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Published June 26th 2011
As a man, I can honestly say that I do not understand flower arranging. It is simply just not in my programming to understand it. All I can say in response to flowers are: a) they look nice and b) they smell nice. There is, of course, much more to flowers than just the pretty colours and the fragrant smells. To briefly understand what flower arranging is; it is an art form where beauty and nature are combined to provide a pleasing and balanced composition to the mind and soul. Flower arranging combines elements of Line, Form, Texture, Space and Colour with the principles of Balance, Proportion, Rhythm, Contrast and Unity.
Whether you're a curious classy gal or an ignorant male such as myself, there are actually a limited amount of schools in Melbourne where you can learn more about the art of flower arrangement.
The Floral Art School of Australia was first established in 1972 and is operated by principle Fay Chamoun. Fay is also an associate member of Interflora, the Australian Institute of Horticulture, and the Australian Institute of Management. Start from the very beginning, this course teaches you the very basics of flower arrangement and the different styles of flower arranging. From styles such as table centerpieces, basket arrangements, modern floral designs and traditional flower arrangements to European designs, bouquets and wedding designs, you can be assured that you will learn all there is to need know about flower arranging.
The Floral Art School of Australia also offers an online correspondence course, meaning you can learn from the comforts of your own home. Day and evening class are available and classes run for about two to three hours a week. New students will receive a free text book 'Professional Floristry Techniques' and a presentation folder containing instructions for modern freestyle designs.
For a more exotic experience, there are other options in Melbourne. Why not try your hand in Ikebana, the Japanese Art of Flower Arrangement. Ikebana is a traditional past time activities for Japanese women, with an emphasis on a simple minimalistic and spiritual approach to flower arranging. Unlike the western approach to flower arranging where much of the emphasis is placed on colour, contrast and balance, Ikebana utilizes mainly the stem and leaves of a plant to emphasis the line, shape and form of the arrangement. It is an art that is often practiced in silence, with the aim of bringing the practitioner closer to nature and provide a relaxed environment for the body, mind and soul.
Based around the South Eastern suburbs of Murrumbeena, Shoso Ikebana is the place to learn how to arrange flowers, the Japanese way. The classes are taught by Shoso Shimbo, an extremely experienced and qualified teacher from Japan who was once selected by Belle Magazine as one of "Australia's top floral designers" and has won multiple awards including the Gold Award at the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show.
Shoso Ikebana offers a certificate Ikebana course, which can lead to a professional teaching diploma once a student completes the 4 levels of the certificate course. For those curious about Ikebana and wanting to taste a sample, Shoso Ikebana offers an Introductory Class which consists of three 90 minute session for only $50.
In this day and age, it's funny to see how we have advanced so much in our lives that we forget the little things that matter: the clouds on a blue sky, the stars on a dark night, the feel of the wind on our faces; and the smell of flowers.
Find our inner selves again through nature and reemerge yourself with the simple things. Explore through the world of flowers and you will see that there is more to flowers than just the nice smells and pretty colours.