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.
General Meetings are held on the 4th Wednesday of each month at the Casa Del Prado, Balboa Park, at 10 a.m. except in November and December (3rd Wednesday). June meeting is at an off-site location. Vacation months are July and August.
Classes are not offered at our General Meetings. Find a teacher in your area by sending us a message or you may visit our
Teachers & Schools section.
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 a conversation between ourselves, the container, the plant materials, and sometimes unconventional materials we've selected, any exposed water surface, and 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 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.
The Ikebana Iwaya Fund (IIF) is an IRS 501(c) (3) non-profit organization established in 2006 to promote and support ikebana-related activity in North America. It seeks to educate the general public and foster the growth of ikebana through collaboration and financial support of organizations with this shared mandate.
The Iwaya Fund is built with public donations, both general and specific. The Estate of Sumako Iwaya is matching these donations into the Endowment Fund. The dividend income generated by its permanent Endowment Fund is used to disburse as grants to its stakeholders (I.I. chapters, ikebana study groups, schools, and teachers).
The San Diego I.I. Chapter was honored to meet with the Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles, Mr. Kenko Sone, and his wife, Mrs. Mami Sone, on their recent trip to San Diego.
Chapter President Valli Reed and four other Board members sat for an enjoyable afternoon chat with the Sones, who were very interested in learning about our mission and our many activities. Mrs. Sone is a student of Ikebana herself and hopes they may have the opportunity to participate in future Chapter events.
Our Board was impressed with the energy, enthusiasm, and friendliness of the Consul General and Mrs. Sone and look forward to seeing them again.
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 55 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 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 artworks in the museum and display their artwork 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 backcountry 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 the 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 ceremonies, 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 as 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.
Our Mission is to promote friendship through Japanese Ikebana and Related Arts