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  • Writer's pictureJane Dutcher

Ikebana and the Art of Chair Design

Ikebana which is the art of Japanese flower arranging has played a prominent role in my designing of chairs. There are over three thousand formal Japanese floral schools in Japan and three of those are mainly studied outside of Japan: Ikenobo, Ohara and Sogetsu.

Ikenobo is the original and oldest school of study and I have been a student of this style for over 35 years. The continual practice of selecting a vase and an assortment of flowers to arrange in it has given me an innate basis to pick a chair style and an assortment of fabrics to complement each other ---- some call this having an “eye” for my choices!

Let me try to illustrate:

This Ikenobo arrangement is a Shoka Shimputai.

The components of this arrangement start with the vase which is the same as starting with the style of chair that is going to be upcycled.

The large green leaf is the main focal point or the place in the arrangement where your eye first settles. This is the Shu which is the main focus just as the lovely fabric is the main focus material on this chair.

The purple flowers complement the green leaf whether it’s color or shape. This is the Yo of the arrangement which is similar to the material used on the back of this shown in the next picture.

The last part is the Ashari which is the piece of material which ties the Shu and Yo together. In the arrangement it is the piece of corkscrew willow that ties the material together, whereas in the chair design, the blue pain on the chair is its Ashari

Now it’s time for you to find your Shu, Yo and Ashari to make a fabulous chair!

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