⟨ Misc ⟩

Vanessa Chik

Florist

Words / Phaedrus Lam
Photography / Kimio Ng
Translation / Ian Tsang

「我並不特別沉迷文具,我喜歡的是漂亮的物件。」

認識Vanessa Chik,首先是拜訪她在西環開設的文具店Blank。那時我問她是否文具迷,她回答說不是。而到後來我才知道,她原本從事建築設計工作,是因為想擁有不一樣的生活體驗,所以開設了Blank這家文具店,此外也經營著Flos on the Folk這個花藝品牌。

這一次,Vanessa以Flos on the Folk主理人身份接受訪問,帶來了花藝常用的工具,像不同用途的剪刀、不同形態的花瓶,還有劃開花泥用的直尺、貯存工具的塑膠盒子等等。

她說喜歡漂亮的物件,這次她帶來的這些工具,不僅展示出花藝這門學問的枝微末節,亦同時透露出身兼建築師、花藝師和文具店老闆的她,對於觀看物件的態度。

“I am not that obsessed with stationery. What I like are pretty things.”

I first became acquainted with Vanessa Chik when I paid a visit to Blank, the stationery store she opened in Western District in Hong Kong. During my visit, I asked her if she was an enthusiast of stationery, to which she answered no. Later on, I learned that she used to work in architecture, but in hopes of experiencing something out of ordinary in her life, she set up Blank, and on the side, she also ran a floral art brand called Flos on the Folk.

This time, we interviewed Vanessa in her capacity as the person in charge of Flos on the Folk, and she brought along with her the tools she often uses for flower arrangement, including scissors for different purposes, flower vessels in a variety of shapes, as well as a straight ruler for cutting floral foam and plastic boxes for storing tools.

She said she likes pretty things, and the tools she brought with her has shed light on not only the bits and pieces about the knowledge of flower arrangement, but also from a florist, architect, as well as a stationery store owner point of view, how she sees objects.

1. 母親的花藝用剪刀/My mother’s floral secateurs

這原本是我母親在用的,從我小時候她已經學插花,每個星期都帶花藝作品回家。這把剪刀已經使用上二十多年了,母親當時候以不低的價格購入,而到現在剪刀還是非常鋒利。其實我是近幾年才對花藝有真正興趣,不過這把剪刀可說是我對花藝知識的開端,除了我會使用它之外,我母親也仍然在使用它。

They originally belonged to my mother, who was already learning flower arrangement when I was little. Every week, she would take home flowers she arranged . This pair of secateurs have already served us for more than two decades. Back then, my mother paid quite a large sum for that, but they remain very sharp to this date. Actually, it was not until the past few years that I became seriously interested in flower arrangement, but this pair can be regarded as my introduction to flower arrangement. Not only me, but my mother still uses them.

2. 花藝用剪刀/Floral secateurs

這兩把是我最主要用的剪刀,它們形狀很相似。上面那把,適合剪較粗的花和枝節。下面那把則主要用來剪花,你可以看到它是比較新的設計,刀口旁邊有一塊塑膠配件,能夠把剪開的枝節夾住,不會掉到地上。平常你會看到一位花藝師同時有許多把剪刀,其實就是用來剪不同粗細度的花草。

I mainly use these two pairs of secateurs, which look very much alike. The pair on top is more suited to cutting flowers and branches that are relatively thick. The pair below, however, is primarily used for cutting flowers. You can see that it has a relatively modern design, with a plastic part attached to the blade which can hold the cut branches so that they will not drop. Usually you will see a florist equipped with a variety of shears, and actually they are used for cutting flowers and plants of different thickness.

3. 生花鋏池坊流、古流型剪刀 /Scissors used in Ikenobu and Koryu school of ikebana (floral art)

這兩把都是日本花藝特有的剪刀,是我在日本旅遊時買到的。你會看到它們形狀跟一般剪刀不同,握把沿著末端慢慢凹下去,是用來配合握姿的設計;另外放手指的握口也特別寬,長期使用下來不太容易疲累。不過它對我最特別的地方,是你快速開合剪刀時的聲音,如果聲音夠清脆的話,就代表了這是一把好的剪刀。

These two pairs are scissors typically used in Japanese flower arrangement; I bought them during my trip in Japan. You can see that they have a different shape from regular scissors; their handle curve gradually inside from the end, which is a design that suits the grip. In addition, the grip for placing your fingers are especially wide so that your fingers do not tire easily from long-time use. But to me, the most special thing about them is the sound of opening and closing the scissors rapidly. If the sound is crisp enough, it means that it is a good pair of scissors.

4. 金屬製鐵線剪刀/Metal wired scissors

最後這把是我在台灣旅遊時,在一個市集裡買到的,是中古品,買回來時已經是舊舊的,不過非常好看,已經看到色層在剝落。它主要用來剪鐵線的,隨便用其他剪刀去剪鐵線,很容易會剪壞。我覺得它的皮革扣子也很好看,一般的剪刀扣件都是金屬製的,另外手把上的紋路也非常漂亮。

I bought this last pair at a market when I was traveling in Taiwan. It is second-handed, and looked already a bit old the time I bought it. But it is very pretty, and you can see the colors already peeling off. This is mainly used for cutting iron wires. If you just use whatever scissors you can get your hands on, you can easily damage the scissors. I think its leather strap looks very lovely as ordinary straps for scissors are made of metal. Also, the patterns on the handle are also very pretty.

5. 文具用剪刀 /Stationery scissors

這好像是你在文具店裡,會找到的平常款式,然而它的特別之處,是關節口不在中間,握手的地方移到偏旁,是一把新型設計的剪刀,長期使用下來更省力。它很鋒利,平常我用它來剪緞帶,像有一次我要一口氣剪四十多條緞帶,可手也不見得會酸,但如果用平常的剪刀就一定會很累。

This looks like ordinary scissors you might find in a stationery store. It is special in that its screw is not placed in the middle, and the handle is lop-sided. It is a type of scissors with a new design for preventing strain for long-time usage. It is very sharp, and normally I use it for cutting ribbons. For instance, there was one time when I needed to cut more than forty ribbons in one go, and thanks to this pair of scissors, my hand did not become sore. If I had done this with a regular scissors, I would have felt very tired.

6. 金屬直尺/Metal straight ruler

這是我日常使用的普通鐵尺,但我其實沒有用它來量度東西。花藝平常會用到花泥,把花泥打濕後要根據花瓶的形狀,把花泥塞進裡頭,那時候就要用這把直尺切開花泥,因為它夠長夠薄,切下去很方便。所以,這把雖然是量度工具,但我用它來做本身以外的用途,我覺得這一點也蠻有趣的。

This is an ordinary steel ruler that I use on a daily basis. But actually I do not use it for measuring. In flower arrangement, we normally use floral foam. After the foam is wetted, it has to be stuffed into a vase according to its shape, and for this purpose, a straight ruler is used to cut open the foam. Since this ruler is sufficiently long and thin, it is convenient for cutting. Therefore, even though it is a measuring tool, I use it for another purpose. I find this quite interesting.

7. 角尺/Framing square

這是朋友從日本帶來給我的,是建築設計時會用上的工具。我們平常做建築模型時,要量度直角的角度,模型太小的話,就必須用上這把角尺。它比一般角尺來得更小,非常輕巧便利。至於在花藝上的話,如果需要用上紙材點綴裝飾,又或是製作插花藍時,我也會用上它來量直角。

This is what my friend bought for me in Japan. It is a tool used in architectural design. Usually in the process of creating an architectural model, we need to lay out right angles, and if the model is too small, we have to use this framing square. This framing square is smaller than regular ones, so it is very compact and easy to carry around. As for its use in flower arrangement, if I need to use some paper for decoration, or when I am designing a flower basket, I will also use it for laying out right angles.

8. 棕色玻璃瓶/Brown glass bottle

這個瓶子是我在一個換物活動中得來的。雖然它有點破舊,不過它比一般的棕色玻璃瓶更深色。深色的玻璃瓶子的作用,是例如我們把花擱在家裡養水,棕色物料可以略為隔絕陽光照射,因為平常花草會有分泌物,通常一至兩天就要換水,而透過對陽光照射的隔絕,可以保持水質清澈。

I got this bottle from a bartering event. Even though it looks a bit worn off, its color is darker than that of regular brown glass bottles. Dark-colored glass bottles are used, for example, for keeping flowers in water as materials in brown can slightly block out sunlight; under normal circumstances, excrement of flowers will necessitate changing water one or two days, but with the sunlight blocked, it can keep the water clean and clear.

9. 窄口玻璃瓶/Narrow-necked glass bottle

這也是在日本買到的,但當然不一定要用這款,也可以用平常喝完飲料後的空瓶子。這種瓶子的作用,是例如要為隔天的活動準備襟花時,前一天我會先把花修茸剪短後,接著把花插進盛著水的瓶子裡,等翌日起來稍作加工,再直接帶出門。不同大小瓶子,可以養不同的花,而如果不這樣做的話,花很快就會枯黃掉。

I bought this also in Japan but certainly you do not necessarily need to use this type of bottles. You may also use empty drink bottles. I use this bottle, for example, when I am preparing boutonnieres or corsages for an event; the day before, I will first trim the flowers, and insert them in a bottle filled with water; the next morning, I will do some finishing touches and carrying it directly with me when I go out. Bottles of different sizes can be used for keeping different types of flowers. If you do not do that, the flowers will turn yellow and wither away quickly.

10. 收納套裝/Storage container set

這是一盒四個的收納盒,我外出工作時,都會用它收納花藝工具,非常方便。我可以根據當日的工作內容,選擇要用大的那一隻,還是用小的那一隻。不用的時候,可以全部疊在一起,完全不佔地方。

This is a set of four storage containers. Whenever I go out for work, I will use them for storing florist tools, and I find them very convenient to use. I choose to use bigger or smaller ones based on my work for the day. When not in use, they can be stacked inside each other without taking up a lot of space.