Floral fantasia

Learn the art of Ikebana, Japanese floral arrangement, from an expert.

By Nazish Zubairy Saif

Published: Fri 29 Jan 2021, 3:43 PM

To me, Ikebana is an expression, a feeling, a connection we make with nature. Right when we start selecting flowers to when our arrangement is complete. It is a transfer of our life, our emotions into the branches, flowers, leaves and twigs we carefully arrange. Our art describes us and Ikebana showcases that form of self-expression in the most poetic way.

Also known as Kado (way of flowers), Ikebana was established more than 600 years ago in Japan, when masters of the art created glorious displays for emperors as well as highly-ranked individuals in Kyoto.

I believe in unique twists, intertwined weaves, asymmetrical structures rather than symmetrical. Harmoniously arranged, I select materials with a touch of vibrancy and some that demonstrate a calming aspect. Inspired by Nageire, another Japanese floral art, which is a style of arranging flowers adhering loosely to the classical principles of triangular structure and colour harmony. The arrangement at times can be cascading, upright or perhaps slanting. When I feel the containers, vases and structure appear to be different, I include the techniques used for Moribana which typically means piled-up flowers.

For events and special occasions, I recommend using fresh roses of the O'Hara variety when in season as their fragrance makes the experience magical. I also love using Anthuriums and any interesting foliage available that identifies with the mood and event. The final outcome illustrates dynamism and tranquillity with ever-changing styles.

I personally prefer inculcating the Japanese art of floral arranging as it is not only an art that dates back to the 6th century, it is also a journey that I hold close to my heart.

As a child collecting fallen leaves and petals, if I were lucky, even roses from the grounds of hotels and gardens where my mother and her friends arranged flowers, I connected and built on my relationship with flowers. I then met grandmasters from Japan, watched them demonstrate mesmerising floral structures, had conversations with them on the connection of Buddhism and its ideals of minimalism with Ikebana. The learning began early and took its own shape as life went on.

One should aim for aesthetics, balance and lines, building upon these values and tying in the concept of humanity, peace, mutual understanding and friendship. This voyage in itself practices one's well-being and to create and promote the art sets a similar tone for others as well, which is why we hope to spread the feeling in UAE for all to experience.

We believe that all spaces must be planned in a way that not only just defines patterns but gives equal importance to the need for flowers. For us, they serve as a fundamental for space planning in our homes, lobbies, offices and restaurants. Flowers embrace the environment we place them in and in return serve as medicine for the soul. They remind us of nature and life's joy in its simplicity and serve as a moderator of moods that can bring anyone delight.

Overall, I would say floral arrangement is an art that touches our heart in every curve, petal by petal, and we should aim to encapsulate just that.

Nazish Zubairy Saif is the Founder and Creative Consultant of Quite Quaint.

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