Love to Japan and Hawaii Ikebana

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you have seen and heard about the devastating earthquake that recently hit Japan.  My thoughts and well wishes go out to all of those affected by the unfortunate natural disaster, especially those living in Japan.  I have always been amazed at the Japanese.  They have a quiet strength and such an interesting perspective on business, art, life and love.  I have no doubt that they will recover, push forward and thrive.

On the day after the earthquake and the day of the Hawaii tsunami, I coincidentally got a chance to marvel at one of Japan’s great arts, Ikebana.  Ikebana simply put, is the Japanese art of flower arranging.  However, it goes far beyond putting flowers in a vase.  It is about celebrating nature in all its forms.  What I love about Ikebana is that they aren’t just flower arrangements, they are pieces of art.  Each piece tells a story and has a different feeling and a different emphasis, all while keeping to natural shapes and lines.

I had the pleasure of attending the Hawaii Ikebana showcase at Neiman Marcus and was blown away by what had been created.  The showcase was called a “Journey Through Paradise….and Beyond”.  They used all tropical plants and flowers to create the pieces and each one had a different point of view.  There were so many great pieces, but I wanted to share a few of my favorites to illustrate the beauty and inspiration.

This was one of the few pieces that included actual merchandise and I love how the colors and arrangement made it all feel very spring-like and fresh.

Colored sticks Hawaii Ikebana arrangement at Neiman Marcus

This was one of the first pieces I saw and immediately loved.  It’s hard to tell from the photo, but the piece actually spills out onto the table.  It flows both upwards and downwards.  I also love the contrast between the color of the branches and the color of the leaves and grape like pods.

Grape and branches Hawaii Ikebana arrangement at Neiman Marcus

This is the first of two pieces that my very talented mother created.  I love the boldness of it and the use of the bark (which is hard to see in this photo).

Tropical leaves Hawaii Ikebana arrangement at Neiman Marcus

This is a far away and a close-up shot of a few pieces constructed to look like hats.  The details were awesome and I was dying to try them on just for fun.

Natural Hats Hawaii Ikebana arrangement at Neiman Marcus

Close Up of Natural Hats Hawaii Ikebana arrangement at Neiman Marcus

Baby’s breath gets a bad rap as a cheesy filler flower, but I find people underestimate it.  I love the simplicity of this piece.  It’s light and pretty.

Babys Breath Hawaii Ikebana arrangement at Neiman Marcus

This piece was made all of leaves.  The flow and movement of the leaves and the harmony with the table was just beautiful.

Flowing Leaves Hawaii Ikebana arrangement at Neiman Marcus

My photograph doesn’t do this piece justice, but the detail that went into this one was just astounding.  The “baskets” you see are made up of all these little twigs that are woven together.   Super delicate and oh so intricate.

Baskets Hawaii Ikebana arrangement at Neiman Marcus

I can’t not show the piece with a table setting, now can I?  This one was draped across the table and just worked perfectly with the garden china.  It transported you to another world and felt like a tea party in Alice in Wonderland or Peter Rabbit.

Table setting Hawaii Ikebana arrangement at Neiman Marcus

Last but not least, this one was what I like to call, the “wall of branches”.  Once again, my photograph doesn’t do this piece justice, but the impact of it just plain cool.  This piece could be seen coming up and down the escalators and so depending on the angle you saw it at, the perspective changed.  This was the second of my mother’s creations.  This one was all about balance and texture.  I loved the juxtaposition of the dry branches with the fresh flowers and foliage.

Branch Wall Hawaii Ikebana arrangement at Neiman Marcus

I feel so lucky to have been able to see these amazing creations in person and am filled with such awe.  Each of these living works of art told a story that inspired me.  I am impressed, not only by my mother but by all of the artists and their pieces.  So, my review?  Two very big thumbs up and a smashing round of applause.   I think the Hawaii Ikebana displays showcased such beauty and art and I’m totally inspired to take some of these concepts and use them in my couple’s destination weddings.

What piece inspired you?  Share with us in a comment below.

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