“Awase-Shin Rikka” at Annual Consulate General of Japan Year-end Party on December 10th, 2014

Every December, Consulate General of Japan holds an annual party at Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel. It is a time to thank the good relationship between local officers, business people, and others with Japan. The event is also called the Emperor’s Birthday Party, commemorating the current emperor’s birthday on December 23rd.

Through Ikebana International Denver Chapter (#66), one of senior teachers from three of Japanese Ikebana Schools, Sogetsu, Ohara and Ikenobo, are asked to present flower arrangements for this event by Consulate General of Japan, taking turns every three years.

This year was my turn. Three years ago, I had a Rikka Sunamono arrangement.
Rikka Sunamono flower arrangement at the Year-end Party held by Consulate General of Japan at Denver – December 2nd, 2011

This year, I had an inspiration from the Emperor and his wife as a couple, who turned 81 years old and 80 respectively.
To show the respect for the Emperor couple, I had prepared the Awase-Shin Rikka, which uses two different types of pines combined for Sugu-Shin, the middle tall pine(s), and is presented at a formal, happy occasion such as a wedding ceremony. “Awase-Shin” means the “Combined, Coupled, Together, United”. Normally in Japan, Black Pine as a symbol for male and Red Pine as a symbol for female are used to construct the “Awase-Shin”. But, in Colorado, I used the local Ponderosa pine and Mugo pine for this arrangement because I could not obtain Black and Red pines.
I hope this combination-arrangement shows the respect for the Emperor couple and wishes both Emperor’s and his wife’s longevity.

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Rikka flower arrangement for the opening of Kimono Show at TACtile

Kazuko was asked to present the flower arrangement for the Opening of Kimono Show at TACtile, Textile Arts Center at 1955 South Quince Street in Denver from June 28 through June 29, 2013. She presented this Rikka (Kusamono Rikka).

She will teach the Oshi-E workshop classs from 1pm to 3pm on July 21, 2013, and the Furoshiki workshop classs at TACtile from 1pm to 3pm on August 3, 2013.

Please see sample Furoshiki wrapping pictures on
Furoshiki : Japanese Art of Wrapping

please see
Upcoming exhibits and Classes at TACtile
for workshop details. Please call TACtile to reserve a seat.

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Rikka arrangements by students (3)

This month’s Rikka arrangement by students:

Students have already completed 2 lessons, and the 3rd lesson is the lesson to use Ukezutsu.

My students have spent 3-4 hours to complete this arrangement, which I was hoping for them to complete in two hours.

By Janice (This picture is not taken from the front.):

By Naoko:

How long does it take to learn Rikka (Rikka Shofutai)?

Tradittional Rikka, or Rikka Shofutai, has the following NEW recommended curriculum from Ikenobo Kyoto headquarters:

Rikka Introduction – Level 1: the minimum of 5 lessons,
Rikka Introduction – Level 2: the minimum of 5 lessons,
Rikka Introduction – Level 3: the minimum of 5 lessons.

After these “Introduction” lessons, which consists of the minimum of total of 15 lessons in the time span of 2 to 3 years, a student would have mastered the basic techniques of Rikka. Several of my students are currently at the stage of the third to fifth lessons of Rikka Introduction – Level 1. From my teaching experiences with my students, it seems 10 lessons or so may be needed for each Level before proceeding to the next Level.

A student who completed the above introductory classes can proceed to the intermediate classes of Rikka (Shofutai). The intermediate classes teach about 30 different traditional Rikka arrangements (theme), based on the instruction book “7 Tips for Material Usage & 19 Rikka Motifs (Themes)”. A student would learn each style by taking a couple of lessons for each arrangement (style). This process would normally take 4 years or more.

Then, the student can proceed to more advanced and creative level of Rikka, taking such large-scale arrangement as Mikizukuri Rikka and Rikka Sunamono.

The master-level Rikka arrangers could further proceed to the Okuden level of Rikka after learning the most of advanced level motifs (themes).

Separately, a student who has completed the Rikka Introduction – Levels 1 through 3 can start to work on Rikka Shimputai.

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Rikka arrangements by students (2)

Here are other Rikka arrangements made by students taking the Introductory Rikka Workshop for First Timers (Beginners), Rikka Step by Step 1-2. Students had completed Rikka Step by Step 1-1 before.

Students learned the engineering of how to construct Rikka in a quick and correct way.

The materials for this Rikka were a little more difficult to deal with than the ones for Rikka Step by Step 1-1, but everyone handled each stem very well.
Some students were reluctant in the beginning to learn Rikka, but now they say it is easy to learn Rikka through Kazuko’s “engineering” method.

By JoAnn:

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Rikka arrangements by students

These are Rikka arrangements made by students taking the Introductory Rikka Workshop for First Timers (Beginners), Rikka Step by Step 1-1. The same introductory workshop was held twice in September, 2012. This class was the third one, and the last Introductory workshop untill the year 2015.

By Francine:

By Althea:

15th-Century-style Sunamono Rikka arrangement made for inaugural meeting of North American Japanese Garden Association

The inaugural meeting of North American Japanese Garden Association (NAJGA) was held on October 12-14, 2012 in Denver.

NAJGA asked the Ikebana International Chaper 66 (Denver Chapter) for flower arrangements at the dinner ceremony.
As a member of the Ikebana International Chaper 66, Kazuko made this 15th-Century-style Sunamono Rikka arrangement. This is not a Bonsai! The pine tree consists of branches cut from lodgepole pines by Kazuko’s student, Bill Stufflebeem, from his land in the Colorado mountains. They are cut and assembled to look like a natural beauty of the tree, with screws and hidden nails.
It took about two days to prepare and build this arrangement, with a table saw for a sharp straight cut of the main trunk, an electric saw, an electric drill, an electric screw driver, and other power tools.

Kazuko does the final adjustment on site.

to see more pictures, click “Continue reading ->” below ….
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Basic Techniques of Rikka class starts in September, 2012

Kazuko will start offering the Basic Techniques of Rikka class starting in September, 2012.

See Kazuko’s class schedule at:

This class will be taught through a 5-6 class sessions to teach the basic of Ikenobo Rikka arrangement. The class will be offerred approximately once every two months. But, a student is expected to attend all 5-6 classes to be considered to have mastered the Basic Techniques of Rikka class.
In this class, s/he will be making Rikka arrangement like this, with easy-to-manage materials,

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