In the Ichiyo School of Ikebana, there are different levels of achievement. The highest level is that of Iemoto. Presently in the Ichiyo School of Ikebana, this position is held by Naohiro Kasuya--the fourth headmaster of the school. In the United States, the next highest level of achievement is that of Executive Master. There are only three people who have attained this level of achievement and one of them is Ms. Valerie Eccleston. Information on her and some of her arrangements are shown in this post.
ICHIYO SHIKI IKEBANA Valerie Eccleston
My journey with "Kado",( The way of the flower) began in Japan in the 1970's whilst my family was living there.
As often happens, a friend encouraged me to attend Ikebana classes. I had no idea what that meant or that it was an ancient art form involving flowers and branches.
I was fortunate that the teacher was Ando sensei of the Ichiyo School of Ikebana. She taught me the importance of the basic rules of construction and she guided my life onto this path. I will always be grateful to her, and thankful that I stumbled into the Ichiyo School. The genius and artistry of the Headmasters, which they so generously share with their students, can never be equaled.
After earning my Instructor's certificate I returned to England, then moved to the USA in 1984, whilst continuing to study and support the Ichiyo School. I received my Master's rank in 1992 and in 2006 was appointed President of the Washington DC Chapter of the Ichiyo School by the late Iemoto Akihiro Kasuya. In 2009 I was appointed by him to the rank of Executive Master.
I have demonstrated, taught and exhibited, extensively in the USA and Canada, having lived in the UK, Japan, Canada,Connecticut, Texas, Arizona and Virginia.This includes demonstrating and exhibiting at the Metropolitan Museum Asian Galleries in New York and participating in an Ichiyo School Exhibition in Soho with the late Iemoto Akihiro Kasuya and other visiting teachers from Japan and the USA.
I have had the honor of assisting and narrating for the late Iemoto and his son Naohiro Kasuya, the 4th Headmaster, on many occasions, including the last Ikebana International World Convention in Okinawa, Japan.
Ikebana is nature and it is said that the whole universe is contained in a single flower. Flowers become even more beautiful when cut and arranged in a natural and reverential way. When harmony is attained between the arranger and the material, the arrangement hopefully becomes a reflection of oneself.
Emotions and communication are primary. However, through honing our technical abilities and sense of balance of forms, we can achieve a higher level of expression. We attempt to create a sense of balance in our minds, a balance created through our relationship with the flowers.
As you can see, for me, interest gradually became a life-long devotion and connection. Ultimately, the goal is to make arrangements that you like in containers that you like.
President; Ichiyo School of Ikebana, Washington DC Chapter