A few years ago, my mom and I went to a local craft fair and came across a collection of what to me were beautiful flat flower bud vases. I immediately was taken with these adorable and unconventional vases, and my mom kindly bought me this ceramic one glazed with an exquisite dragonfly design. It wasn’t until I researched online to write this post that I realized that this style of vase is called ikebana, and variations of it have been made and displayed for centuries in Japan.
You can see samples of ikebana vase and flowers here and here on Pinterest, and these vases made of turned wood, and these made of porcelain. (I’m not being compensated in any way to mention these links…I just think they’re interesting examples of what’s out there.) Wikipedia and JapanZone both give a brief and interesting history and explanation of ikebana.
In writing this post, I sort of went down an ikebana rabbit hole, to tell truth, and found myself coming across books on Amazon about the art of ikebana vase and flower arranging. Some of these books appear to be highly instructive and beautiful, with lots of glossy and colorful photographs. Ikebana The Art of Arranging Flowers by Shozo Sato had a five-star rating by customers.
Another book about ikebana vase and flowers that I found on Amazon was Japanese Ikebana for Every Season by Yuji Ueno, also rated by customers with five stars.
Here’s a gift idea: A book like one of these about ikebana, coupled with an ikebana vase! You could even add a pair of hand pruning shears. Wouldn’t a pairing or combination like this make a unique and thoughtful gift? Maybe just give it to yourself! And many of the ikebana vases that I came across appear to be reasonably priced.
What I love about an ikebana vase and flower arrangement is how simple and understated it is, and yet so elegant.
Let me make a disclaimer here: I’ve never studied or analyzed how to make an ikebana arrangement, and those shown in these photos were just me using my own eye and intuition as to what was aesthetically pleasing. I think you should do the same! Still, referencing some books or information online about ikebana vases and flowers might add to your bank of ikebana creativity. I’ve already arranged to check out some ikebana books at my local library.
To create the ikebana arrangements shown on this post, I simply cut some flowers and greenery from planter boxes out on my back deck.
Because you’ll only be using a flower or two, and perhaps a couple of sprigs of greenery, you can go all out with your imagination. Look for tiny wild flowers in your yard, or use the sprig of a flowering herb, a curled dead willow stick, or long pieces of golden dried grass. Even a so-called weed can look absolutely stunning in an ikebana vase arrangement.
If you decide to purchase an ikebana vase, be sure that it has an attached metal flower frog inside to hold up the flowers and greenery.
I might not have realized that this was an ikebana vase when it was given to me, but that doesn’t change the fact that it has always been treasured. This unique little gift has allowed for endless variations of simple but eye-catching arrangements.