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Local artists featured in unique floral show

Posted 3/6/23

In a busy, noisy world, two Fountain Hills residents find peace and harmony in an ancient Japanese art form. Linnéa Storm and Wanda Collins are both passionate about Ikebana, the art of Japanese …

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Local artists featured in unique floral show


In a busy, noisy world, two Fountain Hills residents find peace and harmony in an ancient Japanese art form. Linnéa Storm and Wanda Collins are both passionate about Ikebana, the art of Japanese flower arranging that expresses emotion with branches, blossoms and leaves while emphasizing line, mass and space.

Both artists will exhibit and demonstrate at the Floral Inspiration show on Saturday and Sunday, March 11-12. The free event takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday at Ascension Lutheran Church, 7100 N. Mockingbird Lane in Paradise Valley.

The fifth annual event will feature over 50 floral arrangements by 25 local Ikebana artists, a “Meet the Artist” tea reception, Ikebana demonstrations, live music, a floral photography exhibit and architecture tours of the beautiful Taliesin-designed church.

While Storm prefers the oldest, largest and more traditional school of Ikebana, called Ikenobo, Collins is attracted to the contemporary school of Sogetsu, which emphasizes self-expression.

Ikebana’s origins trace back centuries to the practice of Buddhist monks who placed flowers on altars. Today, there are more than 3,000 different schools of Ikebana. Guests to Floral Inspiration will have the chance to experience both old and new Ikebana art forms.

Storm has been teaching Ikenobo for more than a decade. As the past president of Ikenobo Ikebana of Arizona, Storm discovered her passion for Ikebana while visiting an exhibit at Phoenix Art Museum more than 20 years ago. She became so enthralled with Ikenobo, she traveled to Japan to study with a sensei (master) teacher.

“I love the history of Ikenobo, and whether I’m teaching or exhibiting, I want to convey what an honor it is to take part in such an ancient tradition,” Storm said.

According to a press release, Storm finds teaching to be very rewarding and always embraces the opportunity to educate others about the unique art form.

“Flower arranging is a very thoughtful process,” she said. “When I am working on an arrangement, I am totally focused on placing flowers with purpose and meaning. The space in between the flowers is very important as it is a space for thought and meditation.”

Collins also enjoys the meditative elements of Ikebana, but she prefers to tap into her creativity with freestyle Sogetsu arrangements. Collins has been teaching for seven years and studies with Carol Brecker, a certified teacher who is coordinating the Floral Inspiration event. Brecker is also the chairperson for the AZ Sonoran Desert Sogetsu Study Group.

“Ikebana helps me relax, and I’m grateful that I am still able to pursue it despite having arthritis and crippled hands,” Collins said. “I prefer the Sogetsu school because I can experiment with creative ideas and there’s no judging, scoring or competition.”

The theme of this year’s Floral Inspiration is Beauty in Meditative Ikebana. The event will also feature fine art photographer, Larry Brecker, who will exhibit beautiful floral and ikebana art photography. For more details, visit breckerarts.com or alcpv.org.