Confession: I’m obsessed with flowers.
No matter where I am, at home or travelling, I seek out the perfect bloom to keep me company and I always find one that suits my mood. I love flowers for their emotional connection; some lift your spirits with plentiful colour or scent, others have a sense of melancholy and help you through times of pain. Inspired by nature’s seasonal bounty, I usually create lush and spontaneous arrangements.
Here at Lescure, the wise old house knows exactly what the people staying under its roof need most. All I have to do is go quiet and sense what the walls whisper, then stroll through the fields and follow what appears in front of me. Creating arrangements with the gifts I find on these walks has a meditative quality, which has brought me back to ikebana. This ancient Japanese art of flower arranging is a spiritual process to help the designer develop a closeness to nature, meditating on its beauty and transience.
Ikebana has always held my interest, but I found it very rule bound and the end results, although beautiful, too spare and too deliberate. Today, older and a bit wiser, I’m encouraged by the new wave of flower artists who marry ikebana traditionalism with highly individual creativity. Daring and bold or simple and soulful, anything goes. I’m particularly inspired by Azuma Makoto whose work is provocative (he claims to communicate with flowers telepathically, freezes floral compositions and sends bonsai trees into space), but always treats flowers with respect and devotion. “If you cut beautiful flowers blooming in the fields with your own hands but don’t reconstruct them as something more beautiful than before than you cannot do artistic work in which you are entrusted with life”.*
So, for the first time in years, I find myself experimenting with ikebana. Against a background of natural stone, marble and rust, I step into greys and reds. I play with textures and layers. I keep it small with delicate snowberries in a miniature vase. Unsurprisingly, I love it. Ikebana expands my appreciation of beauty and few things in life make me happier than finding beauty where I hadn’t seen it before.
*Lodestars Anthology 2017 - Japan issue