Feature Articles

April 2014

Asheville (NC) Chapter of Ikebana International (II) Hosts 17th North American Regional Conference of Ikebana International - May 18-22

The Asheville Chapter of Ikebana International (II) will host the 17th North American Regional Conference of Ikebana International (NARC 2014) at the Renaissance Asheville Hotel, in Asheville, NC, from May 18 - 22, 2014.

Throughout the conference, teachers and students from four of the most internationally well known schools of ikebana will be treated to special demonstrations and workshops: Ichiyo, Ikenobo, Ohara and Sogetsu. Ikebana is the Japanese art form of flower design and the Ikebana International Chapter in Asheville has over 50 members. Ikebana International participants from other cities will assist local II Chapter #74 of Asheville with aspects of the conference: North Carolina (Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Durham and Wilmington), Columbia, SC, Pittsburgh, PA, Naples, FL and Atlanta, GA.

Of special interest and open to the public will be an Ikebana exhibition by more than 100 designers from across the US to take place at the Renaissance Hotel, on Tuesday, May 20 and Wednesday, May 21 from 10:30am to 7pm. This highly anticipated event is usually held every five years in the US and includes a first hand look at both traditional and contemporary flower designs, some in containers by regional crafts persons.

Regional artists have taken special interest in creating ceramic containers in forms adapted specifically for ikebana use. Interest stems from the high demand for interesting containers by ikebana designers locally and around the world as well as the distinctive images created in ikebana through the partnership of flowers and containers. Participating ceramic artists showing their works at a Container Market (for conference participants only) will be: WNC artists Akira Satake, John Ransmeier, John Lawson, Steven Forbes de Soule, Tacy Apostolik, Nick Joerling, Matt Tommey, Joy Tanner, Will Baker, Sue Grier, Judith Duff and Kathie Kline. Guest ikebana basket artist Judy Charlick of Cleveland, OH, will also show her unique containers.

Sue Grier and Kathie Kline, local members of Ikebana International, are also practicing designers with practical knowledge of the relationship of Japanese flower design and their special containers. Ikebana containers will be available to the public at their studios and through the galleries that represent them. Satake, Joerling, Grier and Duff will also be on display at the Blue Spiral Gallery exhibition, ZEN, that coincides with the NARC Conference and public exhibition.

Asheville was awarded the bid to host NARC 2014 by a vote of the delegates at the 16th North American Regional Conference held in Monterey Bay, CA, in May 2008 following the presentation of Asheville Ikebana International President Terri Ellis Todd. Selected for its crafts culture, passionate ikebana designers and container artists, and native plant life similar to that of Japan, Asheville won the recognition of their peers over larger chapters such as Naples, FL, and Dallas, TX. Previous North American Regional Conferences have been held in Chicago, Ottawa, Honolulu, Philadelphia and other cities throughout North America.

Special Guest and Headmaster of the Ichiyo School of Ikebana Akihiro Kasuya will travel from Tokyo, Japan, to give a large-scale stage demonstration at the Asheville Community Theatre located next door to the Renaissance on Wednesday of the Conference. Kasuya will be assisted by his son Iemoto Designate Naohiro Kasuya. Additional Wednesday demonstrations will be given by Jennie Sterling of Atlanta, GA, (Sogetsu School) and Emiko Suzuki of Hendersonville, NC, (Ikenobo School.)

A large-scale outdoor Sogetsu workshop will be presented by Ron Brown of San Francisco on Monday. Workshops on Tuesday and Thursday will be conducted by Sibbie Wilson of Franklin, NC (Ohara School), Iemoto (Headmaster) and Iemoto Designate Akihiro and Naohiro Kasuya (Ichiyo School), Emiko Suzuki (Ikenobo) and Jennie Sterling (Sogetsu).

Over 300 national and international Ikebana International members are anticipated for this five-day conference, which also includes special local tours reflecting our art and plant cultures. Visitors will be treated to an art exhibit and kimono show at Blue Spiral 1 Gallery from owners and Ichiyo Ikebana students John Cram of Blue Spiral 1 Gallery and Matt Chambers of Bellagio Art to Wear. In addition to tours to the Biltmore Estate, excursions of special interest with accomplished speakers include a visit to the NC Arboretum and Bonsai exhibit with Curator Arthur Joura, a tour of Private Gardens with Susan Roderick, retired Director of Asheville Green Works and a Wildflower Scavenger Hunt in the Dupont State Forest. More information about the tours may be found at (http://www.ikebanaasheville.org/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/ActivitiesForm.10294723.pdf).

Distinguished visitors traveling from Japan for the North American Regional Conference in Asheville include current president of Ikebana International Nobuko Usui, Lily Zhang of Shanghai, immediate past president of II as well as other former presidents of Ikebana International. The newly appointed Consul General of Japan Kazuo Sunago and his wife Yukari Sunago (an honorary member of the Atlanta Chapter of Ikebana International) will also attend.

Special local Appalachian entertainment including musicians Al Petteway and Amy White as well as singer and story teller Sheila Kay Adams are lined up to give the visitors a taste of the rich history and culture of the Blue Ridge mountains.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call Louise Glickman, Publicity Chariman 828/273-8783 or visit (http://www.ikebanaasheville.org/north_american_regional_conference_2014/program_schedule).

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