Phase 1: Posing Real Questions
In Phase 0 I have narrowed down a list of possible topics and I have chosen my final inquiry topic - bamboo weaving. Now in Phase 1, I will be researching background information about my topic and I will be asking important questions that I will answer in Xizhou.
What do I already know (or think I know) about this topic?
As of now, I do not know much about Bamboo Weaving or Textile production, but I hope to gain more knowledge of this topic as I continue to research my topic. So far, I know that bamboo weaving is used to make baskets, and by using different colors of bamboo and different techniques the weaver can make many different baskets. I also know that in order to make a successful bamboo woven basket, first a strong base made out of thick bamboo strands must be made, then thin pieces of bamboo are woven to make the sides, and finally the top is finished by using a wide thin strand of bamboo.
Where did I learn these things?
I learned mostly by looking at Microcampus Alumni's final inquiry projects. I mostly looked at Maya K, Vanessa P, and Ryley S's inquiry projects. All three of them had the topic of bamboo weaving as their inquiry project. I also knew some of this information from working on Phase 0 because when I first was narrowing down my list of possible topics, I did a quick search about each of them.
What do I want to know about this topic?
There is a lot that I would like to learn about bamboo weaving. First of all, I would like to learn some background information and history about bamboo weaving in Xizhou. I want to learn about how the process of bamboo weaving has changed over time, or if it has stayed mostly the same. I would also like to know what the baskets are mostly used for. I want to learn about the different techniques used when bamboo weaving, and maybe focus in on one technique or style to learn about. In addition, I would like to find out what makes bamboo weaving in Xizhou different from different places in China.
My next task is to come up wih 10 big questions but before I ask my questions, I will be doing some background research about bamboo weaving which can be found in Phase 3. This research will help me gain a better understanding of my topic.
Below are my 10 questions that I have come up with after researching more about my topic. These questions will help guide my inquiry project work once I get to Xizhou. I have split my questions up into three categories: bamboo/ process of bamboo weaving, economics/ business, and additional questions. I have written possible answers in italics below the questions.
Bamboo/ Process of Bamboo Weaving:
1) Where do bamboo weavers get their bamboo?
Some bamboo weavers grow their own bamboo and others go farther up to the mountains to get bamboo from other people that grow it.
2) Are there different types of bamboo? What types are the best for weaving?
There are over 400 species of bamboo grown in China. Bamboo grown in the mountains for four to six years is best for weaving because it has the good amount softness and flexibility, and it cannot be broken easily.
3) What is the best technique for bamboo weaving?
Three-dimensional bamboo weaving is most popular because it serves many purposes.
4) What is the most important part of the bamboo weaving process?
For a basket, the base is the most important because it has to be strong enough to hold everything that is inside the basket.
5) Have there been changes in the popularity of bamboo woven items?
The popularity has gone down because more people are using plastic and metal products.
6) How much does bamboo weaving contribute to the economic growth of Xizhou?
Bamboo weaving does not have a major contribution to economic growth in Xizhou.
7) How do bamboo weavers make a profit on their products?
Many bamboo weavers sell their products at the market.
8) Is bamboo weaving a traditional craft of Xizhou, or was it brought into Xizhou? When/how/why was it introduced into Xizhou?
Bamboo weaving is a traditional craft of China and was brought in to Xizhou
9) What are the uses of bamboo woven items? What are the most popular items?
There are many uses of bamboo woven items, some uses include doors, baskets, trays, boxes, hats, and more. The most popular is a basket because it has many uses.
10) Is bamboo weaving a dying art? Are younger generations interested in learning about bamboo weaving?
Bamboo weaving is passed on through generation, the elders teach the younger children.
Before I leave for Microcampus, I still need to learn a lot more about bamboo weaving specifically in Xizhou. I would like to learn more about the effects of bamboo weaving on Xizhou, and how it contributes to the economic growth of Xizhou. I also want to learn more about the history of bamboo weaving specifically in Xizhou. I would also like to learn where people bamboo weave in Xizhou, and who does the weaving.