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Whoops, a Daisy!

Untraditional approaches to Japanese flower arrangements on display.

October 27, 2000|RICHARD KAHLENBERG | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Visitors to the autumn demonstration of traditional Japanese arts and crafts at the Japanese Gardens in Van Nuys on Sunday will encounter something new--traditional ikebana floral arrangements put together from garden trimmings and flowers made from recycled six-pack rings.

"When we [instructors] are teaching in the community, we try to use whatever you have in your garden, from plants readily available like sunflowers, palm fronds, camellias, bamboo and willow," said volunteer docent and veteran ikebana instructor Mari Kukawa Prasad, of Northridge.

The session Sunday will be less formal than those conducted in Japan, where students watch in silence. Questions will be encouraged, said Prasad and Encino resident Eleanor Sweet, who also will demonstrate ikebana techniques.

Fellow docent George Fujimoto, a retired Santa Clarita math teacher, called attention to his collection of discarded plastic soda six-pack rings.

He arranges the material into a startling array of artificial flowers, and he regularly accepts invitations to demonstrate his unusual art to school groups.

"I want schoolkids to know about this," he said. "When you show (people) how to work with it, they'll remember the importance of recycling."

The daylong series of demonstrations will include origami by Tokyo native Hisako Shima and Canoga Park resident Hilda Chapman, Japanese sumi-e brush painting by Philippines-born Linda Dempelisa and tai chi by third-generation instructor David Tung of Redondo Beach.

A special feature in the morning will be Masami Saito's performance of the traditional cherry blossom dance, alternating with her demonstration of Japanese calligraphy.

The Burbank resident travels to Japan regularly to continue studying the traditional arts to use in her career as a working member of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

An ensemble led by Okinawa native Miyagi Nozo will perform Japanese dances. Throughout the day, special bonsai displays, gift shop sales and refreshments will be available.

BE THERE

"Autumn in the Japanese Garden," Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Japanese Garden at the Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant, 6100 Woodley Ave., Van Nuys. $5 general, $4 seniors. Reservations suggested. (818) 756-8166.

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