There's something incredible about watching a process from start to finish. The transformation from log to finished set of bowls is something already fun to see, but watching a Chinese craftsman do it on a foot powered lathe is something else completely. In a small Chinese village, only a few elderly craftsman know how to create the traditional Shawo bowl set. They make them as a nesting set, saving about 1/3 of the wood, but this takes a finely tuned skillset. This tradition is slowly dying out, but the video below shows an apprentice learning the craft, and it's really something amazing to see. I'm amazed at the simplicity of the set-up, the tools, and the results. It really underscores the concept that we don't need the very latest technology to make something beautiful and useful.
While the craft is on the brink of extinction, there is still a hope that the young generation will continue the tradition, and with support from International Wood Culture Society and AAW they have additional help to pass it on.
Video by: Wood Culture: woodculturetour.org