One of my current students has an official license of Ikebana instructor certified in Japan. I have been teaching her European floral designs in California. She completed the instructor course at my floral school. In a sense she is following the way I was following. Namely I also started from learning Ikebana when I was so young and after that I began to learn European floral arrangements.
Although there are some differences between Ikebana and European floral designs, the way of approach seeking beauty of flower decoration is the same. Since she learned Ikebana to the highest level, she knew quite well about the focal points and is familiar with what to do and how to do in the floral decorations. Being such situation she did not have any difficulties in learning European floral arrangements.
Now she is working at our floral school as a volunteer to help me teach students. Judging from my experiences of getting along with Ikebana instructors, I can say they are well trained and have very good skills of floral arranging. Therefore without any doubt they can be a good designer of European flower arrangements and even qualify to be an instructor if they learn European floral designs.
Generally speaking many people get a license of Ikebana instructor by spending approximately five (5) years in Japan. Of course, from person to person it varies how long they need to get a license of Ikebana instructor. The period of five years can be said “more or less”. When it comes to getting instructor’s license of European floral designs, it may take two (2) years. Again from person to person it is different. If she has plenty of time and good financial background, she can complete all the curriculum quickly, which MAY help her get qualification of instructor faster (vice versa).
The difference between European floral arrangement and Japanese Ikebana is something like baseball and softball (it does not matter which is which). In spite there are some differences in rules and size of ball etc, good baseball players can be good softball players (vice versa). If you have ever learned Ikebana arrangement and earned a certain level of flower arranging skills, you can be a good candidate to be a good designer of European floral arrangement.
Ikebana uses “Kenzan” (frog: needlepoint holder to hold flowers) which is made of heavy metal plate on which there are uncountable number of needles are mounted . Kenzan is not disposable and it can be used almost forever. But European arrangement uses floral foam (“Oasis”) which is usually disposed once it is used for a single arrangement. Ikebana often uses “Suiban” which is a shallow type container. However European design does not use such container. Instead it uses a regular kind of deep container/vase. While European arrangement usually features flowers themselves, Ikebana often features green leaves or thin and long twigs of willow etc. to create grace of linear curve in the arrangements.
If you are interested in learning Ikebana or looking for a floral school that offers classes of Ikebana arrangement, why not join California Flower Art Academy where you can learn not only Ikebana but also European designs. California Flower Art Academy is operating in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley (San Jose) as a floral school certified by Flower Decorators Association (Tokyo Japan). For more information, please contact email@example.com