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WATCH | Library hosts Japanese flower arranging class

by Courtney Edwards | March 13, 2023 at 4:03 a.m.
Patricia O'Reilly demonstrates ikebana, or the Japanese art of flower arranging, to attendees of the workshop from the Garland County Library. –Photo by Courtney Edwards of The Sentinel-Record

The Garland County Library hosted a workshop on ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, with a Dallas-based instructor last month ahead of the upcoming Cherry Blossom Festival.

Patricia O'Reilly, a Sogetsu instructor and demonstrator from the Ikebana International Dallas Chapter No. 13, visited Hot Springs, demonstrating ikebana for a private workshop, taking place in the library's auditorium.

"Ikebana is the art of Japanese flower arranging," O'Reilly said. "There are many schools of ikebana. The one I study is the Sogetsu school. ... And so, while we try to focus on natural materials, we also use a lot of unconventional materials, which makes it pretty exciting."

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O'Reilly has "had many titles, and she's known around the country for this work," said Adrianne Kahn, a Hot Springs local business owner, who frequently visits Dallas as a student of ikebana.

O'Reilly "was chairman of the North America Regional Conference. It happens once every five years in North America. It was in Dallas in 2019. I was happy to help sponsor it, and she was the chairman. That was a very big job," she said.

Kahn invited O'Reilly to conduct a workshop in Hot Springs just a few weeks ahead of the Arkansas Cherry Blossom Festival on April 2 at the Hot Springs Convention Center.

Kahn plans to participate in the festival in April, offering a small workshop for children's ikebana structures. She is collecting empty tuna cans for the base of the small arrangements, which she said can be dropped off at her store, Adrianne Kahn Fine Jewelry & Design.

"If you would just wash your little can out for me, and then we will spray paint those with white paint," she said. "And then it will become the basis for the children's ikebana structure. That will be their bowl, or their suibon, (as) we call it. And they will make a moribana arrangement like the very first one that we did today, and they will use something like spring roses or little, tiny mums, and they'll get to go home with that."

Kahn's last big event involving ikebana was in 2019, she said. After the pandemic, groups couldn't get together in person anymore, and "everything changed," she said.

"Patricia has watched my progress in there, always so thankful that I make the trip from Arkansas, you know, for the classes and the events and I help sponsor," Kahn said. "And I love those people. They're just precious, dear friends now."

After a while of not seeing each other in person, O'Reilly told Kahn she needed to "'start doing things again, and I'll come down to do a workshop for you,' Kahn said. "This is a very big deal. This was a major piece of work, and she did it so graciously. She did all the work. All I had to do was invite people."

Kahn invited friends from her garden club, she said. The ikebana workshop was originally scheduled for Feb. 1, but was postponed because of the inclement weather. So, the workshop took place on Feb. 28, with many of the garden club's participants attending. Overall, there were 18 participants for the workshop.

"It's just so dear, and everybody had a sweet story, and so I'm so excited that we could do this," Kahn said.

Print Headline: WATCH | Library hosts Japanese flower arranging class


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