Our sensei for a shoka shimputai workshop at the Zerio residence on Saturday, May 21, was Lauren Toth. Lauren holds the Junkako Level 8 certificate (Instructor of Ikebana 1 st grade), which means that she is one of the most experienced teachers in Arizona. And it shows.
Lauren not only tells participants about the basic rules for an arrangement, she gives little tips of her own, like the following:
In shoka shimputai, there is the main branch (shu) and a supporting branch (yo). In other words: “ Yo makes the shu shine.” Get it? (There are also ashirai.)
For a creation with just a few components, Lauren makes the arrangement in her hand. That way she can easily move stems around without having to take them in and out of the kenzan.
She also told us to cut off unwanted leaves or branches, rather than just pulling them off. As the Japanese would say: “This way is more respectful to the plant.”
My advice: If you ever see Lauren’s name as a workshop sensei, take the class. It will be enlightening and FUN!