Lesson 1 – Basic Upright Style Moribana, Hongatte

It all starts with the Basic Upright Style Moribana arrangement…

If you want to start Ikebana lessons, you need a few things:

  • A shallow container called ‘Suiban
    The suiban should measure about 12 inch in diameter. The edges should be about 2-3 inches high.
    If they are made of ceramics, that’s ideal, because it adds a great look. Choose a black Suiban to start out with, it’s the most versatile to work with different color materials.
    If you have  a plastic Suiban, that’s fine too, but make sure if doesn’t look cheap.
  • A Needle pin holder called ‘Kenzan‘.
    I’d recommend to buy a heavy Kenzan, since you will be using it a lot.
    If it’s not heavy enough, the Kenzan and the entire arrangement may fall over.
    If the pins are not long enough, they won’t hold the branches or may break.
    It’s definitely worth to invest in a Kenzan, such as the ones here.
  • Shears for pruning the branches and flowers. These shears are called ‘Hasami‘.
    It requires some practice to work withe the shears, since you can cut very strong branches, but if not held correctly, your can get hurt. I will give some more tips on this later.
    If you want to start with some regular pruning shears for the first few arrangements, that’s fine.
    Just remember to work with softer branches.
  • A plastic bowl with strainer, since you will be cutting the branches and flowers under water.
    The bowl should be around 11 inch in diameter, and 5 inch high.
    This helps the flowers to stay fresh longer. This technique is called  xxx
  • A towel, to wipe around the arrangement and keep the area clean.

Once you have these 5 items, you are all ready to start!!

For the first lesson, you will be making a ‘Basic Upright style Moribana, Hongatte’ arrangement.
Let me explain the terminology first, before I describe the arrangement.

  • Basic Upright Style means that the branches should be ‘standing up’, rather straight, maybe slightly curved. The branches need to be rather strong and not very bendable.
  • Moribana means ‘piling up’, which means that we will be adding material in a Kenzan.
    A Moribana arrangement is always done in a shallow container.
  • Hongatte means ‘Main Side’ and describes in which direction the arrangement will be facing. The Main side is considered the ‘Left Hand Side’, which means that the Main Branches will be on the left side of the arrangement.

Basic Upright Style – The Lines:
A Basic Upright Style arrangement has 3 main lines.

  • Shin is the tallest line and represents ‘Heaven. We use branch material for Shin.
  • Soe is the second line and represents ‘Men’. We use the same branch material for Shin and Soe.
  • Hikae is the thirst tallest line and represents ‘Earth’. We use a flower for this line.
  • Jushi are supporting lines to artistically cover the Kenzan.
    Artistically means that the Kenzan should not be just ‘covered’, you only add Jushi where needed.
    Jushi are generally taken from cutting of the main branches. So no additional material should be introduced for Jushi

Basic Upright Style – The Material:

  • You need 2 straight branches for Shin and Soe. It’s easier if the branches have some foliage for this first lessons, so you have an easier time to place the main branches and to artistically cover the Kenzan.
  • You need 3-5 flowers dependent on the size of the flower and the visual weight of the flower compared to the branch.

Basic Upright Style – The Diagram:

Birdseye view:

Front view:

Basic Upright Style – The Demonstration:

  • <Video>

Re-cap: Basic Upright Style – The Measurements:

  • Shin is measured by the width of the container plus the height of the container plus one half.
    Assume you have a container with 12 inch in diameter and 5 inch . Look at your branch start measuring from about 3 inch from the top. Then add 12 inch, then add 5 inch, (3+12+5 = 20), then plus ‘half’ (10 inch).So your Shin branch would be approximately 30 inch in height.
    The word approximately is more important here than the actual 30 inch, since it could be a bit more of less, based on the visual heaviness of the material.
  • Soe is measured as 3/4 of Shin.
  • Hikae is measured as 3/4 of Soe.

Re-cap: Basic Upright Style – The Arrangement:

Basic Upright Style Moribana, Hongatte:

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and please send your pictures!
If you have any questions, please email me at xxx@gmail.com.


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