What do Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement and handlooms have in common? Both are artistic forms which can draw inspiration from one another, as a recent book titled Blooms & Looms by Rekha Reddy along with Indumathy Davloor, Nirupa Reddy and Padma Duvvuri illustrates. Having mastered the art, Rekha Reddy has been teaching Ikebana to many interested students in Hyderabad.
Says Indumathy, “Ikebana is all about the beauty and diversity of flowers including natural plant material. I have been working with weavers for the last 15 years and it was not difficult to see the strong connection between the flower blooms and handlooms. This is also a way to promote Indian culture, especially the culture of wearing saris, which the younger generation is slowly moving away from.”
Explaining the concept behind the book, she says, “No artificial material is used in Ikebana and most of the flowers or plant materials are sourced from home gardens and natural surroundings. We have also been working for nearly eight months to try and choose saris from the different states of India. We have tried to relate the Ikebana material in terms of the vase/container with the heritage of a particular state or connect the colors of the flowers with those of the saris.”
Adds Nirupa Reddy, “Ikebana is nature in a miniature form. Since Padma Duvvuri chose a Kasavu sari from Kerala, her Ikebana arrangement represents banana fruits, banana leaves and the pink banana flower from Kerala. Ikebana thus assimilates all natural elements of the universe.” U.V.L. Ananda, a Bharatanatyam dancer who has explored working with Japanese Haiku poetry explains that Ikebana is a great way to bring peace and joy in life. She says, “Ikebana clearly proves that there is nothing like ‘waste’ in nature.”
Speaking at the book launch, Vimala Narasimhan, wife of Governor for Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, E.S.L. Narasimhan, expressed that even men could take up the wonderful art of Ikebana, as it is a beautiful tool to develop steadiness of mind while reflecting on daily life.
The yellow geometric designs on the sari displayed in the live Ikebana arrangement by Ruchi Ranjan showed how the geometric yellow containers were closely juxtaposed with the beautiful casesalpinia pulcherrima yellow flowers. Another interesting arrangement by Anuradha Prasad was the amalgamation of an art work by Santhana Krishnan from Kumbakonam reflecting the door of a house, with the Ikebana blooming out of a stone grinder, reflecting the South Indian sari.
“This isn’t just a promotion of handlooms, but also a way to admire nature. It’s been a long journey since I started learning this art from the late Meena Anantnarayan. More than fifty of my students participated in this endeavour of presenting Blooms & Looms in the form of a book,” said Rekha Reddy at the event....