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。
“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
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
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)
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.