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Rules Of Japanese Flower Arrangement

( Originally Published 1913 )

How the Flowers are Held in Place

THE first step in the arrangement of flowers in Japanese style is to make the support or kubari which holds the flower in an upright position in the vase. This support must be firmly placed in the vase so that it will not slip from side to side before the flowers are put through it.

Almost every school has a different style of support. In some schools the kubari is cut differently for every season of the year. The ones used by Koshin-Ryu are the simplest and are the same throughout the year. They are Iike the cuts given on page 42.

Take any piece of wood in which the sap is running and which can be bent without splitting; the stick should be in proportion to the size of the vase, usually about the thickness of one's thumb. Split the stick at one end, a littIe to one side of the middle, for about an inch, or Iong enough to admit all the branches you wish to pass through; then at the end of this slit, or where the opening stops, make a notch with a knife through the bark on the thinner side and bend this thin side back until it forms a fork Iike Fig. 1. This notch forms a hinge which can be opened wide enough to admit of many flowers or closed so as to hold only one. It also prevents the slit from running the entire length of the stick.

In measuring the stick place one end an inch below the top edge of the vase, slanting the other end over the top edge on the other side. This will make it Iong enough; but were you to measure straight across the top of the vase when you opened the stick at the end, it would become too short and fall into the receptacle.

In placing the support in the vase put the open end at the back of the vase. Place the open end in first and force the stick into a horizontal position with its other end. The support should be at Ieast one inch below the surface of the water when in its proper place; thus it will be entirely hidden from sight and the flowers will appear to be holding their upright position without artificial aid. This kubari is easily made and will be found most useful in making one branch or flower stand upright in a wide-mouthed receptacle.

Another support is made from a forked piece of wood with ends slanted off at different angles. (See Fig. 2.) This is better for Iarge branches which require great strength in the support, but for all flowers and slender branches Fig. 1 is the better. It is often difficult to get a forked stick the proper size. It will either be too large or too small. Whereas the first kubari can be cut to fit the flowers you in-tend to pass through it and will require no wedges to fill up the unoccupied opening at the back. These wedges, which the beginner often finds necessary to keep his flowers firm in the kubari, are not desirable, as they are untidy and detract from the all-in-one parent-stalk appearance.

If you have no suitable wood at hand from which to make a support, use the ends of the branches or flowers you are arranging, crossed as shown in Fig 5. This is not considered desirable and is used only in an emergency.

These stick supports are used for aII flowers and plants placed in high vases, but for water-growing flowers in Iow receptacles the lead rings and metal holders are used in the ways described Iater.

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