Sunday, 24 May 2015

Workshop Kado/The Path of Flowers

Kado guidebook
As I wrote in my last blogpost I joined a Kado workshop last weekend: Kado is originally a Chinese word meaning The Path or The Way of Flowers. During the workshop our teacher Marcia Shibata introduced us to this ancient art.
Kado: Basic upright Left arrangement
Kado: Basic upright Left arrangement
The guidebook that was available contains a couple of guidelines. The flower-arrangements are built up according to clear standard guidelines. The first two days we worked with 'Basic Upright Left', shown above (sorry for the crappy photograph). The title means that it is a basic form, the orientation is located to the left of the sun and Heaven is positioned upright (towards the sun). At Kado you always start with the Heaven principle as Heaven is guiding. The Heaven-Earth-Man principle is a natural hierarchy. "It is about the ability to respond so that everything benefits. Heaven moves towards the light", explains Marcia Shibata.
my first Kado arrangement with white gladioli
my first Kado arrangement with white gladioli
The Earth principle is something with a bit of body like the full white flowers of the gladioli in the photograph above. Its proportion is half of Heaven, the Man principle is about 2/3 of Heaven. Shown below is the placement of Heaven, Earth and Man in the kenzan.
placement of Heaven, Earth and Man in kenzan
placement of Heaven, Earth and Man in a kenzan
Marcia Shibata showing the second arrangement
Marcia Shibata showing the second arrangement
The 'helpers' are in the middle of the triangle Heaven-Earth-Man. Helpers have the purpose of bringing together Heaven-Earth-Man as well as to invite the space around them; helpers are used to what is necessary and last but no least there should be no competition between the helpers and Heaven-Earth-Man nor amongst themselves.
my second Kado arrangement, with purple irises
my second Kado arrangement, with purple irises
practice room for Kado
practice room for Kado
my third Kado arrangement: Basic Upright Right
Our third flower-arrangement was a Basic Upright Right and for this piece 'wood' was introduced to us. All hard materials are considered wood, wood lives longer and is stronger, tougher. Grass is considered soft. Bamboo is half grass half wood.
Kado participants at work
Kado participants at work
I quite enjoyed these days, they were relaxing and fun. Every day we started with a half hour meditation Shambhala style. It makes the mind calm and focused, which is just what we need for Kado. The cloth or coaster underneath the container is called a dai, it is a reminder that in case our mind goes wondering we can go back any minute to where we were and to what we were doing. Marcia compared the Kado-practice to our every day of life, she called our flower-arrangement our 'world'. And yes, I can see the comparison: it's all about relationship, space, communication and the environment not only in our little flower-piece but also in our daily life.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Demonstration of Kado/The Path of Flowers

Kado demonstation
Kado demonstation
Last weekend I participated in a four-day workshop of Kado. Kado comes from China and means 'The Path/Way of Flowers'. Ikebana is her sister and comes from Japan and means 'Natural Flowers'.
Marcia Shibata
The workshop was taught by teacher Marcia Shibata, who lived in Japan to learn the art of Ikebana. According to her the Ikebana-ways have lost meditation as the core of the practice. Shambhala brings that back.
left: stil life with pink folder, right: first Kado-arrangement
On Wednesday night Marcia gave a Kado demonstration: above on the right shows the first flower-arrangement she made. On the left is a still life that I saw during preparations. I volunteered to help preparing the rooms of the Amsterdam Shambhala Centre for the workshop which meant a lot a rearranging furniture and laying out the necessary supplies. In between assignments I had a few moments to look around me and to enjoy what was there.
glass of water on a smooth black surface
"Make friendship with space, inner space," Marcia said. "Inner space cultivates outer space. Inner space has to do with our mind, our thoughts. Very often we are not here, in the moment. We miss a lot of the opportunities that are nourishing to ourselves and to others. Meditation is a way to cultivate our inner space which is the doorway to healthy life. Our obstacles will not go away, but we have more room to handle panic and anxiety."
second Kado flower-arrangement
second Kado flower-arrangement
The purple arrangement was the second flower-arrangement Marcia made during the demonstration. It was fascinating to see how she was working: she was examining the flowers, leaves and branches, looking which way they were growing and delicately arranged them on a kenzan (see below) one by one. Each flower or leaf was making a relationship with their neighbors.
cabinet with kenzans
cabinet with kenzans
We laid a lot of kenzans on the top of a cabinet. A kenzan is a piece of iron with lots of iron sticks on top to pin the flowers on. They come in varies sizes and shapes depending on the size of your container and the weight and length of your flowers and branches you pick one.


double Kado flower-arrangement
double Kado flower-arrangement
At the end of the demonstration Marcia made a Kado flower-arrangement consisting of two pieces. In the picture below the same piece is shown with a white background to let it stand out more than in the frame above.
double Kado flower-arrangement
double Kado flower-arrangement with white background
In the next day or so I will post more on the actual workshop itself. Lets suffice to say that those days were the most relaxing and enjoyable days since a couple of weeks. I find that Contemplative art is very appealing to me.
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