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Classes & Workshops

Winter Ikebana Workshop Series with Carolyn Alter, Ohara School

Carolyn Alter, Head Teacher of the Ohara School of Ikebana’s Oregon Chapter, will bring the beauty of kado (the way of flowers) to Portland Japanese Garden this winter by teaching a workshop series consisting of four sessions. Students will receive a creative outlet, a respite from the fast speed of life, as well as the chance to connect with nature, nurture their spirit, and learn about an aspect of Japanese culture.

Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, has been translated as “living flowers” or “giving life to flowers,” and is unique from other approaches to flower arrangements. Workshop instructor Carolyn Alter will teach students how to “bring the essence of nature into their arrangements.” Participants will learn beginner Hana Isho (flower design) in the Ohara School method and based on the curriculum set forth by the Ohara School of Ikebana. Each session will include both demonstrations by Carolyn and hands-on time for the students to create.

The first session will focus on the basic principles of ikebana; its history, reasons to study ikebana, the aesthetics of ikebana design, and the mechanics of arrangement. The instructor will guide students through each phase with a demonstration and then hands-on time to create. The subsequent three sessions will build on the basic principles, where students will review the Rising Form and Ohyo variations using different materials.

Ikebana Study Course Schedule:

There are 4 sessions total. Each session is available for morning or afternoon. Students will receive 9 hours of instruction per series.

Morning session option:

REVISEDSession 1: Thursday, February 8, 2024, 9am – noon
Session 2: Thursday, February 15, 2024, 10am – noon
Session 3: Thursday, February 29, 2024, 10am – noon
Session 4: Thursday, March 7, 2024, 10am – noon

Afternoon session option:

REVISEDSession 1: Thursday, February 8, 2024, 1pm – 4pm
Session 2: Thursday, February 15, 2024, 1pm – 3pm
Session 3: Thursday, February 29, 2024, 1pm – 3pm
Session 4: Thursday, March 7, 2024, 1pm – 3pm


Yanai Classroom, Portland Japanese Garden


Workshop Series

Members: $300
Non-Members: $375
Participation is limited to 15 students per session.
All tools and materials are included in the workshop fee.

Register for Morning Sessions Register for Afternoon Sessions

About Carolyn Alter:

Carolyn Alter began studying in the Ohara School of Ikebana under Sensei Kitty (Natsue) Akre in 1993. She began teaching weekly classes and founded Wednesday’s Flowers in 2012. She is a long-time member of Portland Japanese Garden, Ikebana International and the North American Ohara Teachers Association. She has attended numerous ikebana conferences in the US and taken classes in Japan, chaired many exhibitions, given numerous demonstrations, and is certified as an Associate First Term Master of the Ohara School of Ikebana. She is also the Head Teacher and Treasurer of the Oregon Chapter of the Ohara School. As a retired physical therapist, she appreciates the healing aspects of nature through practicing ikebana. She loves being outdoors, gardening, and the beauty of Japanese culture.

About the Ohara School of Ikebana

The Ohara School of Ikebana emphasizes connecting with nature season by season, utilizing the materials’ individual character, and arranging it in a naturalistic way. They are known for moribana, which broke with more traditional and formal vertical styles, creating new horizontal “landscape” arrangements, with flowers “heaped” (moru) in lower plate-like containers.

Feedback from past students:

Great class. Carolyn’s so good at explanation and encouragement.

I enjoyed the high quality of the instruction and materials.

Great introduction to basic forms, with increasing challenges along the way.

I didn’t know anything about ikebana prior to this class, and I learned so much.

I appreciated the history in the first class. The approach in the class was great –  demonstration, action, correction.