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Simple Flowers-a Book Review

“Simple Flowers-Arrangements and Floral Accents for the Home” by Noriko Hayakawa with photos by Takayuki Toyama, published by Kodansha International.

In this remarkable volume, the author combines aspects of the East and West. She studied ikebana for ten years, and received a teaching credential at the relatively young age of 22. In addition, she studied European floral design as well.

In 1993, she established her own school and studio where she encourages students to develop natural designs and use flowers as an integral part of everyday life.

For beginners, she recommends a few basic rules that will serve one well.

For florals, Hayakawa encourages readers to choose wildflowers and other natural materials from the yard, such as foliage, vines, and grasses. She suggests unique ways to display the flowers using some ordinary household items as containers, and even florals, such as a piece of bamboo slit lengthwise.

According to Hayakawa, each stem is distinctive, but that doesn’t mean we should always be looking for the perfect bloom every time.

The book features fresh and new ideas for all sorts of occasions and holidays along with new ways to use flowers as decorations in every room.

The book is divided into four sections with the first featuring projects for various rooms, while the second deals with special occasions.

She describes the life cycle of a typical bouquet, and shows how you can discard the spent flowers and make new arrangements from the remaining ones. This is recycling at its very best.

She provides lots of details on techniques, including preserving methods, selecting a container, combining and arranging material, and support techniques.

Each arrangement is presented in full color.

The designs are exquisite, and defy description. One is in an empty brick fireplace, and is composed of bamboo with a few hydrangea flowers, some mint, and ground covers. It looks like a miniature landscape.

For a unique, Japanese-inspired touch to the home, these projects can’t be beat. I highly recommend this title for novices and experienced floral designers.

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