Stories & Thoughts

  • 純粹 show off

    純粹 show off

    最近不約而同的有客人來到我的工作室指着我的作品說︰這個,好易啫,妳「蹺」吓「蹺」吓之嘛,我都可以學啦。呢個,呢個都係「蹺」吓「蹺」吓啫。咁我幾時跟妳上堂?

    這令我哭笑不得。

    這些用銅線「蹺」吓「蹺」吓的作品,技術上說難不難,說易也不易。銅線一但給用力過渡扭斷了,又得重新來過。掌握好技術後,便要學會設計,這過程是最難做得好。如果設計是一個課堂便可以學會的東西,世上豈只這麼少設計師?

    就等如,人人都會寫字,為甚麼有些人可以把字變成藝術品,而有些,又可以寫出令人動容的作品。當中的心思,創作的意念,是一般人忽略了,而又最重要的原素。 

    有一次學生跟我上課時我對他說,這類頭飾我一直不太願意教,是因為我設計的時候沒有原稿,沒有筆記,沒有既定程序,也沒有甚麼邏輯。現在我要閉目重新回顧我是由哪一部份開始做的。這便是教學最困難的地方。教懂繞圈的技術不難。讓你學會整個設計的過程和美學的重要,便是使我卻步的因由。 

    我也有很多心得,但不可能一時三刻的教會你。你願意花時間花金錢跟我學嗎?但大部分人都不會願意。原因是,有甚麼不可以一次過學會呢? 

    我常常歸咎於 time lapse 教學影片的氾濫,讓大部分人都覺得做甚麼都很容易。不消三兩下功夫所有東西都能夠成事。但事前的設計過程,準備功夫,失敗次數呢?我們都看不見。 

    台上一分鐘,台下十年功啊,朋友。 

    數月前我的中學老師來買我的作品,我說我很高興您支持我,但我總不能持熟賣熟不明不白的讓您求其買樣東西回去。我着她給我一分鐘介紹一下我這個作品。 

    「這個水晶頭飾,我的靈感是來自漫天飛雪。整個設計,我只是用了一股銅線而已。」 

    老師似明非明的。啊,一股銅線,有需要的嗎? 

    我答,沒有啊。我是純粹 show off 我的技術吧了。

    哈哈哈哈哈。 

    每一個頭飾的做法都不盡相同。可以用一股銅線做的,我都會堅持只用一股。是 show off 也好,是需要也好,都已經成為了我的簽名式。既然是我的簽名,我也沒有教授的必要吧,是嗎。更何況,尊師重道的簡單道理第一天同學都不明白,將來,也應該不明白。

    靈感來自漫天飛雪的施華洛世奇水晶頭飾

    第一次做這個頭飾時,用了三股銅線才能完成。失望。第二次只用了一股,成功了。大喜。

     

  • History of Perfume

    History of Perfume

    We say, hear and use the word "perfume" (or parfum in French) a lot. What does it actually mean, have you wondered? I was looking up for some information on the Internet and found some interesting things to share with you all.

    The word has its Latin origin meaning to smoke through "per fumus". This could have meant the boiling/distilling of ingredients during the preparation process which gives out fragrant smoke or the smoke that comes from the burning incenses. 

    Perfume existed a long time ago and it is believed the Mesopotamians and the Egyptians were the first peoples to be using it and the art of perfumery was further refined by the ancient Greeks and Romans. There were also documents showing that Asian people used perfumes too but the perfume was mainly incense based. 

    Throughout history, different perfumers developed different distinctive scents and fragrances and I have discovered some interesting stories during my online research.

    Fun facts about perfume:

    Possible earliest depiction of perfume making

    This fragment of an Egyptian tomb plaque showed how lily perfume was made. As I do not read Egyptian hieroglyph, I wonder what would be the meaning of the "snake with bunny ears" on top of the big perfume jar...And if it could mean one of the ingredients too...

    Who was the first chemist to create perfume?

    Tapputi, a female chemist, was the world's first recorded chemist who made perfumes at the Royal Palace in Babylonian Mesopotamia, some 4,000 years ago. According to Wikipedia, she used "flowers, oil, and calamus along with cyperus, myrrh and balsam." How did she make it? She would add water or other solvents to the floral ingredients, distilled and filtered a few times to make her perfume. 

    Where is the capital of perfume?

    Grasse, in France, is considered the world's capital of perfume.

    What happened when you name your perfume Champagne or Opium?

    The French fashion house, Yves Saint Laurent (YSL), made and sold a new perfume named Champagne in 1993. The controversial name sparked a bitter legal battle between YSL and the alcoholic drink makers in the real Champagne region, citing that no other products than the real bubbly drink should be named Champagne and YSL was ordered by the French court to change its product's name if it was to be sold in France and other EU countries.

    This was not the first time the fashion house collided with the public when issuing their fragrance. Back in 1977 when the fashion mega name introduced their new scent Opium, the public was concerned about its relation to the addictive drug. The Chinese community in the United States especially, strongly opposed the use of such name as they saw the ill-chosen word a painful reminder especially to the Chinese communities how this drug had destroyed so many lives in China just a century before.

    Who were the world's well known biggest fans of perfume?

    You must have heard, in one way or other, the legend of Napoleon suffering from bad stomach problem and to cover the odor of the gas he passed? He splashed himself with Eau de Cologne. It was also said that his wife, Josephine, introduced him to bathing and the using of perfumes. The new habit had proven to be addictive as court papers showed that Napoleon had as many as 50 bottles of Eau de Cologne to be sent to him each month. You can find more interesting story about Napoleon and Josephine here.

                                       

    Napoleon and Josephine had a penchant for perfumes and colognes
    Napoleon and Josephine, painting by Harold H. Piffard (1863 - 1938)

    The first Eau de Cologne

    The first Eau de Cologne was created by Giovanni Marie Farnia, an Italian perfumer, in 1709, who named the scent after his new hometown Cologne in Germany.

                                                       

    The original Farnia Eau de Cologne in its modern day packaging

    The most famous Eau de Cologne 

    It has to be the 4711 Eau de Cologne created by the German perfumer Wilhelm Mülhens in the 18th century. The cologne was named after its location at Glockengasse No. 4711. 

                                                             

    The most famous perfume

    It has to be Joy, released by Jean Patou in 1929. It has been voted "Scent of the Century". The famous black glass bottle was designed by Jean Patou and was used since 1930. He was inspired by the Chinese snuff bottle on the left.

    Using an everyday ingredient as perfume? 

    Why not? Some housewives did use vanilla oil as perfume back in the old days. Who says you need expensive labels when you can use this everyday cooking ingredient!

    The most iconic bottle

    When fashion brands spent so much money to make the most beautiful ever bottle for their perfume, Chanel decided to introduce its signature scent No. 5 in a simple glass bottle which mimics a laboratory jar. 

    Since its introduction, this perfume was made even more famous after Andy Warhol silk-screened this image on his artwork, aptly named Chanel

                                                          

    This screenprinted artwork by Andy Warhol was sold in 2007 at US$145,000 by Christie's

    Image from Christie's website

    Using of atomiser nozzle in perfume bottles

    The first atomiser nozzle was invented by an American doctor Allen DeVilbiss, an ear, nose and throat specialist from Ohio, who used it to spray medicine on the back of his patients' throats in 1887.  The easy and great use of this invention caught other physicians' attention that Dr. DeVilbiss opened a factory to manufacture atomisers in 1890.

    The device since then, has been applied to many other usages and perfume is one of them, thanks to Thomas DeVilbiss, the son of Dr. DeVilbiss, who joined the company in 1905 and started manufacturing perfume atomizers.

     

                                              

    A vintage 1940s - 1950s Furry Friends Perfume and Atomiser Set available from our webshop

    The earliest perfume bottles

    Earliest perfume bottles aren't disappointing at all. The craftsmanship on them show clearly how perfume was treasured even in ancient time. The below bottle was a Greek artifact, one of the earliest perfume bottles unearthed. It is made by terracotta and in the shape of a siren, circa 570 B.C. You can click here to find out more beautifully made perfume bottles around the world.

    CM Dixon/Print Collector/Getty Images

    The below female head perfume bottle was an Etruscan (now central Italy) perfume vase. The inscribed word on its head reads "suthina”, which means “for the tomb” in retrograde Etruscan script. The bottle is made in bronze, and was from the early 2nd century BC.

    Famous quotes on perfume

    Coco Chanel: A woman who doesn't wear perfume has no future.

    Christian Dior: A woman's perfume tells more about her than her handwriting.

    Jean Paul Guerlain: Perfume is the most intense form of memory.

    Marian Bendeth: Fragrance speaks the loudest on a subliminal level. 

  • 「妳在哪裏學師的?」

    她繼續說︰妳一定是在某些地方學的,才可以教人的。

    原來這是一般人的見解。到別處學了,再回來教人。

  • What do you do for a living?

    "There must be! You go there to learn, and come back to teach!"

    Ah, so, that is what most of us think. You must have learnt it elsewhere, and come back to teach.