Ikebana and Tea Workshop
On Sunday, May 22, we held an Ikebana and Tea Workshop at the Poughkeepsie Galleria Community Room. We were happy to have a group of 10 people, including the event leaders.
The first hour was the Tea Workshop, where everyone learned the essentials of tea from Taeko-san. These included the proper way to scoop matcha from the natsume (tea caddy), how to use the chasen (bamboo whisk) to create the perfect froth on top of the tea, and the etiquette for enjoying the tea and accompanying sweets.
The Ikebana workshop was led by Taeko-san, with support from Suzumi-san. With experience levels ranging from absolute beginner to advanced, it was lovely to see how everyone chose to arrange the materials they brought with them, including irises and sunflowers, elegant branches and green fronds. Taeko-san offered feedback on each arrangements, helping everyone to understand how subtle changes can make a huge impact.
In both arts, there is an appreciation for the imperfect and impermanent. When one scoops the matcha powder, we take the time to appreciate the curved groove created within the original mound of sifted matcha. With Ikebana, we learned not to hesitate to trim extra leaves, flowers, and branches in order to highlight a single blossom or shape.
The Western tendency is to lean toward symmetry and permanence - we prefer smooth lines, want to center things, and like to preserve things in their perfection.
The workshop was a good reminder that some of the greatest beauty can be found when we embrace things for what they are, as they are, within a single moment.
Special thanks to Sang Park, Taeko-san’s husband, for creating the informative ikebana handouts that everyone was able to take home with them.
And an otsukaresama to the event leaders for their hard work in putting together a successful workshop: Taeko Yanagida, Suzumi Adams, and Atsuko Shimojo.
Stay tuned for more workshops!