Photography & Ikebana

I could not see him

That fluttering
Fly-off bird...
But the Plum-Petals...

Shiki (1866-1902)

Continuing on a theme from last year, working in the form of Jiyuka (freestyle) Ikebana. I have collected bird's nests from walks in the woods for several years and the idea of incorporating them into sculpture is something I have experimented with from time to time. Yukio Nakagawa is a Japanese Ikebana Master whose photographs of his own work were included in the 2008 exhibit Heavy Light: Recent Photography and Video from Japan at The International Center of Photography in New York City. Nakagawa's work is an unusual style, sometimes bordering on the grotesque with the use of decaying and rotting flowers. I wasn't as attracted to his Ikebana style as much as I was intrigued by his concept of photographing the ephemeral process of flower based sculpture. Nakagawa says... "Each encounter with a flower is a particular occasion never to recur in one's lifetime. Each flower arrangement- Ikebana is unique and strictly momentary."

Pear Blossoms. Ikebana  (2010)

Pear Blossoms. Ikebana (2010)  is being submitted tomorrow to the Drawn From Nature juried exhibit at the John James Audubon Center in Audubon, Pa. I printed it on hand made Japanese paper and I really like the result, very soft and subtle with the paper adding a unique texture. My plan has been to create additional pieces, and we are finally entering the fleeting weeks of flowering trees here in Southeastern Pennsylvania. My neighbor's cherry tree is in full bloom and after last weekend's trip to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC I was inspired to use this species for the second piece in the series, Cherry Blossoms. Ikebana (2011).

Cherry Blossoms. Ikebana (2011)

I would love to continue along with this theme using other flowering fruit trees... Apple, Plum, Peach, Asian Pear, etc., and always a new nest for each sculpture. A yearly tribute to the rites of Spring.

Yukio Nakagawa

Heavy Light