Now at The Nest

Thank you to The Lab Saigon and The Nest by AIA for allowing us to create the arrangements for their open working space. Please stop by The Nest, located in the Bitexco Tower, to see our work. This month, arrangements are by Nixon Tran.

 

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Ikebana and Wine Workshop at Wilde Los Angeles, July 23rd

Auralynn Nguyen is currently in Los Angeles; due to demand, we have a workshop available for Sunday, July 23rd. Information is below:

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THE ART OF IKEBANA
SUNDAY, JULY 23rd 2:30 pm - 5 pm

Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arranging.

It has more complexities than simply putting the flowers in a vase and  requires disciplined effort and a meditative mindset. 
No two arrangements are alike, with each one representing the creator's  personality. 
This class will teach the Sogetsu school of Ikebana method -  the philosophy is that Ikebana can be made by "anytime, anywhere, and by anyone"  
Your class will include an introduction to the art of Ikebana, all materials needed (you will take home your finished piece) and will last 2.5 hours.  Your ticket also includes bottomless red, white or rose wine, soft drinks, a tea bar and a buffet of cheese, chocolate and fruit.

Your teacher will be Auralynn Nguyen who was has studied extensively in Japan. She has exhibited at various galleries and event spaces in Los Angeles, Saigon, and Tokyo and taught Ikebana around the world.

Tickets must be purchased in advance and are very limited
GET YOUR TICKETS HERE
 

*****
WILDE Wine Bar + Restaurant
320 S. La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, Calif. 90036
323 932 9500

 

Book 5 Seminar in Mexico City

Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to Mexico City for the Book 5 Seminar taking place. A teacher I greatly admire, Ishikawa Misei, had flown in from Japan to hold the session. So exciting!

It was a nice break from Vietnam's own chaos, and my visits to Los Angeles. The most refreshing thing was to meet the kind and welcoming members of the Sogetsu Mexico group. They have three branches/study groups in Mexico: DF (Mexico City), Puebla and Monterrey. Some attendees traveled a long distance to go to this seminar; what determination! 

From there I found out that the Mexico City group has classes each week, and their own little building solely for classes. The main teachers there also make their own ceramic containers. (Information regarding classes is at the bottom of this post). 

Our seminar had long, but fun days. I'm surprised at how lively Ishikawa-sensei is after such a long flight, but a short trip condensed to solely ikebana. We had different workshop lessons regarding book five, but the most critical themes that need to be learned and practiced regularly are regarding technique. This means, knowing how to make vertical and cross bar fixtures, or balance and arrangement without use of a kenzan. Creativity is, of course, critical, but if a viewer can see your method to arranging the magic is gone.
 

Book lesson 5-8: Improving Your Technique Without a Kenzan

Book lesson 5-8: Improving Your Technique Without a Kenzan

The various ways of securing materials without using a kenzan. 

The various ways of securing materials without using a kenzan. 

 

The event took place at the Nichiboku Kaikan, which houses a variety of events and classes relating to Japanese culture. It was lovely to eat our lunches alongside the garden.
 

(Left to right): Ishikawa Misei, Kasuga-sensei of Mexico City branch, and myself (Auralynn Nguyen)

(Left to right): Ishikawa Misei, Kasuga-sensei of Mexico City branch, and myself (Auralynn Nguyen)

A big thank you again to Kasuga-sensei, President of the Mexico City branch, for approving my attendance. I'd also like to thank Ishikawa Misei for her encouraging of my attendance, and the wonderful people I met during this time. I'll see you soon Renata, Alma, and Lily!

With Renata, a member of the Mexico City group. She was so kind and inviting for my visit. Thank you for your friendship! 

With Renata, a member of the Mexico City group. She was so kind and inviting for my visit. Thank you for your friendship! 

The Sogetsu Mexico City group offers classes on Wednesdays, Thursdays (twice), and Saturdays. 
You can find more information by contacting the Nichiboku Kaikan:

144 Calle Fujiyama, Col. Las Aguilas, C.P. 01710, México D.F. 
http://www.asociacionmexicojaponesa.mx

A New Selection of Modern Flower Arrangements, 1933.

One day while rummaging through an assortment of old books, I found a historic relic of the Sogetsu school to much surprise. I would hate to brag, but I believe I have had much luck with older ikebana paraphernalia; I take it as a sign that I am on the right path. 

The book, along with two postcards from Lourdes tucked inside. 

The book, along with two postcards from Lourdes tucked inside. 

The book is "A New Selection of Modern Flower Arrangements", from 1933. The book inside has 60 illustrations of arrangements by Sogetsu-ryu headmaster and founder, Sofu Teshigahara. Each work is explained in a poetic rhythm by Mirei Shigemori, who reinvented Japanese landscaping in the 1930s. Some of his most famous examples are the gardens at Tofuku-ji (Kyoto, Japan) along with his own home tucked away in the city centre.

Part of the garden at the Shigemori residence in Kyoto, Japan. Taken November 2014.

Part of the garden at the Shigemori residence in Kyoto, Japan. Taken November 2014.

Naturally, I was entranced to encounter such a book. Teshigahara Sofu had only founded Sogetsu in 1927, so this book was published during the beginning of their (Teshigahara and Shigemori) arts progressing.  The book's illustrations are beautifully painted by Seikin Wasajiri. A preface by Shigemori concludes the book finished on 17 August 1933. 

Below are some photographs of a selection of the 60 arrangements, along with its text, translated. Feel free to click for a better look and information:
 

To us, in 2017, these arrangements by Sofu-sensei are more traditional and resembling of nature. All one has to do is look at what he was able to accomplish post-war in the 1950s and '60s. For the ikebanists of today, it is important to understand how progressive this ikebana was in 1933. Ikebana has no boundaries; so, where will it go in the future? 

Spring 2017 Classes by Auralynn Nguyen Added

We are happy to offer Auralynn Nguyen's schedule for Sogetsu ikebana lessons during this warm Sài Gòn spring.

 

April: 28th, 29th (Fri, Sat)
May: 1st (Monday), 5th & 6th (Fri, Sat), 12th & 13th (Fri, Sat) and 18th, 19th, 20th (Thurs, Fri, Sat)

※Lessons take place in district 1. Generally, lessons are two hours and are available from 13h to 18h. 
※Cost: 470,000 VND for flower materials and rental of ikebana vase and scissors. 
※Reservations required with a cancellation minimum of two days.
※Lessons are done following the Sogetsu School of Ikebana's text book curriculum. There are five books in total. After completing the first four textbooks lessons (20 in total) the student can move to more artistic and free style works in text book five. 
※After completing each textbook (20 lessons) the student can apply for a diploma from the Sogetsu Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan.
※Private lessons are also available. Please send a message for pricing.

For more information and reservations, please feel free to send an inquiry through the contact page. 

Bouquets to Art 2017

This year I was given the opportunity to visit Nixon in San Francisco for the DeYoung Museum's annual fundraising event, Bouquets to Art. What a treat! 

Nixon Tran and his co-exhibitor Alice Van Fleet with their arrangement at the 2017 Bouquets to Art.

Nixon Tran and his co-exhibitor Alice Van Fleet with their arrangement at the 2017 Bouquets to Art.

Nixon and Alice Van Fleet (his co-exhibitor) had a difficult piece of artwork to use as inspiration, but they managed to interpret it as a three dimensional floral piece.

With over 150 exhibitors from the Bay Area, the event is a little overwhelming, but very inspiring. There is such a variety of creativity that happens when Western flower arranging, floral design and ikebana meet. 
 

Thank you again to Nixon for the invitation; if you ever find yourself in San Francisco in the first few weeks of March stick around for a beautiful presentation.