⟨ Craft ⟩

At least twice

YIWOOO

Words / Jas Tse
Photography / Courtesy of YIWOOO
Translation / Iris Heung

Agnus以前是室內設計師,因為一次工作,需要用竹和藤設計傢具,找到工廠生產成品卻不很美妙,發現懂得這個工藝的師傅不多,那不如自己來試試。

也因此走到人生二回,成立了竹細工品牌,開始編織生活道具,製作菊花墊、水果籃、小皿、筷子、咖啡濾器、肩背袋。

Before founding YIWOOO, Angus used to work as an interior designer. There was one time when he had to get hold of some bamboo and rattan furniture, but was disappointed by the quality he found with the factory-made products. After realizing how few artisans are engaged in making such kind of furniture, Angus decided to give it a try himself.

This was how he started his brand YIWOOO that sells small household items made out of bamboo. Their wide selection of products includes coasters, fruit baskets, small containers, chopsticks, coffee filters, and shoulder bags.

二回」的名字意指重複、再次。「竹編本來就很純粹,過程中不斷重複一個動作,而一個圖案最少重複編兩次,結構才會開始穩。」

logo的「二」字,兩橫微微向上彎伸,很細很細地,讓人想起他做過一只竹蜻蜓,「它有左撇子和右撇子之分,要飛得高就要用合適自己撇子的竹蜻蜓。」

YIWOOO means “twice” in Chinese, Angus explains, “Bamboo weaving is a very simple process in which you keep repeating the same step. One pattern needs to be woven across with bamboo strips at least twice before the structure becomes sturdy.”

The brand’s logo is written in Chinese as 二回. The first character is written in a way that the two strokes are both slightly tilted upward on both ends, this somehow reminds me of the bamboo-copter he once made. Angus says, “It came with two versions — one for the left-hander, the other for the right-hander. If you want the bamboo-copter to fly nicely, you need to find the one that fits your dominant hand.”

材質有自己的特性,竹編的底網是核心,如果壞掉就得解散重來。「因為它帶有邏輯性,如不跟著它的理論去編,可能會沒法完成。不過換過來看,這個邏輯也表現了人類智慧與文化。」

弧度、竹片厚度、間距、結構,每個微小都會互相影響,做好一件作品要不斷往返,由開初走到結果,從一顆樹到竹條,已要經過很多處理。可簡單分為八個基本:選竹材、除油、去青、劈寬、剖薄、定寬、定厚、倒角。而他目前親自負責的,是由剖薄到倒角這四項,主要是用刀具將竹條修至同一寬度和厚度,以及把它微微修斜,觸摸時便有順滑手感。練習的除了技藝,還有生活的節奏。

Different types of materials have their own unique characteristics. A durable bamboo product relies on a sturdy woven base. If it was not netted properly from the beginning, the artisans would have to unweave it and weave again. “There is a certain logic linked to the material, if you neglect the logic, then there is a chance you might fail. This logic, in a way, represents the wisdom and culture of human beings.”

The curve and thickness of the bamboo strip, the width between each strip, as well as the structure all have a mutual influence on one another. There are a lot of back and forth steps before a high-quality bamboo product is made. Before one can start with the bamboo work, the first step is to turn bamboo poles into thin strips. This is already a very complicated process that can be further broken down into these basic steps – choosing the bamboo, removing oil from the bamboo, curing, splitting the poles, stripping, trimming strips into uniform width and thickness. Angus is currently taking care of the stripping and trimming himself. Other than unifying the width and thickness, he also needs to make the sides slightly slanted to give it a better texture for our fingertips to touch. Every step is not only a practice training for one’s technique, but it is also an adjustment to one’s pace of life.

「以前的工作需要在很短時間內完成,現在卻要慢慢來。跟香港的城市節奏相比,竹編需要的時間顯得更長。」剛開始他比較隨性,後來發現只有規律,時間才好用啊。「基本上一星期工作六天,每天八時左右起床,做一些雜務或電腦工作。中午一時左右回工作室做竹編,九時左右離開,十二時休息。除了外出工作,日子就是這樣過。其實是非常沉悶的,但竹編本來就很耗時,而且我還在摸索的過程,不努力不行呢。」

「那餘下的一天,就是一個逗號。」

生活於是慢慢移動軸心,慶幸找到在能量負值時,能一頭栽進去的空間。「喜歡竹編的原因很虛無,好像是當我跟著它的規律走,內心就會平靜起來。」

“My old job expected me to finish tasks with quick turnaround time, but my current job requires me to take it slow. When compared to the pace of urban Hong Kong, the time I have to spend on bamboo weaving seems exceptionally long,” says Angus. He did not care much about time management at the beginning, but then he realized a disciplined routine is the only way to achieve efficiency. “I generally work six days a week. I wake up at around 8 in the morning, then I would do a bit of house chores and work a bit using my computer. I start weaving bamboo at the workshop from 1 in the afternoon until 9 at night. At midnight, it’s time for bed. This is my daily routine unless I need to work outside. My life is rather boring, but bamboo weaving is, after all, a time-consuming job. I am still in an exploratory stage, therefore I need to work really hard.

“The remaining day of the week is a break from work.”

The focus of life is gradually shifting. Finding a whole new realm that you can fully engage in right before you get overwhelmed by negative energy, this is truly a blessed encounter. “The reason for me to enjoy weaving bamboo is pretty abstract. Somehow I can have peace of mind as long as I follow the logic of bamboo working.”

他最近製作了一個麻葉編小皿材料包,想讓任何人也能在家自己做,將68個步驟畫成了圖解說明。「我想像它是個教學,最重的點是傳遞。竹編給人印象很複雜,所以試做過很多版本,過程很痛苦啊,因為我希望不同年紀和語言的人都能看懂。所以在視覺上考慮很久,內容文字和圖解顏色要仔細想。如果看到大家能跟著教學自己完成,我就滿足了。」

把知道的分給大家,並享受其中樂趣,他聊到了擁有。「八十年代社會資源不完善,加上工業和經濟起飛。大家都會把生活中欠缺或追求的,透過消費來完滿,但我們活的時代已經不同了。好的事物、食物和空間都能夠分享。想想,其實很多東西都不需擁有啊,當面對自己的需要,可能會活得比以前更好吧。」也是當消費其實在消磨大自然?「當想到我這樣做會傷害另一方,就會開始懂得剛剛好的生活了。」

Angus recently launched some bamboo craft kits with 68 step-by-step illustrations for his customers to experience bamboo weaving at home. “This is a learning process. The most important thing is to pass on knowledge. Many would see bamboo weaving a complex task. I have tried many different weaving methods. The trial process was not easy at all. Therefore I would like to create something that can be easily understandable by people of all ages and nationalities. I spent a lot of time considering the best visual presentation, and to best pair up text explanations with different colors used in my illustrations. I would be totally delighted if people can make their own bamboo accessory using my kit.”

Knowledge sharing is an enjoyable process, so how does Angus see the idea of possession? “The society was not that abundant in resources in the 80s. Along with industrial and economical developments, many people began to see consumption as the solution to the lack they see in life. They tended to consume what they desire. Our generation is different. We have the capacity to share with others some good things, food, and space. If you think of it, you don’t need to possess much. Life can be more satisfying if we could be more genuine about what we need,” it is true that many of our consumptions are leading to over-exploitation of nature, “Coming to think of how my action can bring harm to other parties, I began to learn to live a balanced and sustainable lifestyle.”