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Interview: Ikebana Master Akane Teshigahara

Akane Teshigahara has been called the rock star of ikebana, the Japanese floral art which is said to bring together nature and humanity. Here, she talks to us ahead of her new installation to mark HM Queen Sirikit’s birthday (Aug 2-13).

By Thitipol Panyalimpanun | Aug 01, 2013

  • Interview: Ikebana Master Akane Teshigahara
  • Interview: Ikebana Master Akane Teshigahara

How did you first get into ikebana?
When I was six years old, I began learning under my aunt, Kasumi Teshigahara, who was the second generation iemoto (headmaster) of the Sogetsu school of floral art. And I’ve continued to learn ever since.

What is the core concept of ikebana?
At the heart of ikebana is an expression of peace and serenity through the life power which is hidden inside plants. It is my wish to send good spirits, smiles, and joy through ikebana.

Do you have any tips on how to appreciate ikebana?
There are no rules for appreciating ikebana. There is no prejudice or judgment in appreciation. Through ikebana, though, the emotions and feelings of the floral artist are reflected quite directly. Even when the same plant is used, it can be represented in many ways according to the artist’s essence. Personally, I would encourage you to simply enjoy the variety of expression.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
I believe the art of ikebana is born from the environment and space in which it’s made. So, I try to put myself in the place as much as possible, to be conscious of the presence of humans, air and light, and I transfuse that into my work.

How would you describe your style?
I tend not to verbalize my work too much. I think different people might perceive it in different ways. 

Can you tell us more about this new floral installation at The Emporium?
Bamboo, which I use as the main material for this installation, possesses a very strong life force. In Japan, it is used for auspicious occasions. It also has the potential for a wide variety of expressions. Strength, delicacy, elegance, and dynamism—these are exactly the same traits as the mother of the Thai Kingdom, HM Queen Sirikit. In Japan’s winter, the bamboo stands without breaking or splitting under the weight of deep snow. It stands strong with the coming of spring, too.

What do you hope to achieve in the future?
My grandfather Sofu Teshigahara, who pioneered the Sogetsu art school, said, “Ikebana is the art of peace.” I think that in ikebana there is a power potent enough to blur religions and borders, and convey a peaceful feeling to people all around the world. I wish to continue in ikebana, for any chance that it might lift the suffering of people.

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