Mass in Ikebana arrangements is a somewhat controversial topic. On one hand it is quite similar to the appearance of Western arrangements and therefore is not “Ikebana-like”. On the other hand it is a rather difficult task to construct a proper mass. In several workshops I have seen advanced students and even teachers struggle with satisfying master instructors’ requirements with regard to their mass arrangements.
I will share with you what I consider important in arranging a mass. I am sure there are many points of view though, so feel free to leave your comments.
First, density is what defines a mass, so no compromise is acceptable. There should be no spaces between flowers. If need be one can tighten the mass with a wire on the back of the arrangement.
Second, a shape of a mass does not have to be just a round ball of flowers. Interesting compositions can be created by constructing elongated or triangular shapes. Several masses together also can be quite impressive.
Third, a mass does not have to be made of the same color of flowers. Experimenting with color gradient is interesting. I have tried it in the above arrangement and then developed it further for one of my exhibition pieces described in an earlier post.
And finally, flowers are not the only material, which could be used for construction mass. Mass in ikebana arrangements could be made of leaves, twigs, artificial objects, paper etc. Like in the top photo of this post I used a mass made of computer cable (or was it a printer cable?… not like it makes any difference). It nicely integrated with the color of the ceramic container, which I recently made and at the same time it gave good contrast to the color of the flower mass of Gerbera. Not to mention the contemporary look 🙂
Do you see how mass and color are closely interlinked and need each other to make the arrangement work? This brings us nicely to the next topic “Color”. Until the next post!
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