ART, ARTISTS, HONG KONG
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A Chat with the Creators Behind “MoonshineFolks” Hong Kong, an Art Project Involving Beautiful Floral Arrangements and People

Carefully arranged pictures of pretty flowers on Instagram have become blooming works of art since a few years. Come winter and indoor hobbies like flower arrangements serve as an inspiration to the millions of us trying to create beauty for our own Hygge-inspired lives.

A minimalistic Gerbera arrangement melds into a portrait of a woman ready for a Bohemian winter with an Icelandic wool knitted headband. Tiny Callistemon fruit branches and long stems of Chinese Ixora used innovatively as installation art on a terrace garden. A Van Gogh inspired Vincent Blue Bouquet. A lone Gerbera lights up a meal at home shared with friends and family. These are just a few of the stunning floral art captured by the florist cum artists behind “Moonshinefolk”

We chat with the creative duo behind “Moonshinefolk”- Manki Lai and Helen Cheung from Hong Kong.

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The creative duo behind ‘Moonshinefolk’- Helen (left) and Manki (right) | Photo courtesy: @helenps

Manki (left) and Helen | Photo courtesy @moonshinefolk

“Our common interest in flowers brought us together,” says Manki. Helen is a copywriter who was learning flower arrangement at the time Moonshine was conceived. Manki is a graphic designer who loves photography and wants to try styling as a career. “We believe it’s important to find something one loves to do instead of complaining about long hours spent at work and feeling that mundane activities eat into most of our lives.”

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Handmade bouquet| ‘July.2017 Typhoon No. 3’ by @moonshinefolk

Handmade bouquet | ‘Coral reef’ by @moonshinefolk

Orange roses and pine cones wreath by @moonshinefolk

The quirky duo has an even quirkier story to narrate when asked about the day of Moonshinefolk’s conception. Manki sets the scene, “It began on a typhoon day. We were walking around the streets of Hong Kong looking for a place for shelter. Spontaneously, we found a corner in Wan Chai that looked like a great backdrop. We are the photographers and also the models. An hour or two spent, we had some goods shots with an extra edge thanks to the effect of double exposure. The pictures were so good, so we decided to share on Instagram to record our work.” And like a great band once taught us, we all get by with a little help from our friends. “Good feedback came pouring in from friends and family. We meet again. And just like that, while sipping on a glass of iced milk tea in Cha Chaan Teng, we come up with the idea of ‘Moonshinefolk’.” Moonshine is derived from the name of yellow flowers (Moonshine Yarrow, also called Achillea Moonshine) the duo used to create their first bouquet.

“I’ll say we love to “experiment” with the aesthetic relationship between people and floral design. We get inspired by our daily lives every time we set a theme to our work.”  

For example, one of our ideas sparked after we were done watching Chef’s Table on Netflix. On one of our works, we interpret flowers as food ingredients in terms of their shape. So let’s say, Baby’s Breath aka Gypsophila flowers actually look like cauliflower and rose petals look like slices of beetroot!”

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Inspired ny ‘Chef’s Table’, flower design using Rose petals, Lysinachia Sikokian and Baby’s breath | Photo by @moonshinefolk

‘Dear Vincent’ Floral design/arrangement by @moonshinefolk

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‘Euphorbia marginata’ also called Snow-on-the-mountain | Photo by @moonshinefolk

The pair plan to go beyond the realms of flower arrangement moving forward.

“We won’t limit ourselves to do only bouquets so we also try to make the flowers wearable like accessories! We create a ring of Garden Roses and Calla Lily to become a necklace, a belt, a head wreath and even ruffles for the sleeveless dress. Our next theme to be achieved will be ‘nude’!”

The founders of Moonshinefolk are a great example of the fact that one doesn’t have to come from a place of expertise to start working on your ideas. By not being afraid to learn and experiment, Moonshinefolk’s creators make it fun and sustainable. “We love what we do. On an average shoot day, we just dress up and Google and learn the names of the flowers.

We also connect with our friends and try to create beautiful images of them with flowers. There are many ways to appreciate our lives and the beauty of nature. Building a community of plant lovers and conveying a positive message are our goals,” they add. Manki leaves us with an inspiring quote from Vincent Van Gogh that forever remains Moonshinefolk’s art inspiration, “The way to know life is to love many things.

Exploring ‘Ikebana’-the Japanese art of flower arrangement. The overall line and form of plants used emphasize minimalism and asymmetry. It’s a sacred relationship between man and nature.

Floral design/arrangement by @moonshinefolk

For more on the creative duo’s artistic floral feed and photography, follow them on their Instagram!

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‘Handmade bouquet | Flowers night out’ by @moonshinfolk

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