and a seemingly take no prisoners attitude. Some astonishing arrangements can be large enough to fill a hotel lobby. They can be loud and theatrical, and unrestrained, but also fabulous. This show of what seemed like over a hundred arrangements, pushed me to think of using different materials when I try this at home. Most likely on a more modest scale, unless someone wants to help me gather branches and palm tree debris.
I’m posting just a “small” number of the photos I took . Hard to believe all this material was gathered, transported and made its way to the 8th floor of a central Tokyo department store and assembled on site! This was the 90th Anniversary show, so I guess they went all out. I found it only by chance. How lucky!