The Glories of Ikebana

To whet your appetite for its classes in the art of ikebana (flower arranging), BDK America wanted to share some of the impressive work out of the Ikebana Now studio—from its accomplished teacher and skillful students. 

Ikebana Now

Ikebana Now is the flower-arranging school led by Jane Suiei Naito Sensei, a school in the Sogetsu tradition. Works from Ikebana Now regularly appear across the Bay Area and beyond. 

Suiei Sensei, the driving force behind the school, brings her expertise for the hands-on, introductory lessons presented by BDK America. (See more information about the class. and the schedule through the end of 2017, toward the end of this article.)

About the Sogetsu Tradition

In contrast to schools focused on established forms,the Sogetsu School as founded by Sofu Teshigahara in 1927 emphasizes creativity. The tradition embraces the creation of arrangements at any time, anywhere, and using any material. The tradition is especially well oriented to the diverse audience in the United States. 

That's why we are so happy to offer these classes, and to share recent work from Suiei Sensei and others—to inspire you to explore this esthetic and spiritual tradtion.

A Note about the Photos

We thank Suiei Sensei for the following photographs, which were supplied by the artist when not copied from the Ikebana Now Facebook Page. All pictures are copyright of their original photographers. 


Arrangements by Suiei Sensei

The sample arrangements shown here give a sense of the creativity and versatility of the Ikebana Now approach.



Left: Suiei Sensei completes the finale arrangement at a demonstration in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. Right: Suiei Sensei’s ikebana arrangement at the de Young Museum, San Francisco, in front of Chiura Obata’s painting Mother Earth.


Above: Suiei Sensei’s arrangement using large succulent, irises, and copper tubing. Container created out of an old tree stump. From the Obon Ikebana show at the Alameda Buddhist Temple.



Above: Suiei Sensei’s arrangement using maple branches, dried banana leaves, purple agapanthus and yellow craspedia. Container created by Sensei.


Arrangements from Students of Ikebana Now

Suiei Sensei teaches at various venues across the Bay area, and the arrangements below were created by her students, some of whom take classes at BDK America.  The following arrangements were prepared for the Obon Ikebana Flower Show at the Alameda Buddhist Temple. BDK America congratulates the artists whose works are pictured: Ritsuko AnchetaAsh AnikNeerja BhutaniBruce and Eda FukayamaElo Grossman,  Wendy HanamuraJean HowardJackie Ito-Woo,  Alison NagahisaKathy SumLenni Terao-Doerr, and Betty Yee.  


Above: Camellia branches and bi-color lilies; group arrangement by Betty Yee, Neerja Bhutani, Ritsuko Ancheta, and Wendy Hanamura. (Betty Yee and Neeja Bhutani are students of the BDK America classes. Ritsuko Ancheta and Wendy Hanamura are from other classes. All are beginners who worked together on this arrangement.)



Left:  Jean Howard uses pipe insulation with pin cushion flowers.    Right:  All green arrangement by Kathy Sum.



Left:  Classic iris arrangement by Jackie Ito-Woo. Right:  Gladiola, sunflowers and maple branches; arrangement by Bruce and Eda Fukayama. The Fukayamas are also students in the BDK America classes.



Left: Woven flax leaves and anthuriums; arrangement by Jean Howard.    Right: Chestnut branches, sunflowers, with manzanita branch; arrangement by Elo Grossman in a container created by the artist.



Above: Kathy Sum and Alison Nagahisa worked together to create this arrangement using curly willow, persimmons and bird of paradise. 



Left: Hydrangeas and baby acorn branches. Right: Milkweed branches, mirror plant and queen protea. Both arrangements are from Lenni Terao-Doerr in containers created by the artist. 



Above: Alison Nagahisa's arrangements with anthuriums and lemons from the Alameda Buddhist Temple.



Above: Pine branches, white spider mums, and white carnations; arrangement by Ash Anik


One Last Word about These Photos

From the photos of what ikebana artists of all levels of experience can achieve, you can see why so many people are getting excited about ikebana.  


Introductory Ikebana Classes at BDK America

BDK America presents classes by Ikebana Now at its offices in Moraga at 1675 School Street. The class is designed to bring meaningul growth for beginning students, and students may join in easily. Suiei Sensei will offer beginner level classes in the Sogetsu School of Ikebana. Students will learn about the unique design principles of Sogetsu Ikebana, by creating their own arrangement in class and having it critiqued by Suiei Sensei. Students will learn about line, mass, dimension and asymmetry as well as techniques for successfully using a kenzan/pinfrog. Students will take home their arrangements to be recreated in their homes.

Schedule through 2017

Classes meet once each month from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. While most of the year the class is on the fourh Thursday of each month, note a change in the pattern for November and December. 

  • September: Fourth Thursday (9/28/17)
  • October: Fourth Thursday (10/26/17)
  • November: Third Thursday (11/16/17)
  • December: Third Thursday (12/21/17)

Join at Any Time

"Students may join in at any time," Brian Nagata, Director of Programs, said. "Interested parties should call the instructor directly on class openings and availability," he said. The contact number for the Ikebana class appears below. "Students should to contact Suiei Sensei and discuss the best time to start," Nagata said, "before showing up for class in Moraga."

Fee Structure

   One-Time Fees

  • Enrollment Fee, $20
  • Textbook, $25.

   Tuition per Class

  • Includes branches and flowers, $30.

About Suiei Sensei and Ikebana Now

Suiei Sensei is a certifiied teacher in the Sogetsu School of Ikebana. Through Ikebana Now she provides classes throughout the greater Bay area. She represented the San Francisco Branch of Ikebana International at the 2011 Bouquets to Arts floral exhibit at the de Young Museum and has exhibited at numerous Ikebana International, Sogetsu’s ArtScape Flower Shows and Fioli's Mother's Day Flower Show. She has served on the Board of San Francisco Bay Area Branch of Ikebana International and currently serves as Treasurer of the Sogetsu San Francisco Bay Area Branch and is on the Sogetsu ArtScape Flower Show committee.

For More Information

For more information about the classes or to sign up, please contact Suiei Sensei at 415-937-8260 or She will advise on the best date to join the ongoing classes. For the most recent news about Ikebana Now, see the Ikebana Now Facebook page here. Be sure to like it to stay current with Ikebana Now.