Tag Archives: ikebana

It’s all about leaves – eco printing and ikebana bowls.

It’s been all about leaves this week, partly because it’s the time of year when you better hurry and pick some before they are gone, and secondly I got the hosta leaf ikebana bowls glazed. You might have seen them on social media but here they are if you missed them.
ikebana vase from Kiln Fired Art

ikebana bowlsI had to go out and pick some plant material to get my photos done, there wasn’t much about but it only shows you can make a beautiful ikebana arrangement with a few twigs and sprigs.

ceramic leaf ikebana containerWhile I was out picking I realised if I wanted to do some eco printing then I would have to do it now, my cotinus had very few leaves left on it.

I wanted to explore printing on wool, the fabric I have was fairly expensive so I’ve been saving it, but I’m not going to progress if I don’t jump in and have a go, so I did.

My fabric was soaked in alum mordant, then the cotinus and dried Acer leaves laid on half the fabric, the other half was folded over smoothed flat then rolled on a plastic pipe and tied with string. Then put in my tin with vinegar , water and a bit of rusty water and boiled for 45 min, turned and boiled again. When I say boiled it was a very very gentle simmer.

After cooling I opened up the bundle and picked off the leaves and washed and dried the fabric. You have to leave it until it’s dry before you can really see how the leaves printed.

I like the way the design looks graded from the outside of the roll to the inside of the roll.

Eco dyeing on wool

The right side was the outside, it takes on more colour and you can see the string marks, which look quite interesting.

UntitledThe background is cleaner in the inside of the roll. What I noticed was the cotinus leaves have printed differently.Untitled

The fresher looking red purple ones printed purple, as they did in summer.


The more Autumnal ones printed an ochre colour


I decided to have another go with some geranium leaves, this time I put some turmeric powder in the water bath.


This is how it looked after 2 hours.


This one doesn’t really grab me, but there’s another challenge. I intend making 2 cushion covers with these. I’m thinking of having the string design on the bottom edge on one side and the lighter fabric to the top and on the reverse.

I think I’m going to have to do some more work on the fabric, maybe some stitching, leaf outlines possibly, or just running stitch, or stitched mark making. Or maybe something else, only I don’t know what, so if you have any ideas please shout up ūüôā

UntitledThe other side of the cloth is an even darker mustard from the turmeric, I was surprised how deep the colour turned out. I will certainly use it again.

The postman has brought me some wood chips and roots for dyeing so I think I better grab more leaves before they are gone. Lots to do.

Bringing joy into a dull day with Ikebana

At this time of year it’s easy to let the dull dark days get on top of you, but there is beauty and joy around you if you look for it.

I decided to see what was available in the garden to make an ikebana arrangement to brighten my day. No shop bought flowers in these arrangements.
ikebana vaseI know it doesn’t take much to make a lovely ikebana arrangement, the viburnum was poking through my fence from next door, it smells divine. ¬†Ivy grows just about everywhere, and the skimmia looks good in arrangements most of the year.
ikebana ceramic bowlSo basically with a few pieces of foliage that were going unnoticed in my garden I have brought a bit of joy into my day, that’s why everyone should have¬†an ikebana¬†bowl.

Ikebana – my first attempt

I thought if I’m going to make and sell ikebana bowls I need a bit of an understanding of¬†the artform so I ordered a pin holder or kenzan¬†to fit one of my ceramic bowls, and also a book on the subject.

I was first attracted to ikebana in the 70’s , I think it was in a WI tent at the summer exhibition, but it’s something I’ve not tried. I know the simplistic line and form could kid one into thinking it’s easy, but it’s not, as you will find out if you continue to read about my meagre attempt.

I decided to have a go at the first arrangement in the book, Risshin Рkei or basic upright style. The book tells you that the length of your 3 main branches, the shin, soe, and hikae should be as follows:

Shin Рwidth of container + depth + half as much again

Soe Рthree quarters of  shin

Hikae – three quarters of soe

So I duly worked out the sizes and rounded them up to the nearest cm, and wrote the lengths on my hand. Armed with secateurs and a ruler I headed off into the garden to see what I could find.

My first choice was the silvery green leaves of the senecio bush  but I found them to be just too droopy when I had to place the branches at precise angles. Actually this was , I found the hardest part of the process. The shin had to be upright but bend slightly to the wide part of the container, with the tip at a 10 degree angle from vertical. The soe should go at the right front, at a 45 degree angle, and the hikae left front at a 75 degree angle. I gave up on the senecio and cut some copper beech foliage, but no matter how much I tried to place these stems at the correct angle they just sprung out of shape.

Now I had to add ¬†jushi, the¬† flowers, so far I haven’t read enough to know how many but 3 is a good number, right? I did read they should be at different heights¬†and none longer than the main stem. So off I went back into the garden looking for some blossoms, unfortunately there wasn’t much that I thought suitable so I went with this pink rose, which I really don’t care that much for, it’s such a harsh colour don’t you think, but it flowers profusely and the foliage is good. I thought it appropriate to choose flowers in different stages of bloom to add interest. The flowers were easier to place than the main stems, they should be angled so they face the viewer.

So here’s my first ikebana arrangement, I’m not sure it works very well, I think the¬†beech leaves are too large and you know how I feel about¬†shocking pink.

I think I need a lot of practice, and never be fooled by a simplistic flower arrangement, like most artforms less is more.
IkebanaI think I will head out with the secateurs once more and see if I can find some stems with smaller leaves and have another go, I’m going to practice over the summer.