Crossroads of haircuts and bamboo crafts

Tianfu Barber Shop in Wangjiang Subdistrict has enjoyed steady business over the years thanks to the skillful haircutting techniques of 57-year-old Lou Xiaozhong and his wife, Zhou Fengdi.

For more than 35 years, residents of the neighborhood have had their hair cut by the couple.

This small barbershop has been giving haircuts to many grandchildren of former clients lately, in part because of the bamboo handicrafts that Lou has made.

Besides cutting hair, Lou has been obsessed with crafting bamboo for years.

In her hair salon, designed handicrafts are on display, including a bamboo pavilion, a dragonfly and a shelling machine, which have caught the public’s attention.

“At first, I couldn’t understand why he was spending so much time on what I thought were unnecessary knick-knacks. The barber shop was so busy that I needed his help,” Zhou said.

“Later, I found that his skills had greatly improved and the handicrafts attracted more customers. So I understood.”

Ti Gong

Some of Lou Xiaozhong’s bamboo handicrafts are displayed in the hair salon to attract customers.

Lush bamboo forests cover their hometown in eastern Zhejiang province and provide locals with raw material for handicrafts. Bamboo-woven trinkets, daily necessities, and utensils that display sophisticated knitting techniques and simple designs can be found throughout their village, where most residents are skilled in the art of bamboo.

Lou taught himself how to work with bamboo. At first, his works were rough with rough surfaces and lines. Later, he bought polishing machines and sculpting tools to help him create smooth lines.

“Perseverance leads to success,” Lou said. “Cutting hair and making crafts are my biggest interests. Sometimes I give away my crafts to customers for free to keep them happy.”

The residential community where the hair salon is located is home to many senior citizens, which is why Lou has been periodically offering free haircuts for over 10 years.

“He is the best craftsman among barbers and the best barber among craftsmen,” said customer Chen Dabo.