Juxtaposition of Opposites

Written by Paulina Rosa


We had the great pleasure of having Ms. Ray Bywaters, the President of Ikebana International Adelaide and a recent recipient of the Norman and Mary Sparnon Endowment (a sponsorship to study Ikebana at its Headquarters in Tokyo), to conduct a masterclass on the theme of Juxtaposition of Opposites. Ray was encouraged by one of her Masters, whilst studying in Tokyo, to challenge herself in composing Ikebana. In addition to the curriculum used for opposites such Straight and Curved Lines, Fresh and Dried Materials, Ray suggested there can be many opposites such as Smooth and Rough, Long and Short and numerous others that members can explore.

For her demonstration, the 1st Ikebana arrangement that she made was inspired by the “Hinamatsuri” also called the Doll’s or Girls’ Day Festival (celebrating the daughter’s growth) in Japan, where platforms are used to display a set of ornamental dolls representing the Emperor, Empress, attendants, and musicians in traditional court dress being offered to daughters in the family. She used the Male and Female opposites in this Ikebana.

Her 2nd Ikebana was about wrapped and unwrapped plus simple and complex. In the 3rd one, a number of opposites can be spotted: Fullness versus Emptiness, Inside versus Outside, Sinking versus Floating. The 4th one is about Stretching and Compress and the 5th one is Fresh versus Dry where the container is made out of paper and there are fresh and dried flowers. The first five images are placed in sequence to the order written here.

Our members had a very enjoyable class and were extremely creative in creating Ikebana by blending the two opposite ideas and everyone was trying to guess which opposites were used in each others’ arrangements! A heartfelt thank you to Ray who came all the way from Adelaide to share here experience and knowledge gained on her trip to Tokyo.