A quote by Sensei Tetsunori Kawana ‘You are touching nature’ has had one of the biggest impacts on me in my ikebana journey.Sandy Marker
Interview with Sandy Marker, a Sogetsu Ikebana teacher living in Sydney, Australia.
How were you introduced to Ikebana?
As a young child I was fascinated about tales of Japan (my father was a naval officer) and the elegant beauty of everything that was so often spoken about. A family friend wrote a book about Japanese gardens and that cemented my intention to learn more. Unfortunately I struggled to find any tuition until moving to Hong Kong in 2000 where I met my first Sensei and my journey started.
Why do you love Ikebana?
The beauty of nature is constantly changing and practicing Ikebana allows me to share this splendour. I have studied several art mediums with ikebana capturing my passion because of the ephemeral nature of the material I work with, it is ever changing to new forms.
What is the best advice you have received through your ikebana studies?
A quote by Sensei Tetsunori Kawana ‘You are touching nature’ has had one of the biggest impacts on me in my ikebana journey.
Are there any artists who you look up to or inspire you most?
Andy Goldsworthy (British sculpture) and Kengo Kuma (Japanese architect) and Georg Jensen (Danish Silversmith). Three totally different ‘heros’ but I feel their love for elegant lines inspired by nature resonates to the core of what I am trying to achieve.
Where do you source your materials & containers?
I source my material preferably from my surroundings rather than a florist because seeing the material in its natural environment enriches my design ideas. Sourcing containers is a different matter – mainly purchasing containers on visits to Japan plus I took up studying ceramics to try to satiate the desire for different shaped vessels.
How would you describe your style of Ikebana?
Possibly ‘edgy’, certainly not pretty, but more architectural, which is driven by my love of ‘Line’. I like to push the boundaries of my material and to discover the unseen beauty.
Do you have a favourite material or season?
Every season – nature orchestrates an everlasting overture of beauty just waiting to be discovered.
What is the advice you would give to someone who is studying or teaching Ikebana?
I would say the greatest advice I can give is to ‘learn to see what you are looking at’. Unfortunately in today’s world we rush by and see ‘only what we want or assume what we should see’, slow down and see the real beauty of life.
Do you have any good Ikebana secrets / tips to share?
My mantra seems to be “arrange from the heart and hands, not your head”. Develop your creative brain (right brain) and leave the logic (left brain) to the necessaries of life.
What is ahead in your ikebana future?
Sharing my love of Ikebana and in doing so I will continue to study. In my quest to learn more I wonder if I will ever be fulfilled and discover the true essence of nature’s beauty, possibly not but the journey will be worth while.
Sogetsu Ikebana Teacher – Jonin Somu
South Turramurra, Sydney, Australia
Classes Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays in Sydney and online. Details can found on www.sandymarker.com. To view works mainly by my students search Flickr – www.flickr.com> photos > sandys_ikebana. Email firstname.lastname@example.org