Apr 13, 2008

Working without a net

We had a chabana flower arranging lesson in class recently. Chabana is different from the more well known Japanese flower arranging study of Ikebana. Chabana is flower arranging for tea. According to Rikyu’s rules, one should arrange the flowers as if they were growing in the field. Chabana is also known as thrown in flowers – that is, the flowers are arranged in one breath and put in the vase.

I have already mentioned about looking at flowers before picking them so that you know how they grow and can arrange them according to their nature. Quite often we have an image of how the flowers should look in the vase and then when we put them in, they droop or twist around. Arranging flowers in one breath means to be able to let go and let the flowers arrange themselves. There is the temptation to “fix” the flowers by moving them again and again after they are put in the vase, not just let them do what they would do naturally and leave them alone.

You only get one chance to arrange the flowers, then you have to let them go. It is like doing crosswords with a pen or calligraphy on rice paper. Once you put the mark down, you cannot go back and change it. It becomes what it is at that moment in time. My husband is a woodworker and with wood you only get one chance to cut the wood.

If we are doing things with intention, you don’t go back and re-do it. This is what he refers to as working without a net.

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