‘Challenge’ was the theme of the Teachers’ Workshops at the Sogetsu Kaikan. It is certainly a thought provoking theme: – does it mean ‘challenge yourself’, ‘challenge the material’, ‘challenge the design’; I feel it encompasses all three aspects.
My first attempt at the theme I am afraid to say is not work recording so I will start with my second attempt. I worked with one kind of material. The branch was extremely firm making me ‘break’ it to obtain the required angles. The challenge for me was breaking the branch. This method or style of work goes totally against my belief and feelings that fresh material should not be ‘broken’ especially if it has flowers and leaves. I feel it looks as if you do not respect the material. My belief is not shared with many other ikebana artists and they say the material will remain fresh because the bark is not completely broken thus allowing water to feed the leaves.
Though the design was very successful and praised by the Iemoto. But I was not completely happy working in this style so the theme was true to its name ‘Challenge”