I like to use mushrooms in my work, veggies and fruits and unusual combinations of flowers , orchids with daisies.Kasia Borowiecka
Interview with Kasia Borowiecka, Ikebana student and floral stylist at Cosmos & Plums, living in London, UK. Cosmos & Plums provides flowers for events, parties, dinner parties, weddings, editorials and photoshoots. Kasia also runs workshops. Portrait by photographer Liam Prior.
How were you introduced to Ikebana?
I am interested in the Japanese culture and have been for a long time. I wanted to study ikebana since a long time but was unable to do it back at home in Poland. There were no opportunities like that. In London I came across an article in the Plant magazine about the Sogetsu school of Ikebana. Through that article I found my current teacher. I attend classes when I can. I only just started level two.
Why do you love Ikebana?
It changed my approach the flowers and materials I am working with. It teaches me respect towards our mother nature. It encourages me to experiment and be playful with flowers. It allows me to relax and be present in the moment when I arrange. Ikebana teaches me also how to achieve balance and harmony in the arrangement, with asymmetry. Its fascinating. All the rules, which you are allowed to break in freestyle.
What is the best advice you have received through your ikebana studies?
To practice every day, and never stop looking around in search for new and interesting materials. My teacher also teaches me that ikebana is a way of living. It requires of me to be a good, kind human, respectful towards the mother nature and other human beings.
Are there any artists who you look up to or inspire you most?
I really like work of Kosen Ohtsubo , he finds beauty in the banal. He uses very unusual materials in his work like cabbage or radishes. I find his work to be very modern and unorthodox. I also love Toshiro Kawase for the simplicity of his work and materials he uses.
Where do you source your materials & containers?
I am very lucky to have a flower market in London, so most of my materials I source out there. But I also am in contact with the local flower growers and am able to get more seasonal materials from them. I also love working with fruit and veggies, so I have a few farmers markets and shop where I source out my materials. With regards to the containers I collaborate with some ceramic artist and work with their pieces. This encourages me to think outside of the box, as not every vase or a container is easy to arrange. But I also am always on the look out for new exciting vases on social media. It’s so easy now to contact makers and artists.
How would you describe your style of Ikebana?
Ha, interesting question. I have been included as one of many Modern Ikebana artists in the book which is coming out soon on the 24th September with the same title, published by Ludion Publishers in the chapter called Punkebana. I would say my ikebana style is more modern, with a twist. I like to use mushrooms in my work, veggies and fruits and unusual combinations of flowers, orchids with daisies. That type of thing.
Do you have a favourite material or season?
Mushrooms for sure. They are incredibly beautiful and fascinating. I am trying to learn more and more about them and use them more often in my work. In terms of the colours, autumn. But each season and continent have so much to offer, it’s difficult to choose really.
What is the advice you would give to someone who is studying or teaching Ikebana?
Just have fun with it. Respect the tradition but also break the rules. Find your own style. I am not in the position to give any advises to teachers. Teaching ikebana requires a lot of discipline and determination.
What is ahead in your ikebana future?
After a long break in Ikebana studies, due to the pandemic, I am finally returning to my classes and I am planning to continue as long as I can. I am hoping to visit Japan again soon and get more inspiration from there. We are running in London Frukebana workshops with a friend Olivia Bennett, who is an amazing stylist. We don’t follow any particular rules, just have fun in creating sculptures. We are hoping to continue running these classes more frequently.
Sogetsu School – Student level 2
Frukebana workshops on ad hoc basis. To contact enquire via Instagram account or by email. I am a floral stylist therefore I provide flowers for events, parties, dinner parties, weddings. I run workshops. I also work on editorials and various photo shoots.