Niwaki HQ Workshops: Fermentation • Wednesday 3 May 2023
Join Ai Jones at Niwaki Chiltern Street for a crafty afternoon making Shimekazari for your home
Shimekazari are decorative braided ropes (traditionally made from rice straws, but you’ll be working with raffia) that are placed above entrance ways in Japan to invite good luck and keep bad spirits at bay. While many folk customs have faded, both here and in Japan, Shimekazari are still a very common sight in Japanese homes (and beyond!) in the build up to New Year.
The braid can be fashioned into different shapes and decorated with a large variety of items, including pine and holly, which, being evergreens, symbolise longevity. There is an obvious similarity with winter/Christmas wreaths, which makes Shimekazari an appropriate addition to a Western home throughout the winter months. As well as plant material, many Shimekazari may be finished with an origami crane, another symbol of vitality, which Ai will demonstrate how to construct.
When Ai was younger, it was her job to make a Shimekazari for her parents’ house every year, and she has happy memories of fashioning the best decoration she could while her mother was busy preparing food for new year’s day. Learn to make Shimekazari for yourself and start a new tradition in your own home!
Ai Jones began studying Ikenobo / 池坊 – the oldest Ryuha / 流派 or style of Ikebana – as a 15 year old in her native Japan. Over time, she developed a passion for Western flower arranging and moved to the UK to learn more. Ai’s synthesis of Japanese and Western styles is now highly in demand, most recently at The Newt in Somerset, Bramble & Wild in Frome and the Niwaki HQ Showroom, Semley. We are delighted that she has chosen to share her journey of floral discovery with you.