Ikebana birthday for Lismore

Art in action: Yoshiro Umemura makes a start to his ikebana flower arrangement for the exhibition in the Lismore Workers Club.
Art in action: Yoshiro Umemura makes a start to his ikebana flower arrangement for the exhibition in the Lismore Workers Club. Jay Cronan

THERE’S going to be an ikebana-rama in Lismore today, and you’re invited.

Despite a low public profile, ikebana – the ancient Japanese art of flower arranging – has had a thriving home in Lismore for half-a-century.

Alstonville resident Dorothy Edwards was responsible for bringing ikebana to the Northern Rivers, after reading about it in a magazine in 1959.

The following year, after correspondence with ikebana officials in Japan, the Lismore chapter of Ikebana International was formed.

So, to mark 50 years of local ikebana, the Lismore chapter will celebrate its anniversary today. The Lismore chapter – the 32nd to be formed outside Japan – is one of five in Australia and 165 globally.

After establishing itself in America, it soon took off in Australia, with Lismore one the longest- standing ikebana international chapters.

As a result, the Lismore group is planning to make today an anniversary to remember.

The celebrations will include a demonstration by a certified ikebana master, as well as an ikebana exhibition.

Both events will be held in the Lismore Workers Club.

Master Yoshiro Umemura will journey from Sydney to give his students and curious onlookers an ikebana master class.

He is expected to create about eight arrangements in Lismore as part of the celebrations.

Master Umemura – like the 33 members of the Lismore chapter – practices a style of ikebana known as sogetsu.

This style originated in the 1920s and is a more contemporary, colourful style of flower arranging than traditional practice.

“Ours is a more modern form,” Lismore chapter member Glenda Schofield said.

“We’re not rigid; we have more of a freestyle approach.

“There’s a lot of skill involved.”

Ms Schofield said that, like all art forms, crafting an ikebana arrangement takes time.

“It’s the sort of thing you contemplate as you do it,” she said.

“You need to look at the balance and colour.

“It’s never instantaneous.”

But despite the patience and skill required, Ms Schofield said the finished product was worth the effort.

“It’s quite delightful. It’s a lovely, uplifting experience,” she said.

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