It was much later in my life that I came to the United States. Being fond of arts and crafts, I soon made my way to many specialty stores, where I discovered, with great amazement, the quality and variety of silk flowers. There were so many and they looked so lifelike! I also noticed that many people here used silk flower arrangements to decorate their living and working spaces. At first, the notion of using silk flowers instead of real ones was odd to me and I resisted it. But that changed after seeing the quality and vividness of silk flowers, and realizing the practicality of long_lasting, low maintenance flower arrangements. This lead me to the idea of using silk flowers to create Ikebana_inspired flower arrangements.
Western style arrangements typically consist of a free form assemblage of flowers in a container. In contrast, Ikebana is more of a disciplined form of art, governed by well_defined rules, principles and techniques. For example, certain precepts regulate elements like the light and the shadows. There is also what is known as the three points of balance _ shin_fuku_tai in Japanese _ which symbolize man, heaven and earth, respectively, and that have to be in harmonious equilibrium in order to give true life to an Ikebana flower arrangement. This and the fact that stems and branches are used in addition to flowers, are perhaps the most obvious differences with western_style flower arrangement.