Japanese Flower Arranging

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (UI7) University of Illinois students of Professor Emeritus Kimiko Gunji’s Ikebana flower arranging class presented Japanese flower arrangements in an exhibition at the Link Gallery in the School of Art and Design building Friday through Sunday.

Fifteen students learned the fundamentals of Japanese flower arranging.

The students used foraged and purchased materials to create touching pieces of art that included an immense amount of details and attention to dots, lines and mass in miniature flower arrangements.

The flower arrangements were showcased in vases and wall-hanging structures made out of sushi mats.

The flower arrangements had a strong focus on the beauty of nature and the emotions that it can bring forth.

“I wanted to invoke a sense of happiness and peacefulness. To do so, I wanted to emulate the energy of one of the most peaceful creatures I can think of: butterflies,” said student Sydney Neilsen.

Each of the students created a flower arrangement that aligned with a deeper familiar meaning to themselves and they learned how to accomplish this in only eight weeks.

“Coming into class I was feeling a bit tense having had a stressful morning. My thought with these flowers was to create an overall happy kokoro in the piece, while also conveying a sense of calmness and relaxation,” said student Devin Schinski.

Ikebana, in simple terms, means “making flowers alive”, and this art form is a tradition in Japanese culture dating back to 794. The tradition has grown over centuries and remains in practice to this day.