Over the last six hundred years, Ikebana has become one of Japan¹s traditional art forms. Buddhism was introduced into Japan during the 5th and 6th centuries and religious floral offerings were part of the rituals. By the 15th century, there were documented instructions for composing and placing arrangements and the idea of suiting the arrangement to the season or the occasion was firmly entrenched.
By the late 16th century, ikebana was brought into the grand homes of the elite in the tokonoma, a large alcove where painted scrolls were hung on the wall and ikebana arrangements displayed on a straw tatami mat with other aesthetic objects. Distinct schools of ikebana were formed as the art was studied, developed and broadened. The Ikenobo School is the oldest and remains the largest one to this day.
Following almost 300 years of limited contact with the
outside world, Japan opened its doors in the late mid-19th century. Ikebana
was influenced by the influx of European and American culture, particularly
the new floral materials which became available in quantity.
The Ohara School can trace its origins to about 1890. Unshin Ohara, a sculptor and Ikenobo master professor, searched for ways to express the beauty of natural scenery and to arrange natural materials. He was the first to take his students out of doors to view nature, gather materials and take classes.
Unshin Ohara originated the Moribana or "piled up flowers" arrangement, the first brilliant step in modern ikebana: materials placed in a kenzan in a low wide flat container, the suiban . This allowed a freer placement of branches and added the dimensions of space and depth to that of line. Arrangements could be placed in other places in the home as well as the tokonoma alcove.
In 1912, Mr. Ohara resigned from the Ikenobo School to establish his own school which he named Ohara.
The Second Headmaster, Koun Ohara, began holding exhibitions in department stores and other public places, attracting a wide range of attention. He developed practical teaching methods, a systematic classification of expressive techniques and used such modern communication tools as microphones and blackboards. He also originated public demonstrations. These innovations put Ikebana within the reach of ordinary people.
Inspired by his father¹s work, Koun Ohara continued to develop the depiction of nature into one of the more complicated and unique forms of ikebana, the Landscape Style. He arranged flowers to express vast scenic views and depicted the appearance of the water¹s edge.
The Third Headmaster, Houn Ohara, was noted for his one-person exhibitions that creatively marked the beginnings of modern ikebana. He is credited with transforming the Ohara School into a world-wide organization after the Second World War.
His son, Natsuki Ohara, originated Hanamai and Hana-isho styles and was posthumously named Fourth Headmaster as he died before his father. The Fifth Headmaster is to be Hiroki Ohara and Miss Wakako Ohara, daughter of Houn Ohara, is the current Headmistress.
Headquarters are at Ohara Center of Tokyo. The Council of Ohara Professors provides ongoing creative innovation and development of Ohara styles and in 2001 issued a new curriculum for beginning students. There is a system for earning certification as each student progresses through the prescribed training and teachers recommend promotion.
The Ottawa-Carleton Chapter was established in 1989 and is active in encouraging this tranquil art through lessons by qualified instructors, workshops to introduce new styles and demonstrations for members of the public. Our chapter is fortunate to have a highly qualified, artistic and supportive Advisor in Mitsugi Kikuchi who holds the certificate of Sub-Grand Master of Ohara School. He is also a professional artist. His paintings are often displayed in galleries and hang in many private homes in the Ottawa area.
Mr. Mitsugi Kikuchi
Mrs. Ruth Fawcett
Mrs. Grace Furuya
Mrs. Polly King
Mrs. Eva deLisle
Mrs. Elizabeth McMillan
The official year for our chapter extends from January 1 to December 31. Our Annual General Meeting is usually held at the end of March.
Membership in the Ohara School entitles one to:
voting privileges and attendance at the Annual General Meeting
participation in Ohara workshops, demonstrations and field trips
participation in the annual exhibition
purchase of books, containers and kenzans ordered by the chapter from headquarters - at cost
receipt of newsletters from the chapter and headquarters
List of Officers 2003-2005
Honorary Advisor: Mitsugi Kikuchi
Past President: Gail Anthony
President: Catherine Seaborn (613) 236-8145
Vice President: Marie-Eve Coupal (819) 568-6174
Secretary: Irma Markert (315) 393-4683
Treasurer: Nata Maggio (819) 685-1603
Appointed Board Members
Newsletter Anna Ekstrandh
Demonstrations Judy Shedden
Workshops Marie-Eve Coupal
Publicity Valerie Pryce
Fundraising Grace Furuya
Exhibition Marie-Eve Coupal
Hospitality Kyoko Kosaki and Irene Bond
Field Trips Mona Forzley
Librarian/Historian Louisette Burns
Photographer Shirley Knight