From the Archives: This post was originally featured in the May 2014 edition of The Garden Path magazine.
The Sogetsu School of Ikebana: By Don Davidson, Director of Sogetsu Portland
If there are hundreds of schools of ikebana, then how is the Sogetsu School Different? (And how will the exhibition at the Garden be different this year?)
The Sogetsu School of Ikebana is one of the newest and one of the largest schools of ikebana in the world. The founder, Sofu Teshigahara, started it in 1927 to embrace contemporary design. A sculptor as well as an ikebana artist, he saw no line between ikebana and sculpture. He viewed them as the same–that their only difference was in the materials.
I try my best as Director to instill in our members that we are first and foremost fine artists. We are Sogetsu Ikebana fine artists. My background is in design and art so I distinguish that classes are for studying design. Our classes should train the eye to be sensitive to lines, form, color–no different than first and second semester in any fine arts school. And I try to impress on our students that by acquiring sensitivity to these design principles that they will find their way to their own ikebana. Being a fine artist is something you can do for your entire life. It is a creative, joyous experience.