Monday, December 10, 2012

Flower arranging with children

 Ikebana International (, the international organization of people who love the floral art form given to the world by Japan, has recently been emphasizing the importance of teaching ikebana to children. Like other art forms that children learn when young--such as painting, working with clay, singing--ikebana can imbue youngsters with appreciation for beauty and for their own creative abilities. They can also learn to really see the world of plants around them, not just their colors but also their sculptural organic forms.

At Thanksgiving, when I visited my son and daughter-in-law and two young granddaughters in California, we did what I hope will continue whenever we're together--make a flower arrangement. In the first photo above, I'm in the garden with my older granddaughter, Skye, age 2 1/2, selecting flowers to cut (Grandma's in charge of wielding the scissors, of course). California weather is conducive to lovely flowers all year, so we had no trouble finding pretty ones that Skye liked even in November. Then we went inside to put the flowers into a container that my son, her daddy, had crafted some years ago. I didn't want to use a kenzan, too sharp for little fingers, nor did I want to use oasis, so I crumpled up a bit of plastic mesh and put it into the container so that we could insert the flowers into it. We also gathered some leaves. Skye actually put the flowers into the container as she wanted, and the second photo shows me trying to insert some leaves that she also wanted but whose stems were too short. We had fun doing the arrangement (actually she did two, as we had flowers left over), she was very proud of them when we finished, and they graced the Thankgiving dinner table. Not ikebana yet, but a beginning pleasure in selecting and arranging plants.
The photos are courtesy of Laura and DeLesley Hutchins.

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