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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.) 

Ikebana Schools
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