Ikebana (生け花), literally “live flowers,” is the traditional Japanese art of flower arrangement. Its deceptively simple name hides years of history and cultural upheaval that began during the Meiji Restoration. I won’t go into all the details, but suffice to say that ikebana today is quite different from what it used to be!
There are millions of ikebana practitioners worldwide, so it’s certainly in no immediate danger of dying out. Keeping this art alive though is totally reliant on catching the interest of new enthusiasts, especially from the younger generation – and let’s face it, ikebana just doesn’t quite have the same street cred as say, kendo or jujutsu.
So I was pleasantly surprised to come across Shinji Nakaba’s ikebana rings. Sultry-eyed models? Check. Pouty lips? Check. Ikebana rings? Check! Yes, you young ’uns, ikebana can be cool and sexy!
Nakaba-san’s ikebana rings all operate on the same basic principle: they have a semi-automatic, pin locking and release system, which can be used to pin all sorts of flowers, leaves, and so on. The following video demonstrates how to put it all together; it’s quite grainy but hopefully you get the idea.
With just a bit of time, a dash of creativity, and random bits of plants, you could have a one-of-a-kind, completely personalized accessory for every day of the week!
If you find flowers much too gaudy, too cumbersome, or too girly, why not go the minimalist route? Less is more, and just a single, simple leaf can make quite a statement.
You don’t have to limit yourself to just flowers and leaves either. As long as it’ll fit on the pin, anything goes.
Purists might say that Nakaba-san has completely bastardized ikebana, but I think his rings are pretty cool. They make ikebana very hip and now, are an awesome way to get your creative juices going, plus who says jewelry has to be a chunk of yellow metal or compressed carbon?
Nakaba-san makes other accessories like necklaces and brooches too, so be sure to check out his site if you like that sort of thing.