Membership is open to anyone interested in the Japanese art of ikebana and the ideals of Ikebana International, regardless of their previous experience.
Our monthly meetings are held at the beautiful and famous Balboa Park.
What is Ikebana?
Yes, Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arranging but it is so much more.
We study and celebrate the attributes of nature in flower arranging. We experience peace (and sometimes frustration!) as we contemplate how to combine our materials and incorporate space and movement to compose a serene or striking arrangement. We recognize that our arrangement is really a conversation between oneself, the container, the plant materials and sometimes unconventional materials we've selected, any exposed water surface, even the surrounding environment. We learn about the relationship between ikebana and the interesting and different arts and cultures of Japan. And we experience the pleasure of friendship through flowers.
The ikebana tradition dates back to the Heian period in Kyoto, Japan (late 9th to late 12th century), when floral offerings were made at Buddhist temple altars. It is said that, in the 9th century, Emperor Saga, who loved Chrysanthemums, had an island on a lake at his summer palace estate planted with Chrysanthemums. One day, he picked three Chrysanthemums on the island, placed them in a vase, and said, "This is what flower arrangement should be!" He then took an Aspidistra leaf and used it to establish his rules of height. Later, flower arrangements were used to adorn the tokonoma of a traditional Japanese home. Today in Japan, ikebana is a popular art form, practiced by everyday people to beautify their home, whether it has a traditional tokonoma alcove or is of a more modern design.
What is Ikebana International?
Our motto is "Friendship through Flowers"
Ikebana International is a worldwide organization founded in Tokyo, Japan, in 1956 by the late Ellen Gordon Allen. Its members are dedicated to promoting the mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and other countries through ikebana and other related arts of Japan.
Ikebana International (I.I.) is a non-profit cultural organization in Japan, and today boasts over 6,000 members with chapters in more than 50 countries.
The North and Central American Region (NCAR) is the largest region of seven regions within Ikebana International, reaching from Canada to the Panama Canal. Its Regional Advocate Committee seeks to strengthen relationships with the 68 NCAR chapters – through engagement, communication and knowledge sharing – to enhance chapter and school vitality.
In 1968, a group of San Diegans, most of whom had spent time living in Japan and studying Japanese flower arranging, got together to form a local chapter of Ikebana International, the worldwide organization dedicated to the enjoyment and teaching of Japanese flower arranging.
In the more than 50 years since our founding, we have remained an enthusiastic social and service club that gathers monthly in Balboa Park and throughout the year for special activities where we share our love of ikebana.
Activities in Balboa Park
Our chapter has been a visible and integral presence in the art scene of Balboa Park. Our activities have included:
Hosting an annual spring flower show attended by thousands of San Diegans and visiting tourists each March
Making a weekly Ikebana arrangements for the Tokonoma (alcove or recess) on display at the Exhibition Hall in the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Participating in the famous annual Art Alive exhibition of the San Diego Museum of Art. Floral arrangers create arrangements inspired by art works in the museum and display their art work and the arrangement together at a public exhibition.
Donating flowering trees and participating in Balboa Park's Centennial Celebration
Providing seasonal flower arrangements for the San Diego Floral Association's Festival of Trees exhibit, part of Balboa Park's annual December Nights event
Supporting the Japanese Friendship Garden financially
Being a member of the San Diego Botanical Garden Foundation, the umbrella group for floral and garden groups in Balboa Park
The San Diego Chapter of Ikebana International, along with its constituent ikebana schools and individual members actively participate in community events ranging from lessons for school children, presentations at garden clubs and the Del Mar Fair to assistance in times of natural disaster. For example:
Programs on ikebana for elementary school children
Reseeding an acre in the San Diego back country after a wildfire
Participation in events such as the Oceanside Days of Art and the San Diego County Fair
Ikebana exhibitions at the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas
Participation in an event honoring a chapter member for her or his family’s role in protecting civil rights of Japanese-Americans during World War II
Donations to the Salvation Army’s annual Christmas drive for children
Chapter Activities and Events
Since our chapter's beginning in 1968, we have welcomed members representing many schools of ikebana, including Kofu, Ohara,
We have enjoyed workshops and demonstrations by master teachers from all these schools, in which we learn to appreciate and
understand the differences among the various schools.
Members also contribute to the governance of Ikebana International as delegates to regional conferences and world conventions.
In 1988, the chapter managed the 11th North American Regional Conference in San Diego.
Other Chapter Activities
As members participate in ikebana-related activities, they also learn about other arts related to Japanese culture, including tea ceremony, silk painting, koto music, sumi-e brush painting and Japanese cooking.
Chapter meetings occur monthly between September and May, with an annual offsite luncheon in June.
A typical monthly chapter meeting consists of watching a demonstration by a master from one of the various schools of ikebana, followed by a workshop by the same master or an expert in another related art, such a sumi-e (ink) painting, card making, or flower photography, and sharing our love of flowers and Japanese culture over a potluck luncheon. Our members are a lot of fun!
The Chapter's Future
Our motto: "Friendship through Flowers"
Under the guidance of successive boards and many volunteers, the chapter has prospered. The shared knowledge and abilities of the many teachers of ikebana and related arts have helped chapter members grow, flourish, and mature. The future of the chapter is unlimited, as it looks forward to new opportunities in sharing the art and friendship of ikebana.
Helen Ard Memorial
This generous donation from James Ard was given to the Chapter in memory of his beloved wife, Helen.
Helen E. Ard, a member of I. I. San Diego Chapter #119 since 1969, served as President from 1971-7. She was also selected an Honorary Member in 1986 and served tirelessly in many other Board positions.
As a Master Judge of the Kofu School, she shared her talents with us often. Her use of color and love of sunflowers will long be remembered by us all.
Everyone who knew Helen loved her and she was respected and admired by countless friends. A part of Helen will always remain "in our hearts".
Constance Earle Memorial
These thoughtful donations from friends and family were given to the Chapter in memory of Connie Earle.
In addition to being a wonderful wife and mother, Connie was very involved in her parish and community. She served as a Eucharistic Minister for over 20 years and volunteered at Children’s Hospital, knitting hats and booties for premature babies.
Her love of Japanese culture and flower arranging led her to our I. I. Chapter in 1989. She assisted in many projects through the years and perfected her ikebana skills in the Ikenobo School. Connie found joy in the simple arrangement of a few flowers.
Her thoughts were always positive, her manner gentle and her smile radiant. Connie’s presence among us will be missed.
Phyllis J. Smart Memorial
This very generous donation was a delightful surprise to our chapter.
Phyllis, born in Toronto, Canada, moved with her husband, Ray, to San Diego in 1949, where they both worked for Rohr Aircraft Company.
She was an avid golfer, a world traveler, had a passion for ballroom dancing and was involved with many groups.
Her participation in ikebana led her to join the first Mah Jong class. Here, she spent many hours in the company of her friends.
Even though eye problems made it difficult for her to see, she was fiercely independent and insisted on taking the bus in order to enjoy the camaraderie of our ikebana members. Truly, Friendship through Flowers.
Phyllis will always be remembered for her graciousness, beauty and generosity.
Haruko Crawford Memorial
Ikebana was Haruko’s life and she worked enthusiastically to promote her love of flower arranging and Japanese arts.
She was a Founder and Life Member of our San Diego Chapter. She held almost every office - including President in 1985 and 1986, and chaired almost every committee in her 41 years of active membership.
Haruko’s desire to share her ikebana skills made her a dynamic teacher and demonstrator, and encouraged her to found the San Diego Chapter of the Ichiyo School of Ikebana.
Haruko was always willing to encourage her students, advise her friends and work tirelessly on any project.
Beloved friend, teacher and mentor - we will miss you, sensei.
Sogetsu by Marina Khudobina
Our Mission is to promote friendship through Japanese Ikebana and Related Arts