Sensei Linnéa Storm explained that Tatehana literally means standing flowers. It is the oldest recognized arrangement (predating even the Ikenobo school). It dates back to the 6th century when Buddhism was introduced to Japan from China and Korea. It was intended as a floral prayer.
She then told us that there are no STRICT rules, but that one still needs to follow some BASIC rules, such as creating a mizugiwa, having both a center line and a focal point. There are two main parts: Motogi, which is the tall central branch and all the rest is termed Shitakusa. Also, there is usually an Iroe, a branch that helps connect the Shitakusa to the Motogi. In addition, the arranger usually does not use the same material in more than one place and every stem should be visible from the front. And, finally, there should be at least one bud in the arrangement. So much for no STRICT rules.
With all this in mind, all participants went to work to come up with some amazing floral prayers…always good to help make the rest of the day go right! Thank you, Sensei Linnéa.