This 1960s Guide to Ikebana is the Resource We Need Right Now

I found The Art of Arranging Flowers, a comprehensive 1960s guide to the Japanese art of ikebana, in Stockholm at the beginning of last year. Too heavy to carry home, I tracked it down from a seller in Indiana and promptly bought it, thinking it would be a nice visual touchstone and a cool thing to display on my coffee table. Little did I know that a year later, I’d be wondering if the book could serve as an actual resource for those currently stuck in their homes, flailing about for ways to express their creativity. The book is massively comprehensive — it starts with the history and development of ikebana and its place in Japanese culture, then moves onto eleven basic styles, a guide to materials and tips (like spritzing a fine mist over the final arrangement to make it appear fresh, or how to trim a branch to make it appear less natural), twelve lessons in the more modern Moribana style, a guide to vases, and an exploration of the symbolism of certain plant species. I may not have a kenzan — that spiky thing that holds each stem in place — but I do have a yard, and spring is coming. Use these images as inspiration, and pick up a copy if you want to try it out yourself! (I’m thinking to try to DIY a kenzan from a potato brush?)

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