Second degree master Lorian Roberts oversees an ikebana class in Victoria. She is one of 60 teachers who will be taking part in the North American Ohara School Teachers Association conference next week in Victoria. Photo by Gord Rufh

Ikebana teachers learning from the grand master

International flower arranging educators’ conference descends on Victoria

It’s a very specific art, one that takes patience, creativity and knowledge of the natural flora around you.

The Japanese art of ikebana, essentially artistic flower arranging, is practised by various people in Greater Victoria, using various styles. Those who teach the Ohara style, one of the most prevalent three schools of training in Japan, are gathering in the city for the North American Ohara School Teachers Association Conference, on Oct. 29 to Nov. 3.

The current namesake of the style, headmaster Hiroki Ohara, will be here to lend his expertise and encouragement to about 60 senseis, including local teacher Lorian Roberts. He’ll also do a demo of the art during a public event on the Friday evening at the Victoria Conference Centre theatre.

Class members work on ikebana pieces during a Ohara School class in Victoria. Teachers of the art are attending an international workshop here next week. Photo by Gord Rufh

“We’re thrilled to be hosting this event,” says Roberts, who has attained the rank of second degree master. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to have headmaster Ohara do the demonstration … He’s young, he’s creative, he’s kind of a superstar when it comes to ikebana.”

Despite the modest number of attendees, they will come from far afield, including both North and South America. Participants ranging from the instructor level up to grand master will be involved in three days of workshops.

Ohara’s demonstration, set for 5 p.m. on Nov. 2, will see him use materials from three local gardens: Government House, Royal Roads and the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific. “It’ll have a very Victoria flavour,” Roberts says.

Arrangements completed in the previous days will be on public display starting at 3 p.m. in the lobby outside the theatre.

Tickets to the demonstration are $20, available at eventbrite.com. For more information on local ikebana classes, visit ikebana-victoria.com.

editor@mondaymag.com

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