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Videos for Craftsteaders #4 Grandpa Amu

Grandpa Amu
Grandpa Amu

Grandpa Amu’s YouTube channel has 1.42 million subscribers at the time I’m writing this post. No wonder it’s so popular, because Grandpa Amu is a genius at making things, and what’s more, he makes them with old-fashioned hand tools. His skill and patience are extraordinary. He’s a master carpenter. Most of his videos are about handicrafts and delicious food. His channel is informative and inspiring, and it’s relaxing to watch him work.

Cheryl Heng reported in the South China Morning Post on 29 Sep, 2020:
“Grandpa’s an internet star: Chinese carpenter’s traditional woodworking skills wow millions online, but he says ‘I’m just an ordinary farmer’.
“Wang Dewen, known on the internet as Grandpa Amu, creates works of art without glue, screws or nails – all filmed by his son who uploads the process online
“Wang’s viral fame has brought improvements to his home village, and the local government has built a ‘Grandpa Amu’ attraction to bring in tourists.
“His woodworking videos – showing him building everything from furniture to bridges and lanterns using traditional methods – have become on online sensation, earning him more than 2.8 million fans on the Chinese short video app Xigua Video. His fame has translated internationally too, garnering over 1.2 million subscribers on YouTube.”

Location: CHINA

Here are some examples of his videos. First, “Grandpa Amu uses bamboo roots to make tea cans, small bamboo baskets, pen holders and bamboo horns”.

And here’s an example of Grandpa Amu’s woodworking skills: “The principle of Luban lock to create tables and stools, detachable assembly, easy to carry.”

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Videos for Craftsteaders #3 Liziqi


Liziqi’s YouTube channel is a joy to watch. It depicts a lifestyle of sustainability and self-sufficiency, wrapped in a stunningly picturesque environment. Liziqi makes things from scratch, and I mean, really from scratch. You can watch her plant some seeds, see the plants grow and the fruits (or seeds or leaves or roots) ripen, watch her harvest them and carry them home through heavenly landscapes in beautiful handwoven bamboo baskets, then see her wash, chop and cook them into a gourmet meal, or use them in other ways.

Liziqi makes her own furniture, wades in vast ponds to harvest giant lotuses, grinds her own grain, brews her own beverages and more. And barely a word is spoken, which is very relaxing. You’ll enjoy the sounds of nature – birds, falling water etc.

Location: CHINA

Here’s a sample from the numerous videos on her channel. It’s called “The Life of Cotton”. Scroll down and you’ll find the bamboo furniture one, too. Make yourself a cup of your favorite brew, sit back, put your feet up, click “play” and enjoy!

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Traditional bamboo weaving

Bamboo weaving is an art. Most people agree that bamboo is one of the world’s most useful plants, because you can build with it, weave with it, make paper, furniture, musical instruments, baskets, tableware, scaffolding, clothes and accessories with it, burn it as fuel and even eat it.

bamboo weaving
Bamboo forest

To weave bamboo, you first have to split it into thin strips. Watch a video (scroll down) called “Bamboo splitting and making strips for weaving” by a YouTube channel called JUNKAN WORKS.

Bamboo makes beautiful strong baskets and woven furniture but it needs a lot more pre-weaving preparation than willow. After you harvest and cure the bamboo poles, you have to slice up the inflexible stems into ever thinner strips that are bendy enough to be woven. In countries where bamboo is native, especially in Asia, craftspeople have perfected tools and techniques to make this process easier and quicker.

Splitting bamboo for weaving

Watch a skilled weaver make a bamboo tray. These trays are useful for draining, drying, storage and carrying.

Traditional bamboo weaving

If you live in the right climate and have a garden, you can grow your own bamboo.

About bamboo

Bamboo comes from all over the world except Europe. It’s native to South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia. And yes, North America also has three native species of bamboos! Australia has 3 or possibly 4 native bamboos, though they only like living in the hot climates up north.

Bamboos are fast-growing members of the Grass family. Their species are native to a wide range of climates from hot tropical through to warm temperate and even cool climates. The plants love water and sunshine. They will grow in most soil types, from heavy clay-based soil to sand. It is important to ‘feed’ the bamboo on-top of the soil with a good thick mulch layer and regular fertilizing. Most bamboos prefer well-drained soil, which means they don’t like growing in swampy areas.

Be careful to choose clumping varieties rather than the rather invasive running varieties. One of the most useful bamboos for weaving is called Gracilis, or Slender Weaver (Bambusa textilis var gracilis). It’s also useful as a screening plant as it grows quickly along narrow spaces to make a living fence, giving you privacy from your neighbors.

At the Craftsteading Store, from time to time we stock handmade woven bamboo items such as trays and sieves and sushi boats. If you don’t see them in stock check back late or write to us.