With all the complicated manufacturing technology and automated processes around us nowadays, it’s nice to take things back to basics every now again and remind ourselves how brilliant good-old-fashioned handiwork can be.
Traditional Chinese crafter Li Ziqi doesn’t need computers or fancy machines to make furniture; all she needs is a ruler, some hammers, chisels, saws, and bamboo to make her own sofa and table.
It’s nothing short of astounding how she makes the whole set from scratch. From cutting bamboo stalks in the forest to preparing them for the crafting process, she does the entire thing by herself.
After prepping the stalks, she carefully measures each one and cuts them accordingly. Connecting two pieces of bamboo is usually done by cutting a hole in one shoot and slotting the other into it. Gravity and the tightly spaced stalks take over from there and provide as good an adhesive as any.
For more critical pieces that keep the construction together, Li Ziqi doesn’t use metal nails… she uses more bamboo. In keeping with the whole bamboo motif, she hammers in pegs of bamboo that she then cuts after they are in their final, arranged place. It won’t be easy to disassemble this particular sofa, but then again we’re not talking about Ikea furniture designed to be transported via subway here.
A technique of Li Ziqi’s that’s particularly interesting is how she makes the material pliable; after heating the bamboo, it easily bends to its master’s wishes and conforms to any shape.
With the backrest and the frame of the sofa complete, she starts to set in stalks to fill in the empty spaces. This involves placing many smaller bamboo stalks within the framework of the sofa and squeezing them in tightly together.
She does the same process (albeit on a slightly smaller scale) for making the table: slot in giant bamboo stalks, fill the spaces in between with smaller ones.
Li ZiQi’s YouTube channel has a ton more videos of her making traditional Chinese designs so be sure to check it out!