I had studied basic Garden Club-style Western flower arranging and had entered some New Mexico State Fair competitions and done pretty well. I wanted to continue learning more about flower arranging within the camaraderie of a group, but I had already taken the available class twice. I was looking for a new class or club or something... Then a couple of people recommended that I join the Albuquerque Ikebana International Chapter (#41). It meets, they told me, every month, and you have an opportunity then to create an arrangement along with others and learn a whole new way of arranging flowers, the Japanese way. Well, I had no particular interest, I thought, in learning Japanese flower arranging per se. I wasn't even sure what it was. I just wanted to keep learning about floral design and to do it with a friendly group. So I started attending the meetings, and soon I joined. That was two years ago. I've come a long way in learning (though perhaps not so far in skill), and when I opened ikebana's door, I unintentionally discovered Japan.
All photos on this page were taken by Peggy Atencio and are used with her permission.