Spring 2011

Director’s Message

Well, we are in organizational “heaven” (if I can sell you that), planning our 2011 conference. Very quickly you will see our conference program unfold. Maggie Kearns is planning scrumptious meals. Marta Vergara is on the flower watch. Karey Karam is delighted to take your money and sell you goodies from our Sangetsu store and Sarah DeLegge has got the technology covered. Of course the Ajiki’s have wrapped their hearts around what will be presented. We have moved the test day to Monday April 11th (just after the conference) so that instructor candidates can attend all the sessions and it gives our judges the time to re-set. We are ordering perfect weather and bright sunshine. It’s encouraging that a number of our students wish to participate. I think exposure of this kind helps us all. We will feel the fire of new blood, and I am sure Sangetsu will grow and prosper.

I hope you are visiting the new website: www.sangetsunorthamerica.org. Sarah DeLegge, who helped get the website up and running, will be offering a conference website session regarding use of our newly created technology to promote classes, upload pictures, and communicate between instructors. Sarah said she will even work with smaller groups to get you up and running. Consider bringing your laptops to those sessions.

You will see an article in this newsletter about flowers and how they were used to comfort and calm students who were suffering from bullying at school. As I am sure many of you are aware, flowers have also helped those of us in Tucson, who lived through the tragic shooting and killing of a number of our citizens earlier in the year. Flowers have calmed and comforted us as we have tried to pick up our lives.

You could see them everywhere, outside the Safeway store where the shootings occurred, outside the University Medical Center where most of the wounded were taken, and of course in front of US Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford’s Tucson office. When I visited the hospital, the loving display stretched all along the front of the grounds. Bright flowers touched our hearts and made us feel there was still beauty left during the dark hours. They held the light for us when we shut down. One single flower offered immeasurable hope. I want you to know that a Sangetsu arrangement was taken to the hospital and placed with the others. In some important way, all of us were there, to heal the deepest of hurt.

Bless you all, and I hope to see you in Tucson.

Terry Quinn

Ikebana Article in Local Magazine

Joan Fairs

 A reporter from a local Japanese language magazine contacted me last November to ask if she could attend one of my ikebana classes so she could write about it.  I gladly invited her to come to my next class where we were studying a Shoka design.  Thanks to Mayumi Ichino for translating.  This is what she wrote:

 Sangetsu Ikebana


By Yukari Komatsu of Coco Magazine

December 2010

Ikebana originates from Japanese art.  Not only do the practitioners arrange flowers, but also it is an art that brings about life to flowers. The beauty of flowers has been enchanting Joan Fairs.  Joan teaches the Sangetsu School of flower arrangement and she is the president of the Vancouver Ikebana Association. Joan first was introduced to ikebana about thirty years ago when her stepmother recommended attending flower-arranging classes at a community centre. Joan, who loves flowers and gardening, enjoys Sangetsu school flower arrangement, which pursues natural beauty in simplicity.

We visited Joan’s home where classes were held.  We were greeted with Joan’s smile and her flower arrangements.  There was an ikebana in each room.  We felt the power of healing instantly. Joan has over 10 students.  Most have been studying for several years. There are a variety of ages and nationalities. Many are females but there is a male student as well.  One of her students is Joan’s daughter and she has been studying for two years.

Periodically, Joan holds an eight week basic course for beginners. She starts classes with the reading of a poem.  The poems are written by Mokichi Okada (the founder) or his daughter.  These poems express love for flowers and nature. Joan facilitates not only techniques but also appreciation for flowers and nature.  Then, Joan demonstrates an arrangement explaining the length, angle and curve of branches and flowers.  As Joan finishes an arrangement, cut flowers change their expressions and become very much alive. Students follow Joan’s example to make their own arrangements in their own vases. Joan gives advice to each student. The room is filled with a friendly atmosphere.  Each arrangement is unique because of the different vases used, and different characteristics of each student; nevertheless all of them use the same materials.  Ikebana is the harmony of Nature and techniques.  Students create peace and passion at the same time.

Vancouver Ikebana Association is made up from five schools. These are Ikenobo, Sogetsu, Ohara, Kado-sumi and Sangetsu. About fifteen instructors are registered with them.  Every April, a Spring Show is held at the Oakridge Auditorium (Cambie St and 49th Ave). The auditorium is filled with gorgeous flowers and flower arrangement demonstrations are held to attract and inform the audience.  In addition to this Spring Show, a few other shows are held through- out the year.  Vancouver Ikebana Association provides information regarding different ikebana schools and instructors. If you are interested, please contact them at www.vancouver-ikebana.ca.


 Being cheerful and pleasant at school.

The following is the English translation of a testimonial sent from a Johrei publication. The article was written by Sachiko Suzuki, who lives in Saga Japan. Though it is not verified, it is believed she is a dedicated Sangetsu student or instructor. The testimonial was submitted by Mrs. Michiko Ajiki in Tucson, Arizona.

A thank you letter from students.

In May of last year, I found out that bullying incidents were occurring at the school my eldest son attended. A male student threw some one’s PE clothes in the toilet, and a bicycle was damaged. My son was in the 9th grade at the time. Parents and teachers gathered at the school and discussed how to stop bullying. The result was a proposal to deepen the communication between the parents’ commitment to the school to heal the student’s spirits. The school willingly accepted my proposal, so I made flowerarrangements in pretty wrapped containers, finished nine small arrangements, and delivered them every month.

The following February, I received a framed certificate of appreciation and students letters addressed to me from the school. I would like to share some of the contents.

Since the flowers were placed on the teacher’s desk, the atmosphere of the class became very peaceful and calm. I noticed that incidents of bullying among students decreased and realized that flowers have an amazing power. (9th grade female student)

 The students became friendly and chatted about the flowers. I was surprised by the flower’s power to give us cheerful and bright feelings. (9th grade female student)

When I take care of flowers, I feel refreshed and I forget about unpleasant things. It feels different just having the flowers here. Whenever I look at the flowers, I feel comfort. (9th grade male student)

I was very sad about the incidents of bullying and violence at the school. After the flowers were delivered, I felt calm and gentle. (9th grade female student)

The number of students who volunteered to take care of the flowers grew, and every one’s heart was cleansed. (8th grade female student)

My classmates gathered around the flowers, and the entire classroom became calm. Unpleasant incidents decreased. (8th grade female student)

Since the flowers were delivered to the school, the violence and bullying problems decreased gradually in our school. I feel that everybody smiles more and the school is becoming cheerful. (8th grade female student)

The teacher told me that the bullying had died down and I realized again the power of flowers. I was very pleased that the students noticed how wonderful flowers are. I would be glad to continue to heal others pain with the flowers from now on.

Colorado Sangetsu joins Ikebana Internat’l, Denver Chapter

 For many years I have been interested in joining the local chapter of Ikebana International here in Colorado.  I finally took the time to make the contact and found the Colorado Springs chapter this past fall.  They in turn connected me to Midori Allmeyer, chapter President here in Denver, and without further delay I joined in January!  I was promptly informed that the chapter would be participating in the Colorado Garden & Home Show in February with an exhibit at the entry way to the event.  I jumped at the opportunity for sure.  This being another idea of mine on the backburner for many years, it was very clearly the time to do this!  With being very close to retirement (again and I really mean it this time), my involvement and love of flowers will surely have a chance to flourish.

The other schools represented are Ikenobo, Sogetsu (most members), Ohara, Ichiyo and Chiko.  I haven’t yet attended a formal meeting, but the folks who I have encountered have very warmly welcomed me and Sangetsu!  Photos and kudos shared after the exhibit included another special welcome.  Sangetsu style is unique from what I witnessed at the exhibit and I’m glad they too see the simplicity, beauty and artistry we have been given through Mokichi Okada.  I will be participating in more of their events namely an Ikenobo demonstration with a Japanese Professor from Kyoto coming up in May and the Cherry Blossom Festival in June sponsored by the Ohara School.  I feel very fortunate to represent Sangetsu and to continue to learn and expand my work with flowers influenced by other flower designers.  I am truly blessed! Their motto is “Friendship through Flowers” – indeed!


Natalie Montecalvo

Back to the Basics The Seminar outline

Friday April 8             Saturday April 9

8-9 Breakfast/clean-up            8-9 Breakfast/cleanup

Activity Room                                    Activity Room

(Asst. Prof. M. Kearns)                       (Asst, Prof M. Kearns)

9:00                                         9:00

Prayer                                      Prayer

Sanctuary                                Sanctuary

9:15-10:00                               9:15-11:15

Opening Welcome                  Korinka (basic rules)

(Prof/Rev. Henry Ajiki)          Then critique

                                                (Prof/Rev H Ajiki)

10-11                                       11:15-12:00

Sangetsu Game                                   Demonstration: The

Art of the Demonstration

(Asst Prof Marta Vergara)      (Asst Prof Joan Fairs)

11-12:30                                  12-1

Moribana Study/critique         Lunch and clean up

(Mrs. Michi Ajiki)                   (Asst Prof M. Kearns)

1-2 Tea Ceremony


(Mamiko Matsushita &

Asst Prof M. Kearns)

Sangetsu North America, Tucson

Sunday April 10                      Monday April 11

8-9 Breakfast/cleanup             8-9 Breakfast/cleanup

Activity Room                                    Instructor candidates

(Asst Prof M. Kearns)             only

9:00                                         9:00

Prepare Sanctuary                   Prayer

For Appreciation service         Sanctuary

9-11:30                                                9:15-11:15

Appreciation Service               Technical Test

Sanctuary                                for Instructor candidates


11:30-1:00                               11:30-1:00

Lunch/cleanup                         Lunch

(Asst Prof M Kearns)              (Asst Prof M Kearns)


1-2                                           1:00-2:30

Arrange Sanctuary for            Written Exam

Public Exhibition                    Instr. Candidates




Friday                                      Saturday

12:30-2:00                               2:00-3:00 Sangetsu

Lunch/cleanup                         Community Service Talk and arrange

(Asst Prof Maggie Kearns)     (Instructor Sarah DeLegge)

2:00-3:30                                 3:10-5:00

Basic Principals Talk and        Tai Saku Arrangement

Discussion and Shoka             for public show


(Prof/Rev Henry Ajiki)           (Prof Lily Kosaka)

3:30- 3:45                                5:00-6:15

Break                                       Website Study

                                                (Instr.Sarah DeLegge)

3:45-4:45                                 6:15-7:00


(Asst Prof Helena Arouca)     Dinner and cleanup



5:00-6:00                                 7:00-7:30

Dinner and cleanup                 Prepare Sanctuary for

                                                Appreciation Service


Prepare for Tai Saku

Sunday                                    Monday

1:00-5:00                                 2:30

Public Exhibition                    Finish

Fund raising arrangements

Or CS activity

2-5                                           2:30-?

Practice Technical Test           Judge arrangements

Activity Room

(Prof Lily Kosaka/Mrs. M Ajiki)



Clean up and set up for


(Asst Prof Maggie Kearns)


Dinner in Sanctuary and

Sangetsu meeting

(Asst Profs Kearns and Quinn)


Clean up


Thursday, April 14th 4:00 pm

Sangetsu Instructors take down show.

A Message from Helena

Since September 18th 2010 my husband’s illness challenged all of us.   Thanks to God, I have all of you with me praying for his recovery. God has been so great making me accept this.  The strength I feel every day must come from Him and all the love from friends like you all.

Let’s all continue to pray for God’s will to prevail.

Thank you.

Helena Arouca


Sangetsu; Thoughts on Healing


The Sangetsu School of Flower Arranging acknowledges the power of nature and its role in healing as presented by Mokichi Okada (1882-1955).  Okada’s philosophy, along with his desire to see each person become truly healthy and happy, provided the inspiration for the founding of the school on June 15, 1972 in Atami, Japan.

The love and reverence expressed toward plants, and the way in which they are handled is of utmost importance in flower arranging.  There is a reciprocal energy that flows between the flowers and the individual, and out into the environment when an attitude of reverence is present.  This energy, which facilitates healing and transformation, is enhanced when flowers are arranged with joy.

Okada taught that nature is truth; it is God’s great art.  In creating a floral masterpiece, nature’s truth and beauty are expressed and combined with human skill and artistic ability, balancing the spiritual and the physical.  It is a goal of Sangetsu to balance these two principles through flower arrangement, and by doing so, provide a healing impulse that can change the world.

…A further microcosm can be seen in a Sangetsu flower arrangement.  Utilizing the lines of the sun, moon, and earth, we create an arrangement demonstrating the three separate energies uniting into one from which a work of healing art will arise.

…A large bouquet of symmetrically arranged flowers, though cheerful, does not, I believe, provide the same healing force.  In illness, it is simplicity, not abundance that can assist in the healing process.

A Korinka arrangement is a powerful symbol of healing.  It embraces the spiritual energies of fire, water and earth, emitting a healing energy that ensouls the environment, and affects people….By viewing these life filled flowers, an impulse for healing is given.

Our thoughts while arranging also have an effect on the artistic result and the healing energy that is emitted once the arrange-ment is complete.  By loving Mother Earth, by revering her gifts through nature, we assist in her growth and continuity, and bring love and healing to ourselves in the process.

As an instructor, I have also observed changes among my Sangetsu students, immediate and those of longer term.  Frequently, students come to class tired, stressed, or otherwise upset about something that has occurred during the day.  By the end of the class, however, there has been a transformation.  They are smiling, appear more relaxed, have more vitality and color in their face, and are happy they made the effort to attend.  In the space of just one class the flowers have performed a valuable service of healing.

I have also observed that the degree of healing that takes place in class often depends on how an instructor facilitates the process.  That love for our flowers is more important than technique is an important guide. …

The  simplicity of Okada’s guidelines—to arrange flowers naturally according to their growth patterns and inherent beauty; to arrange flowers quickly so that they do not lose their life forces and vitality; to arrange flowers as if painting a picture, with the placement of each one a different stroke of the brush onto the canvas; to arrange flowers in harmony with the vase and its placement; and to arrange flowers with joy—makes it possible for anyone to make beautiful and healing arrangements.

Joy permeates the life of nature, and nature, in turn, gives its joy and healing to humankind.  This is the way of Great Nature.  This is the way of Sangetsu.


All excerpts from “Transformation Through Flowers Spiritual and Physical Healing” by Professor Kathleen Lemler 1993.