Akane Teshigaharas A bunch of thoughts

2015/01/15

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Vol. 91: Special Lectures at Joshibi University of Art and Design

Time flies so quickly and there are only a few more days left in 2014.

When looking back, I could encounter innumerable flowers, people, and spaces, and gather a lot of magnificent memories again this year.
Especially the classes with the students of Joshibi University of Art and Design when I accepted the offer to serve as a visiting professor this year became an unforgettable experience in which tension,surprise and joy were all combined.
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On December 4, the second special lecture was held.

The theme was "Renka".
Renka is a new form of ikebana proposed by Hiroshi Teshigahara, the former Iemoto. Just like with "renga", a type of waka (Japanese poem), people in a gathering enjoy collaborating by using the lower lines of the previous work to compose the first lines of the next work; with Renka, in the same way the second artist feels something from the ikebana made by the first creator and arranges the ikebana work, and then the 3rd artist does the same thing from the 2nd arrangement. In this way, all the artists there create their works consecutively as a series. At first I thought it might be too difficult for the students, but decided to try this theme because they did not have previous experience, so they could rather enjoy it without being hampered by any fixed preconceptions.

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First of all, I briefly explained ikebana and lectured on how to use secateurs the special
flower scissors and kenzan. Then I arranged the first work as the start of Renka in a demonstration.

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The students were divided into four teams of five.

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First they chose the flower materials and containers.

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With the help of Sogetsu Atelier staff, they were expressing their thoughts.

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When arranging flowers, they were very serious.

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After all of them completed their works, I asked each of them to comment on their own creations.

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What do you feel from the previous work?
Do you sympathize with it or oppose it? Smiling, nodding, shaking their heads… The students could not stop talking and reacting.

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At the end, everybody had a wonderful smile. They seemed to enjoy the fun of Renka fully.
As Hiroshi Teshigahara, who advocated Renka, keenly pointed out: there is a type of person who has already determined their own shape before creating, but that’s not Renka. The students could enjoy Renka purely because they do not have any concept of the forms of ikebana.
New creation can start from a bold and adventurous spirit when we dare to start afresh without using our previous ideas. The Renka experience at Joshibi University made me recognize that.

I am determined to try as many things as possible again in 2015 unhesitatingly.
I hope you have a happy year!

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