We often find beauty in everyday items – in objects of our daily lives. I find beauty in scissors – where function and form meet. Most households have a pair of scissors and often many many more than one. Look through the drawers of your Gramdma’s cupboards and you’re sure to find a pair of scissors which, should they be able to talk, could sure tell a tale.
I do have a fledgling scissor collection. I say fledgling because if you take out the 100 pairs I use for gift wrapping classes, I don’t have nearly as many as I thought I had. As she usually does, My sister asked me what I wanted for Christmas. This year, my reply was unusually clear and focused – if you are so lovely as to want to buy me a gift, please buy me scissors! Functional scissors, decorative scissors, manicure scissors, funky embroidery scissors, pinking shears, left handed scissors (which makes sense because I very very left handed) ..even cigar cutters. Probably don’t need surgical scissors, nor agricultural scissors nor secateurs nor averruncators (though I seriously do like this term for garden shears for snipping high branches).
Perhaps I should include the Zhang Xiao Quan Scissors Museum in my next Asian jaunt.The exhibit is said to contain over 1,500 scissors from all over the world, as well as scissor-making tools, art made from scissors and calligraphy.
Scissors, scissors, scissors…It falls to Wikipedia, to give us the rundown on whether the word scissors is actually singular or plural.
The noun scissors is treated as a plural noun, and therefore takes a plural verb (e.g., these scissors are). Alternatively, it is also referred to as a pair of scissors. In American English, a pair is singular and therefore takes a singular verb (e.g., this pair of scissors is). In other forms of English, a pair does not take the singular (so simply these scissors are). The word shears is used to describe similar instruments that are larger in size and for heavier cutting. Opinions vary geographically as to the size at which scissors become shears, but this is often at between six and eight inches (about 15 to 20 cm) in length.
And, says the very same Wikipedia article, some scissors have an appendage – you read that correctly – an appendage. It’s called a “finger brace or finger tang, below the index finger hole for the middle finger to rest on to provide for better control and more power in precision cutting. A finger tang can be found on many quality scissors (including inexpensive ones) and especially on scissors for cutting hair.”
I loved reading about the history of scissors because there is usually a visually rich visual element to the material. What about the History of Pinking shears by Design Threads
Or this from Scissors by Denham.
Or hard to top this blog from MerGirl where she shares the history of her Wiss Scissors. Simply fabulous.
But most of all I like handling scissors – and that’s how I came to create my Christmas wreath made from my plural little friends. This construction gave me an excuse to buy 12 pairs of scissors at Ikea – a feeling of great joy. It also gave me an opportunity to play with making a circle – which gives a feeling of great geometric joy. And it also gave me an opportunity to make a wreath – which gives a feeling of great festive joy. You can do almost anything with them – that’s the beauty of scissors.