Retaining traditional fine craftsmanship: Shanghai’s gossip girl Zhou Wei’s old artifact pursuit tour

Master Chen is 71 years old, a blacksmith, and Xinchang Town, Pudong New Area.

Zhou Wei and our café in Nanjing East Road, the most popular neighborhood in Shanghai, are filled with a Chinese gossip and she is full of love. The inner heart is full of old souls full of love for traditional groceries. After leaving the company in 2011, which was upside down and full of fast fashion, Zhou Wei decided to listen to her own voice, leave the air-conditioned room, walk out of the high-rise jungle in the city, and start her field trip to find traditional hand-made objects.


Zhou Wei.

Unlike the e-commerce or brand of the new generation, you can find the traces by easily entering keywords on the Internet. Traditional handicraft workshops or old grocery stores are only in the most simple way to be embedded in life and real lanes, want to find them. The only way is to walk to the door of the shop in person. "You must not drive because you have missed a few alleys in the village." Zhou Xiao smiled and shared the experience accumulated over the years. "The best way. It is to take a long-distance bus, and each station gets off the train and drills into the lane to find a circle." At the same time of the visit, Zhou Hao also bought it, often ending the day, and also carrying a small basket carrying a bamboo basket, straw hat and earthen bag. Waiting for someone else's seemingly inconspicuous, but satisfying loot to return home.



Although only the Greater Shanghai area is used as a field, the difference between the generations and the dialects of the villages often makes Zhou Yi impressed. "There was a time when the Fengxian District near the seaside encountered an entire family of aunts who were weaving. They were big. Sitting in the living room in a circle, chatting and weaving, although they are all Shanghainese, but the local voices they chatt with are too heavy for me to understand, but also have to send their sons to translate (laugh)." But the most What Zhou Wei was surprised at was not the difference in language, but the everyday clothes that the aunts wore and they felt ordinary. "I just saw that the aunts only had a kind of simple intimacy. When I looked closely, I found out that They are not wearing the clothes that are usually sold on the market, but the clothes made of their own hand-woven fabrics! It is so memorable."


I grew up in the Shikumen alley, and I didn’t move until I was 18 years old. Zhou’s growing memories are full of tastes of the Shanghai style. In the alley of Shanghai, there is usually a grocery store selling everything, hand-made utensils, small snacks, candied fruit, etc., even when the home phone is not popular, there is a public phone, and there is a call to find someone. The grocery store owner will open his throat and shout out who will pick up the phone, so who lives in what industry, the neighbors are familiar with each other.



"Everyone knows that Shanghai people used to wear pajamas to go out. In fact, because there is no difference in privacy/public space between the old people, the old Shanghai people feel that even if they go to the grocery store, they feel that it is still my home." I said with emotion, "I have visited a grocery store in other places. After chatting, I found that a master who supplies a bamboo basket lives next door to my house, and I don’t even know it. If it was in the previous hall. It is absolutely impossible to happen." Four years ago, Zhou Yi gathered the hand-made masters and groceries visited by the field to form the book "Shanghai Grocery Shop", and continued to write the column of the same name for the "Xinmin Evening News".


At the time, the hand-picked people were the youngest in their 50s, and the oldest was over 90 years old. In the past few years, Zhou Wei still visited them from time to time, but nearly 1/2 of the more than 20 grocery shops or master craftsmen. Has been closed for retirement. Zhou Wei said with a shallow smile, "What I can do is to use records to leave what they once existed. I hope that even if they gradually disappear into their daily lives, don't disappear too quickly in the memory of our generation. in."


"This hand-crafted use is smart." Master Chen, 71, whitesmith
Master Chen is 71 years old, a blacksmith, and Xinchang Town, Pudong New Area.

When I was 17 years old, I started to learn to knock on lead (white iron), and I followed the teacher in the factory. I usually practiced when I got off work. Later, when I was laid off, I started to pick up my own work. It has been more than 50 years now! It takes 8 hours a day now. It’s not very hard to do this. It’s hard to beat and beat, so it’s not a physical activity, but I’ve just been learning that the hand has been bleeding and the adhesive plaster is full. The sizes that are often done are already in my mind. Others are more complicated. If people have requirements, I will draw them and ask if they want this thing. There are 6 sizes like watering buckets, which can be customized according to different needs. If the hole on the head is a little smaller, the water will be poured a little farther, and if it is a little bigger, it can be poured close, and each person's request is different.


Master Chen hand-made watering kettle.
Master Chen's handmade egg dumplings.

I have brought three apprentices, but I have not done it now. I think this is making money slowly. The spoon used for making radish cakes and oil blocks in the store sells best, 5 yuan a day. If you have a day, you can do 50, look at the mood. On the holidays, like the Peach Blossom Festival, there are many people, and there are many foreigners. I have already made a name for myself. The business is very good. The new field is my family. Every day someone orders something with me and earns some money. Kung Fu money, eating and drinking is no problem.


"Only you can sell your own, you can call it a workshop"|Yang Shifu is 70 years old and is a craftsman.
Master Yang is 70 years old and works as a craftsman in Qibao Town, Minhang District.

This is what we call "the round", which is dedicated to round things. There is also a kind of "Fang Zuo", which is made of chairs and furniture. I studied art with the master at the age of 16 and have been working for 50 years now. I have to learn at that age, at least for 6 years. To be good quality, do a good day. According to the old law, the wooden strips should be worn with bamboo nails. However, most of the time it is glued together, it is convenient. I usually use fir, the texture is soft, and the other wood is too hard to make it by hand. Generally, the wood with less trees is picked up, so that it looks good and it is not easy to leak. The wood that has been bought should be dried for more than a month. If half of the weather is not good, it will be taken out and dried out when the weather is good.


The barrel making process.

I am a workshop. I can only call the workshop if I sell it myself. In the past, many things used wooden barrels, rice bowls for rice, pot lids, and wood. Nowadays, there are many people who buy footbaths in winter. Everyone likes to buy a little higher in the cold weather. They like to be short in the heat of the day, usually used to wash their feet. The new tub is taken back to put some cold water to soak it. After absorbing the water, the wood will expand, so that the density will be high and no water will leak.


"In the past, there was not only one basket per household." | Master Zhu is 65 years old, and he is a hand-made artist.
Master Zhu is 65 years old, a bamboo hand-made person, a round craftsman, Zhujiajiao Town, Qingpu District.

When I was studying the basket, I looked at the master and edited it with the master. After three afternoons, even if I was a teacher, I couldn’t do it at the beginning, and slowly explored it myself. When it was time to sell the baskets, everyone put them together, and then they could see each other's baskets, and then they would ask for different compilations from others. Everyone had the same thing, but the compilation was different. In the past, most of the baskets were bought by local people. Every household had to use it. Every household had more than one basket. It was done on the same day. It was sold out on the same day and could maintain a basic life.



There are fewer people buying now, so it depends on pensions. In the past, some local people in our country had a tradition of getting married, that is, to put cigarettes, a fish, a chicken in the basket, fill two baskets, and lay a layer of red paper on the outside, so that you can go to kiss. There is also a basket for rice to be used now, that is, the cooked rice is stored directly in the basket, and the lid is just covered. This weather (November) will not be bad if the refrigerator is not placed. Nowadays tourists buy more, they feel very strange, buy a go back to hang up the home decoration is also pretty good, nostalgic.


After the gossip, Shanghai girl Zhou Wei


Zhou Wei, born in Shanghai in 1986, is a designer, photographer and illustrator. He is currently a member of Shanghai Landscape Studio. Focus on the creation of publications and related exhibitions related to Shanghai's urban culture, including "Shanghai Grocery Shop" and "Xinmin Evening News" Luminous Cup "Shanghai grocery storeColumnist.


Text / Fang Xujie.
Photo, Illustrator / Zhou Wei.
[This article is Polysh x La Vie activistCooperation article]


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