Innovative Chinese Youth Carpentry Attracts Millions Online
by Xinhua Wu Si writers Liu Zhiqiang
GUIYANG, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) – Different from traditional carpenters, An Xu has innovated in exquisite wooden crafts such as high heels and bracelets, which have won him nearly 9 million followers online in only two years.
Wearing a white linen shirt and black sweatpants, An, 26, built a wooden tower in front of her camera at a wooden house in Longshan Village, Fenggang County, Guizhou Province. (southwest China).
Since childhood, An has had a passion for painting, which he believes laid the foundation for his career. “In elementary school, my male classmates often asked me to paint dragons on them and even gave me money for each painting,” he recalls.
An’s parents, however, do not share the same enthusiasm for her passion for painting. “The walls of our house and the empty spaces in the textbooks were covered with his paintings,” said Yang Zhengju, An’s mother.
After dropping out of high school in 2011, An moved to the coastal provinces of Guangdong and Zhejiang and tried several jobs in garages, car washes, and milk tea shops, but felt that none of them ‘between them did not suit him.
Her parents hoped An would find a stable job. In 2019, Yang advised An to learn furniture-making from a skilled carpenter in their hometown.
To her parents’ surprise, An dove straight into the new ship. It only took him about three months to master the techniques. Today, An and carpentry go hand in hand.
An said her earliest memory of carpentry came from her late grandfather who built the wooden house where their family now lives.
“When I was a child, my father made a living as a carpenter and was always invited by local villagers to design furniture,” recalls An Jiaxiao, An’s father, 51.
In the past, carpenters were busy. Local villagers got used to living in wooden houses. Before each wedding ceremony, they would invite the carpenters to prepare new wardrobes and chairs to welcome new family members.
However, since the beginning of the 21st century, more and more people prefer brick and mortar houses and ready-made furniture to contract carpenters. The changes have reduced the need for skilled carpenters and fewer young people are ready to learn the old trade.
Over the past two years, An Xu has continued to learn new skills using books and websites. Faced with difficult joint structures, he searches for instructional videos on popular video sharing platforms and practices the technique over and over again.
An is now obsessed with the world of carpentry. He spends hours at home making furniture and gadgets, recording the process, and posting the videos online.
“At the very beginning, I was just uploading videos to social media platforms to see if I could make any money if they went viral,” An said. “But now I care more about the legacy. traditional craftsmanship. “
Last year An made an ink marker, but few knew what it was. An explained that Lu Ban, a legendary Chinese carpenter who lived about 2,500 years ago, invented the article.
He then began to design other works related to traditional Chinese culture. At present, he is making an eight-layered model of the Wenfeng Tower, a landmark with hundreds of years of history in the county.
Influenced by An’s enthusiasm, more and more people began to take an interest in ancient crafts and the culture of the past. In May, a local vocational secondary school invited the young carpenter to lecture once a week.
An has designed over 100 works over the past two years. To support her work, An’s parents, who once worked in the county, quit and have become frequent guests in An’s videos.
“My most viewed video online featured the bracelet I made for my mom. My mom rarely bought herself any ornaments, so I wanted to make one myself,” An said, adding that he hopes viewers will treasure him better. their family after watching the video.
Today, the young man has made more than 400,000 yuan (about US $ 61,920) in profit from his videos, covering advertising revenue and sales of wooden crafts.
“While doing my favorite woodwork, I bring money and company to my family, which I think is the best way of life,” An said.