Unconventional Materials

Written by Sandy Marker

It was recommended we hunt through the garage for material and ideas for today’s theme. Even take a trip to Bunnings (a huge hardware store, which is a favourite hunting ground for many ikebana artists) to find exciting materials, the garden shed is another treasure cove of goodies.

Working with unconventional material allows you to really push your creative ideas without having to be ‘precious’ about the material. When working with plant material we adhere to Sofu Teshigahara’s ruling ‘ be respectful of the material’ and handle with care but working with ‘goodies’ found at the hardware store we can maybe a little ‘heavy handed’

A surfeit of materials created amazing arrangements – some of the great items used were freshly made play dough to create a contrast, chicken wire used as an armature to give paper strength, Brillo pads (pots scrubbers) stretched out over containers, rusty pipe found on the side of the road is treasure to most artists, even a knitted scarf curled around a rattan form had everyone talking. Belt buckles, coat hangers, picture frames and the selection goes on were used to create interesting forms.

I feel this is an excellent exercise because it pushes the imagination encouraging us to think. The next step is how can we present floral material differently using the ideas we have just come up with?

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