Passport Series Tries the Art of Japanese Flower Arranging

By A Passport Series Attendee

The MICDS Passport Series hosted Ikenobo professor Yokoshiko Mitchell for an afternoon of Japanese floral design on December 1 in the Olson Hall Presentation Room. More than 20 members of the School community gathered to try their hands at the traditional Japanese art of flower arranging that prizes the use of the whole flower or plant to create beautiful, minimalist designs that can be appreciated from every angle. Participants worked with an array of flowers, including red roses for the holiday season, branches of gold-tinged pine, a handful of magnolia leaves, and other greens.


“It is such a pleasure to share my culture with you,” said MICDS Passport Series Co-Chair Ayumi Cullen P’25 who helped organize the event.

Mitchell has lived in St. Louis since 1970 and is active in the community, teaching classes on Ikenobo floral design at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Creve Coeur. She has been an active member of Ikenobo Ikebana Society, the St. Louis chapter of Ikebana International, as well as the Garden Club of St. Louis.

A joyful and celebratory mood was felt throughout the room as participants explored a new way to arrange blooms. “I appreciated learning the Japanese approach to flower arranging especially since it is so different from the style I have grown up with,” said Terese Friel Portell P’24. “I found the minimalism and asymmetrical focus interesting and challenging in a fun way.”

Mitchell walked around the room, offering tips to each participant. Yen Jan P’25, ’31 said, “It was an amazing experience to learn Ikebana from a legend. I cannot believe that just a few flowers, with some green touches, can turn into such a beautiful centerpiece.”

The next Passport Series event will be a docent-led tour and luncheon at the Saint Louis Art Museum on Thursday, January 5. We hope to see you then!