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生け花 Ikebana - Flower Arrangement

Japanese Flower Arrangement workshop by 岩田 明子 - Iwata Akiko & 石井 みちよ - Michiyo Ishii Sloane

The Japanese flower arrangement workshop offers a unique and enriching experience that delves into the traditional art of Ikebana. Originating over 600 years ago, Ikebana is more than just flower arrangement; it is a disciplined art form in which nature and humanity are brought together. Unlike the western approaches that emphasize the abundance and color of flowers, Ikebana emphasizes form, balance, and harmony. Participants in this workshop will not only learn the technical skills required for Ikebana but also gain a deeper appreciation of Japanese aesthetics and philosophy.

Historical Background:

Ikebana, also known as "Kado" (the Way of Flowers), has its roots in the Buddhist practice of offering flowers to the spirits of the dead. Over centuries, it evolved into a sophisticated art form, influenced by Japanese culture, religion, and aesthetics. The principles of Ikebana are deeply intertwined with the Zen Buddhist concept of simplicity and mindfulness, focusing on the natural beauty of the materials used and the spaces between them.

The Art of Mindfulness:

Ikebana is as much about the process as it is about the final arrangement. The workshop emphasizes the meditative aspect of the practice, encouraging participants to focus on the present moment and engage fully with their materials. This mindfulness approach fosters a deeper connection with nature and enhances the overall experience of creating Ikebana.

Cultural Significance:

Ikebana is a reflection of Japanese cultural values such as simplicity, harmony, and respect for nature. By participating in this workshop, individuals gain insight into these values and how they are expressed through the art of flower arrangement. The workshop provides a unique opportunity to engage with Japanese culture in a meaningful and hands-on way.

Benefits of Participation:

1. Creative Expression:
- Participants explore their creativity and artistic skills, creating unique floral arrangements that express their personal style within the framework of traditional principles.

2. Stress Relief and Relaxation:
- The meditative nature of Ikebana promotes relaxation and reduces stress. The act of arranging flowers can be a soothing and therapeutic experience.

3. Cultural Appreciation:
- Engaging with Ikebana offers a deeper appreciation of Japanese culture and aesthetics. Participants learn about the historical and philosophical context of the art form, enriching their cultural understanding.

4. Skill Development:
- The workshop provides practical skills that can be applied beyond the classroom. Participants learn techniques that they can use to create beautiful arrangements in their own homes.

The Japanese flower arrangement workshop is a journey into the heart of Ikebana, offering a blend of artistic expression, cultural education, and personal growth. Whether you are a seasoned flower enthusiast or a curious beginner, this workshop provides an enriching experience that will leave you with a deeper appreciation for the art of Ikebana and the beauty of nature. Join us and discover the serene and elegant world of Japanese flower arrangement.


岩田 明子 -Akiko Iwata is a landscape designer and an artist specializing in Ikebana flower arrangement, incorporating Japanese fabric, natural materials such as obi, washi paper, natural seeds, dried plants, and more. Born in Tokyo, Japan, Akiko's interest in design and art began in her childhood, inspired by her grandfather's craftsmanship in traditional Japanese embroidery.

She graduated with honors from Nihon University in 1989 and worked for Taisei Corporation for six years. In 1995, she moved to the USA to study at Cornell University, where she earned a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture with honors. Akiko has worked on various projects, including large-scale international hospitality projects, serving as a lead designer and project manager. Some of her projects have received design awards.

In 2010, Akiko founded Ai Design Creative Studio, where she has expanded her skills beyond landscape architecture. While continuing to work on landscape projects, her professional interests have evolved to include Ikebana flower arrangements and interior decoration. She provides Ikebana arrangements for several high-end Japanese restaurants in Miami and offers Ikebana experience workshops for private and non-profit groups.

Akiko is also actively involved in supporting non-profit organizations, utilizing her Japanese cultural background. Her contributions include work with The Japan-America Society of Miami/South, Ichimura Miami-Japan Garden, and Ikebana International Miami Chapter. Through her efforts, she aims to connect different cultures, contribute to the local multicultural society, and transcend cultural borders.

石井 みちよ - Michiyo Ishii-Sloane is a dedicated advocate for cultural exchange and community engagement. She passionately supports local Japanese cultural events, collaborating with nonprofit organizations such as the Ichimura Miami Japan Garden and the Miami chapter of Ikebana International. Working alongside Akiko Iwata, Michiyo contributes to Ikebana arrangements at Japanese restaurants and conducts Ikebana workshops in the Miami area.

With extensive experience in presenting traditional Japanese culture, Michiyo has showcased origami, Japanese calligraphy, folktale paper theater, and homestyle cooking at schools, libraries, and community centers across Berlin, Germany (1989-1994), Vicenza, Italy (1994-1998), and Miami, Florida (1998-2023).

Since 2010, she has served as a volunteer at the Ichimura Miami Japan Garden and joined the Miami chapter of Ikebana International in 2011.

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