‘A Conversation with Nature’: La Jolla Library hosts exhibition of ikebana flower arrangements
Showcasing the “art therapy” that connected students from the San Diego Sakura Chapter of the Ohara School of Ikebana to nature and each other, the La Jolla/Riford Library hosted an exhibition of flower arrangements by students on October 21 and 22. The screening was the first since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Master teacher and founder Jingyi Zhang, who goes by Jackie, explained that the presentation was the annual exhibit of the local chapter, which has been active in La Jolla since 2011 through demonstrations and classes at the La Jolla Library.
According to the San Diego Sakura Chapter, ikebana is a Japanese form of flower arranging that dates back over 600 years. “It developed from the Buddhist ritual of offering flowers to the spirits of the dead,” the organization said on promotional material. “Ikebana uses all materials, both fresh and dried…and an arrangement typically uses only limited materials, requiring the arranger to have advanced technical skills in the Japanese aesthetic of empty space and the symmetry.”
The local chapter blends classical and modern schools of thought in the arrangements they make. “Ikebana schools are all over the world, but the Ohara school in San Diego is very strong because we have multiple generations involved,” Zhang said. “We practice ikebana and evolve this art.”
Calling ikebana “art therapy,” she added that students “immerse themselves in the art, from inception to completion. You have a conversation with nature, we bring nature into a small space and it brings energy into your body. When you’re done with the arrangement, you get that energy and you feel all the stress go away, and when you see the arrangements that others have made and look at them, there’s a wow moment that you want to share with others. other people.
The school’s mantra is “share, create and promote” ikebana.
Current chapter president Tracy Guo said she had practiced for 17 years and “the more I learned, the more I fell in love” and could not imagine her life without ikebana.
Unlike other types of arrangements that focus only on the flower, ikebana uses the whole plant, which Guo says helps it connect with nature.
“We use all parts of the plant, not just the flower, but the grass and the leaves and we enjoy them,” she said. “I feel like I appreciate nature better because of it. Before, maybe I only noticed the flower, but now I see the whole plant. I see it as a gift that Mother Nature gives us. Before, I didn’t appreciate it. I also make friends here, because our culture is to share joy.
The San Diego Sakura Chapter of the Ohara School of Ikebana will host classes at 9:30 a.m. on November 5, 12, and 19 and have a holiday workshop at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 10, all in La Jolla Riford. /Library, 7555 Draper Avenue ◆