The instructor started off with a little introduction on ikebana (though her pronounciation of the Japanese terms was all wrong and there were some easily-caught errors in the story...) She is a master in the Ohara school of ikebana, and she introduced some of the concepts. She taught us the first arrangement, and explained about the materials and the angles, which was quite fascinating. During the work, I found that my intuition would sometimes go against the rules -- that's not entirely unexpected, but still. I was pretty pleased with my result, and then the instructor came by to fiddle with it a bit more so it would conform better to the forms. Not sure I liked that result better than my own, but perhaps I need to learn about the esthetics of the school more before I appreciate it.
Ikebana uses a piece of lead with copper nails sticking out to 'pin' the flowers on. You can see it in the photos. Much was made of the price of it, but it turned out to be less than 20 euros. I get that it's a lot of money for some people, but surely if you can shell out 22.50 for the workshop, 18 euros is not that much of an additional investment to be able to continue at home? Long story short, we bought one, and now our arrangements are sitting side by side on the dresser (the other one is in a piece of oasis).
Good fun, and I think I'd like to know more about it. Perhaps there are some clips on youtube to tell us more about the different arrangements.