The Beginning of
"Friendship Through Flowers"
Ikebana, the art of Japanese flower
arranging, has been around for
centuries. Ikenobo Ikebana was the
original school practiced and taught
by Buddhist priests in Kyoto, Japan
more than 600 years ago. Since that
time, many other Ikebana schools have
developed. To learn more about the
various schools, click on any of the
names in the box at right.
Ikebana International, however,
began only 60 years ago, and although
the art of Ikebana is the central core,
Ikebana International involves much
more. It was the dream of the late
Ellen Gordon Allen, who as an army
wife, lived in Japan after the war.
Mrs. Allen studied Ikebana and
obtained teacher’s diplomas from
several schools. Her idea was to
spread the art and culture of Japan
around the world, promoting peace
among people and countries. From that
came today's Ikebana International.
The Headquarters Chapter was
established in Toyko, Japan in 1956.
There are now 162 Ikebana
International chapters in 55 countries
and areas with a membership of 7,500.
St. Louis Chapter #3 was there in the
beginning. A small group of talented
and creative St. Louis women were the founders and charter members of Ikebana International St Louis Chapter #3,only the third Chapter to be established in the world, following the headquarters Chapter in Toyko, Japan and Chapter #2 in Rome, Italy.
Founding members and first officers are pictured above at right. They are, left to right: Mrs. Marwood Konold, Mrs. J.R. Searles; Mrs. Fred Joseph, Mrs. Hugh Semple, Mrs. Gene
Messing, Mrs. Walter Morris and Mrs. Sachiko Ero. An eighth member, not pictured, was
Mrs. Stephen Wolfe. This small group of proved to be a positive force on the St. Louis scene. In the years following the Chapter's organization, the Japanese Garden at the Missouri Botanical Garden was established. The Chapter helped raise funds for the completions of Tortoise Island in the Japanese Garden, and participated in the celebrations that followed.
The first Japanese Festival was held at the Missouri Botanical Garden as part of the 1977 dedication of the Japanese Garden. Chapter #3 began a tradition that continues to the present: an annual public exhibit of Ikebana arrangements by members at the annual Japanese Festival. Visit our Japanese Festival page to see some of our activities and arrangements.
Today our Chapter has 19 members and we are growing. We meet once a month to increase our knowledge of Japanese art and culture. Our Ikenobo Ikebana members have demonstrated various Japanese cooking skills which have proven to be lots of fun. Learning to use botanical items to decorate holiday tables, seeing demonstrations of various schools of Ikenobo arrangements, touring gardens and the studios/workshops of local artists are just some of the things we enjoy doing during the year. Photos of a few events are on our Gallery page.
We welcome you and invite you to explore our Chapter website and to visit one of our meetings. (See our Contact page for more information.)