14th May 2000

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Helping them with flowers

An Ikebana exhibition in aid of thalassaemi children

By Nilika de Silva

It's Ikebana for a good cause from the Shi-en Ikebana and Floral Art Society which is holding the exhibition, 'Saying it with flowers' in aid of children suffering from thalassaemia at the Hotel Lanka Oberoi today.

'As time goes by', 'Memories', 'I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts' and 'Daisy Daisy' are among the 50 exhibits which have been crafted using commen flowers and fruits.

"This is our eighth exhibition," said Society President Druki Martenstyne. "We held exhibitions in aid of Ranaviru Sevana, Castle Street Maternity Hospital, Lady Ridgeway, etc. This year the proceeds are for children suffering from thalassaemia."

"In 1991 we banded together and had a Shi-en Ikebana Club," Druki explained.

"Then after a few years it became the Shi-en Ikebana and Floral Art Society of Sri Lanka and today it has about 80 members. It is still growing. The membership comprises various groups from young working girls to grandmothers and several males. The Society is affiliated to the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies (NAFAS) in England."

The Shi-en Ikebana Society was started by Mrs. Kamala Pillai, a qualified Ikebana teacher from Japan. Having graduated from the Sogetsu School in Tokyo, Mrs. Pillai was given the name Shi-en (Purple Mist) and this was incorporated in the Society's name.

Druki said, "We have meetings every month, with some sort of demonstration. Once we had an expert in gokkala. We also try to learn more about plants, and our next meeting will be a video show of a flower show in England."

The Society also goes on excursions. "Once it was to Kitulgala where we collected driftwood. Another year we went to the Peradeniya Gardens. This year we went to Negombo and stopped at a glass factory that makes vases. We always keep the interest going," she explained.

Every year the exhibition has a different theme. The principal sponsors of the exhibition are Mascons Agrotech and Associated Batteries, while Nestle, Delmege, Browns and Good Year are also helping.

A special demonstration of floral arrangements will be held at 11.30 a.m. and 5.30 p.m. today at the Lanka Oberoi, New Wing, New Functions Room, where the exhibition is on from 10.30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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