Banmi Shofu Ryu of Ikebana 

Bessie Banmi Fooks

In 1962, Bessie Yoneko Banmi Fooks, 1st Generation Headmaster of Banmi Shofu Ryu took her first lessons in Japan, and because her creations took a naturalistic form, her Ikenobo-sensei referred her to Bansui Ota, then Shofu Ryu Iemoto.  During Bansui Ota-sensei’s frequent visits with her daughter in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Bessie Banmi-sensei, then living on the island nation, continued to study with her. 


 Bessie Banmi Fooks in a vintage picture in Japan, circa 1962

          In 1972, she received her professor’s certificate, and authorization to establish Banmi Shofu Ryu.  She started teaching in Tainan, Taiwan, and began exhibiting and demonstrating Kado during Ikebana International world and regional conventions for close to 50 years, wherever she and her  husband taught for the US Department of Defense Dependents Schools took her family – Japan, Germany, Turkey, Philippines, among many.  Her body of work consistently highlighted the hallmark of Banmi Shofu School – employing the use of driftwood, not as an artifice, but as a way of connecting with the spirit of driftwood in creating a floral design.  The driftwood pieces she used came to life as they infused floral arrangements with their living spirit.

Double Schlumbergera bloom gives a pop of color in Banmi's garden, July 2008

Last minute rush to obtain an ethnic basket & weave for a regional Ikebana convention in Taipei, Republic of China






 A calla lily is bright during the early Florida Winter morning. 






Bessie Banmi sensei with a holiday arrangement she created for the Honolulu Hale in 2005

It's the year of the horse expressed by Bessie Banmi Fooks with driftwood and flowers.

Gil Fooks assists in creating the bamboo structure for a kenka design for the 2007 Ikebana International Chapter 65, St. Petersburg annual luncheon demonstration .

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