Students try ikebana - the Japanese art of flower arranging

Publication Date

By: Dorothy Hazan '16

On Wednesday, Professor Ikuko Yoshida of Bennington College visited Union to give a demonstration of ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement.

Contrary to the western idea of floral arrangement, Ikebana is a disciplined art form in which nature and humanity are brought together. Its minimalist style lays emphasis on shape, line and form.

“I showed the students how culture affects the way you look at something,” said Yoshida, “You need to understand the culture in order to appreciate the aesthetics.”

Students from both Professor Joyce Madancy’s “Confucians and Conquerors” class and Professor Sheri Lullo’s “Arts of Japan” classes attended the demonstration and later tried their hands at their own flower arrangements.

“It’s a very different perspective,” said Samantha Griffiths ’15. “I usually like things to be very symmetrical, but this is very asymmetrical.”

“I learned that the Japanese aesthetic is less about controlling nature and more about celebrating form,” said Olivia Thurston ’16.

Professor Yoshida created her own arrangement in a special vase that Union received from Kansai Gaidai University – the school Union students attend when they study abroad in Japan.