Weekend exhibit celebrates delicate art of ikebana Japanese flowers

Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arranging. In St. Petersburg, the Ikebana Club chapter has 80 members who meet monthly – and have put on an exhibition yearly for more than 60 years – showcasing their ikebana skills for the public. 

The theme of this year’s exhibit is ‘Wondrous Wood,’ so members were encouraged to use any type of wood in their arrangement, according to ikebana artist Gretchen Warren.

"You're going to see all different kinds of wood. Sometimes it's a base. Sometimes it's the bees. Sometimes it's incorporated into the floral part of the arrangement," Warren explained.

Every artist has their own way with the delicate washi paper used to make the arrangements.

It’s so delicate, they don’t bother trying to preserve their creations.

"At the end of the exhibition, much to the horror of a lot of people, we just tear these down and we give away the flowers to friends, or we put them in the trash if they're over the top," Warren said. "And I think everybody looks at it as it's an ephemeral art form. It's almost like a stage performance. You know, it happens in the moment. And of course, you always want to see these when they're freshest and then afterward, it's over." 

The ikebana flower exhibition is March 5-6 at the Treasure Island Community Center at 154 106th Ave. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 to 4 Sunday.

The club members will also have separate arrangements you can buy to take home.