Designing with a Kenzan

One of the oldest inorganic armatures for floral design is the Kenzan, also know as a pin-cushion holder or spiky frog. The Kenzan was introduced by the Moribana school of Ikebana around 1910. In this Flower School How-To Video Leanne uses a Kenzan as she demonstrates a beautiful linear styled floral design.

Video Transcription 

Welcome to the Flower School .com video library. I'm Leanne Kesler, director of the Floral Design Institute, and today I want to share with you a wonderful linear style design featuring beautiful miniature cymbidiums. With these, anything's going to be grand. 

The container, it's from my personal collection. It's a slate tray with a hole in the center, and in the center then is a kenzan, the pincushion. You may have designed with these, they're a little tricky at first, but they give you the opportunity to have alternative mechanics, a very linear, sparse, spacious design easily. 

I have filled the hole with fresh water already mixed with flower food. Then, first step is to place the specimen, the miniature cymbidium, giving it a cut, looking at it for placement. Then setting it right down into the pins and securing it so it stands tall. 

To enhance the line and soften, because it's a little stiff. Bringing in some wonderful flowering plum, giving it a cut, letting it come in, finding a perfect spot to hold it, and coming in with another looking at it. Sometimes you need to prune out to get it to be perfect. So removing this piece so that I have the four going in the same direction, then breaking it down a bit and placing it on the opposite side so that it pulls the eye through on a diagonal. 

Now I can start filling in with more lines, but thinking about space, thinking about the movement, I've got this wonderful diagonal, I have the more vertical, coming in with a bit of foxglove. Notice how it has natural curvature, letting that work with the design, giving it a cut, placing it into the pins, and then repeating that a little lower, drawing the eye back, then coming in with luco, beautiful dark foliage, angling it, making sure it's down into the pins well, and then repeating that again, but much shorter. Pulling the eye down, filling in the base, creating visual weight to anchor the eye. 

Once the lines are there, you need to cover the base mechanics, and create a little focal emphasis, some visual weight at the bottom, quicksand roses, so gorgeous, tucking it in low, again anchoring it. Brunia, the silver gray, breaking it down, placing it in, and then repeating with additional roses and a little more brunia until it's all filled. 

The recipe for this design breaks many of the rules, I did twos, I did one, and you know, you're supposed to always do odd numbers, but who says that? So, instead I did what I wanted to do. So, I have one stem of the cymbidium, two of the luco foliage, two of the Foxglove. I did do three brunia, and three of the quicksand roses. But, then back to two stems of flowering plum. Now when I turn this, you can see that although it is a front facing one-sided arrangement, I did finish the sides and the back so that it looks good no matter which side you look, and it just gives you that fabulous, wonderful linear style. 

Working in the linear style is fun, but you do have to focus on your elements and principles, the things you learned in flower school. For more creative inspiration, and more information on the elements and principles, you'll find it at the website, Flower School .com. If you have questions, you can reach us through there, or pick up the telephone and give us a call at (503) 223-8089. Now it's your turn. What are you going to create in the linear style with a kenzan? be sure to take a picture, post it on social media, and hashtag Floral Design Institute. That way we all can see what you do as you do something you love.

  • Crowning Glory Individual Pack 32 ounce spray bottle
    Crowning Glory Individual Pack 32 ounce spray bottle
  • Fresh Flower Food Individual Pack 10 ounce tub
    Fresh Flower Food Individual Pack 10 ounce tub
  • Quick Dip Individual Pack One Pint
    Quick Dip Individual Pack One Pint
  • Alum for Hydrangeas Individual Pack 3 ounce bottle
    Alum for Hydrangeas Individual Pack 3 ounce bottle