Balance 2 - Task

Four Ikebana Principles Level 2 - Zoom Ikebana Dojo 

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Who can Join: Anyone, regardless of ikebana school, stage of learning or country of residence. Beginners welcome. You must be familiar with Zoom. Sessions will be conducted in English. 

How to Book: Schedule 


In “Four Ikebana Principles 2”, we will review classic basic styles in ikebana. You will learn that each basic style contains in itself all of the four ikebana principles, Balance, Movement, Contrast and Pattern. Rather than learning all at once, we focus on each principle one by one in this series. If you feel your foundation is a bit weak, this series may help you to boost your artistic development.

Following diagrams is a great way to learn ikebana, especially for beginners. It will provide you with solid foundation to develop as an artist in ikebana or any other fields. If you follow diagrams, your work reveals ikebana principles almost automatically, without paying much attention to them. That is a great aspect of learning basic styles. 

But it has a shortfall. 

Following diagrams or classic formulas is not the end of learning ikebana. At a certain stage you have to move to be free. A better way is to follow materials rather than formulas. Rather than manipulating materials to fit into the set formula, find the energy of life in natural materials, and follow it. 

This process is often the transition from creating basic styles to free style arrangements. Many ikebana practitioners have found it difficult to make that transition. While their basic styles had ikebana principles, their free style arrangements may contain hardly any ikebana principles. Your work is not ikebana without ikebana principles. Unfortunately, many ikebana courses have not addressed the difficulty in this transition properly.

The problem is that you are expected to have acquired ikebana principles intrinsically without any explicit explanation after practising basic styles. It is assumed that you will be able to start making free style arrangements based on having acquired a good understanding of ikebana principles just from following the diagrams. However, can we expect all ikebana practitioners to be really aware of the ikebana principles at the end of study of basic styles?         

To move to making free style arrangements smoothly, you need to BE AWARE what you have learned in basic styles, in particular four ikebana principles. Ikebana Dojo Curriculum was designed to help you be aware of them. We hope many people will have a better understanding of free style ikebana. 

Read this before you apply 

"Four Ikebana Principles 2" is ideal for beginners as well as for the advanced ikebana practitioners who would like to teach ikebana effectively. But it may not be beneficial for those who have full understanding of ikebana principles.   

While many popular workshops focus on special techniques, design tips or advanced topics, our Ikebana Aesthetics Program Level 1 & 2 focus on rather "boring" or "basic" ikebana principles, foundations for ikebana poetry.    


Balance in Ikebana

In Balance 1 we learned the importance of an irregular triangle in learning ikebana aesthetics. We will look at this again. The key point in Balance 1 was simple: Apply an asymmetrical triangle to your design. In balance 2 we will go a bit further, and look into the basic meaning of balance in ikebana.  

Also we will focus on the relationship between containers and flowers.

Balance is the equilibrium of weight and force. In ikebana, generally we aim to achieve visual balance through arranging the visual weight (the appearance of heaviness) of design elements (line, mass, space, colour etc.). 

What makes ikebana interesting is that it seeks asymmetrical balance rather than symmetrical balance. Asymmetrical balance is visual equilibrium of a composition not dependent on one side mirroring the other. 

How can we achieve such balance? 

There are so many ways! Here are a few strategies (Figure 3, 4, 5 & 6).

Figure 1: Symmetrical balance is achieved. But this is not an ikebana way. 

Figure 2: Two similar shapes: one is larger than the other. Balance is not achieved.  

Figure 3: Darker colours can add weight to a shape - Use colour.

Figure 4: Denser texture adds weight to a shape - Use texture.  

Figure 5: An irregular shape can balance a larger regular shape - Use form.

Figure 6: Two or more smaller shapes can balance a larger one. 







How about line? Line actually affects balance significantly. However, the relationship between line and balance belongs to an advanced topic in ikebana aesthetics and will be discussed later in this course. 

We hope you now have basic understanding of balance. Let’s have look at a classic Rikka design at this stage. What kind of strategies are used to achieve asymmetrical balance? Please meditate and realise that removing or changing any single element would break the visual balance (Select 5 elements in the Figure, and meditate on the effect of each element one by one. This is an important exercise in this course). We aim to achieve this kind of sophisticated balance in ikebana.   

A Rikka work from the Rikka-no-Shidai Kyujusanpei-ari (Ikenobo Senko Rikkazu), by Ikenobo Senko 2 (1575? - 1658?). Public Domain.

Rikka is always a good reference for all ikebana practitioners. But we will focus on more versatile & modern basic Moribana & Nageire styles in this course.

For more about Balance in Ikebana, refer to a short essay, "Introduction to Ikebana Aesthetics" by Dr Shoso Shimbo (available shortly in English & Japanese).

Objectives in Balance 2 

1. Become familiar with ikebana diagrams. See Session Notes - Balance 2.

2. Learn to use an irregular triangle as a design framework.

3. Realise the visual balance in your basic style arrangement.

4. Pay attention to the position of Kenzan. It affects the relationship between flower arrangement & container. Move Kenzan to observe the relationship between the two. Consider using more challenging positions for Kenzan.

5. Advanced students may make a free style arrangement. Fix 3 main branches as you like, forming an asymmetrical triangle. Then, arrange fillers considering the principle of balance. 

What You Need

1. secateurs

2. kenzan or florist foam or wire packed container (see a task for Balance 1) for moribana style.

3. container - any include a cup.

4. flower materials:

  • Branch materials
  • Flowers - roses

Flower materials are guide only. You can choose any other materials as long as you focus on the topic. 

How to Make It?

You will receive Session Notes Balance 2  with step-by-step instructions for making your arrangement after your payment is received. Our free video and the Session Notes will help you make your ikebana work. 

How to Apply & Participate

Step 1 - Apply

(1) Book & Pay from Schedule Page.

 Please visit our orientation page for more practical advice on how to use Ikebana Dojo. 

(2) Upon receipt of your payment, we will send you an email of invitation to the session & session notes on how to make our sample work by 5 days before the session. Please contact us if you don't receive the email.

Step 2 - Get Ready

(3) Do your assignment. Make your ikebana work before the session. 

(4) Take a photo of your work (less than 0.5 Meg.) and send to at least 24 hours before the session starts if you want detailed feedback.

(5) Alternatively, you can share the photo of your work during the session. Find a way to share your file using Zoom.

Step 3 - Join Dojo

(6) Join the session. Prepare your work and its photo. 

02:55 PM Australia/Melbourne: Please join the session, and check your connection etc.

03:00 PM Australia/Melbourne: Lets start session together. 

03:30 PM Australia/Melbourne: Session closes

(7) Enjoy show and tell by other students before and after your own presentation. Group interaction is helpful for your learning. Works by others can inspire you. 

Step 5 - Rework

(8) Share a photo of your work to Ikebana Gallery Facebook Page. See how to apply for Ikebana Gallery Award if you are a student. 

(9) If you would like to join Zoom Ikebana Dojo again, please visit our pages on Ikebana Aesthetics Program or Special Program.

Samples for Advanced Students


Ikebana Aesthetics Curriculum