A little strange, huh?
Actually, it looked gorgeous inside the class, and then fell completely apart on the drive home. I had to piece it back together on my own as best I could without the sensei's guiding expert hand.
Not such an easy things to do as it turns out Ikebana flower arrangement is really geometric and mathematical. Stems get measured against each other and placed at specific angles, and textures and colors are carefully planned. Even the shape and size of the vase is thoughtfully prescribed. There's no room for randomness, which I learned as sensei sized up my creation and yanked out a few of my flourishes. I thought they were nice extra touches, turns out they were no nos.
Right now I can even already see that one of the stems is way off in the configuration. I hope there are no Ikebana experts out there bristling at my arrangement, but if there are, it's my first time, okay?
My sensei is really a character. She's tiny and about 90 years old and doesn't differentiate well her l and r sounds, so you might imagine a little confusion on my part as she explained the whole philosophy and history of Ikebana to me.
I learned that the red flowers in my arrangement are a species of hibiscus called Roselle. They make tea out the leaves, and some enterprising Japanese even make wine.
I already know I'm going to love this class.