On Tuesday, October 8, residents of Juniper Village of Mount Joy gathered to learn about Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging.
Flowers from around the village were collected to create a lovely arrangement. Residents decided on which vase they would use and then chose to fill this vase with colorful pebbles and seashells. They each added a handful of these objects, as they listened to an article reading which explained the history and purpose of this unique floral design.
Rather than arranging flowers haphazardly into a bouquet, flowers are arranged symbolically, according to the season of the year. Two longer branches are placed strategically, at a specific angle, followed by another group of flowers which are 3/4 shorter than the longer branches. Then another smaller flower is placed at 3/4 the length of the second set of flowers. This three tiered arrangement style is called Shin, Soe, and Hikae, representing heaven, man, and earth, respectively. Lastly, supporting stems are added to fill in, these are called the jushi. A Kenzan is used to keep flowers in place; this is a small pin covered object, upon which stems are pierced for support. Residents each participated by selecting which flowers and stems would be used, as well as how to place them on the kenzan.
This type of arrangement focuses on balance, with the goal being to display each individual branch, flower, and stem artfully, to bring out the inner qualities of these various living materials. After filling the vase with water to hydrate, the Ikebana arrangement is then placed in a sacred recess called a tokonama , to create a place of reverence, tranquility, color, and decoration. Residents were delighted at the resulting arrangement, and found this event to be quite an interesting discovery as a new therapeutic form of Art.