Sogetsu floral art

A Sogetsu floral art arrangement
by Vickie Yap
Sogetsu, the most popular among the schools of ikebana, was presented in a floral art show at the DoubleTree by Hilton Johor Baru hotel recently.  Organised by the Johor Baru Sogetsu Study Group of Ikebana International Johor Baru (IIJB), Chapter 235, the group aims to promote the art of Sogetsu to youths as well as for public appreciation.  

Ikebana has several schools that follow a particular set of rules and arrangement techniques with the more popular being Sogetsu, Ohara, Ikenobo, Koryu, Ryuseiha and Ichiyo schools of ikebana. 

IIJB members study ikebana or the art of Japanese flower arrangement from experienced instructors as well as visiting flower masters.  The key consideration in ikebana is to use as few plant materials as possible to compose an elegant arrangement that follows a fixed pattern of a triangle with three points that represent Heaven, Earth and Man.  The emphasis is on linear perfection, colour, harmony, space and form, and the choice of plant materials is guided by the artist’s desire to create harmony between the materials and the vessels used. 

Laila Hendra with her floral art arrangement
The Sogetsu floral art show was declared open by Charter President YAM Tunku Shahariah bte Almarhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman and the Sogetsu Study Group chairperson and instructor, Shirley Cheah in a simple ribbon-cutting ceremony.  The spacious hotel lobby was an ideal setting as it provided ample opportunity for the Study Group students to exhibit their floral art for the appreciation of hotel guests and visitors.

Sogetsu Study Group students meet twice a week for lessons that follow ikebana textbooks and take examinations to qualify before going on to the next grade.  This study group is guided by Cheah, an accomplished Sogetsu practitioner who has been a student of a Riji Master of Sogetsu and President of the Sogetsu Association of Singapore, Mrs Kazue Kato Kim, since 2007 and she also receives advice from Komon Master of Sogetsu, Christopher Lim.  Cheah, who is also a past president of IIJB, instructs students through workshops and demonstrations.

Shirley Chew [Left] and Tunku Shahariah cutting the
ribbon to open the Sogetsu Study Group floral art exhibition
“Sogetsu designs have extra charm because the materials used come from the garden and they can be arranged in a simple bowl or an elaborate vase,” said Cheah who explained that the Sogetsu school of ikebana only uses fresh flowers and work with three main lines to create beautiful designs.

Cheah said that Sogetsu is a sculptural work of art created from abstract material to form an arrangement with unique characteristics for floral design.  This art of flower arrangement encourages the use of recycled material and all kinds of natural material like dried wood or branches that can creatively be used as structures.  “In fact, bare twigs, branches and bushes are a never-ending source of shapes that can be used for interesting Sogetsu arrangements,” she added.

Wong sisters, Phoebe, Gloria and Sofia [Left to Right] were
among the junior floral art students who exhibited
their arrangements in the hotel lobby
Encouraged to use dried natural material, many of the impressive arrangements by the Study Group students on display were created with unique shapes and material.  

Cheah, who is also promoting floral art to young people and students, dedicated a section of the exhibition to floral art designs by young students including those by the Wong sisters Sofia, 15, Phoebe, 13, and Gloria, 10.  The launch event ended with a floral art demonstration by Cheah.
Membership in Ikebana International Johor Baru is open to all who are interested in the Japanese art of flower arrangement.  

Tunku Shahariah [seated] with some Sogetsu Study Group members and invited guests at the event
A range of interesting floral art arrangements at the Sogetsu Study Group exhibition
Shirley Chew [Right] presenting a floral art demonstration at the event
Visit Facebook page: for membership enquiries and more info about the activities of IIJB Chapter 235.  Enquiries on joining the Sogetsu Study Group may be sent to email: 

A version of this article was published in The New Straits Times, Streets Johor on 9 Oct 2014 

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