Phase 2: Finding Helpful Resources

Updated 2 years 4 months ago

Welcome to Phase 2 of my learning journey, where I will be compiling a list of useful resources to gain further insight on my topic. Previously, I chose the topic of Textile Production in Phase 0 and have posted my "BIG" questions that will guide my exploration in Phase 1.

To find the most helpful resources, I used a list of keywords to refine the search results. These keywords included "Textiles in Yunnan", "Textile Art in Xizhou", and "traditional Chinse artwork". I also tried "Batik/Tye-die/bamboo weaving/embroidery in Dali", but these phrases turned out to be too specific to find the information I needed. I used these keywords because they produced results that fit into the general category of Chinese Textile Production while also producing specific information that related to Xizhou's general area of Yunnan. By using these keywords, I found the perfect information as I was researching my inquiry project topic. When I was having a hard time finding information, it was because I searched the word 'textiles, this gave me multiple sources through the information did not relate at all to Chinese traditional culture.

In order to ensure the validity of my research, I used a system of checking my sources. First, I looked to see if the source was well-known and credible. For example, websites with a ".org" at the end of the URL is run by an organization/cooperation. For what I have learned in the past, these websites have a reputation for being trustworthy and well-written. If the source I would come upon was not a well-known source, I would check to see whether or not the author is proficiently informed and credible (for example, blog websites). Usually, the author is stated near the bottom of the page and is not hard at all to find. However, if the author unknown, the passages were either collaborated on or written under them of its company/cooperation/organization. Finally, if the site was not well-known and an author's credentials were not listed, I would also scroll down and search for/try to find a bibliography. A source with a bibliography proves that the information is backed up and can be trusted. By using this system, I ensured that each source had an author or organization that produced the source, and I also ensured that my research is valid. 
 
Another part of the researching process was figuring out who the information was written by. By doing this, I was also checking the validity of the information provided on the website. Many of the websites had an 'About Me' section, so I used that and read a bit about who wrote the information. A few of the websites had a group of people writing the article. In this case, there was also an 'About Me' section, only it was about the specific organization rather than an individual.
 
While researching, I came across an article that talked about the many Chinese traditional textile techniques. I really enjoyed the information provided on the website, and wanted to reach out to the authors of this. This source did not include an author but mentioned the company name belonging to the website, chinatravel.com. Since I only knew the company's name, I decided to reach out to their company email address. That way, not only would my email be taken seriously, but it would also give me a good opportunity for multiple members of the company to reply. Below is the email that I sent to the company of the China Travel agency, where I will be asking questions and inquiring about their personal research skills/expertise. Email Address: service@chinatravel.com
 
Dear China Travel, 
 
My name is Holly, and I am an eighth-grade student studying at Shanghai American School. Along with a group of students, I will be traveling to a village called Xizhou in the Yunnan province to study a topic of choice. I chose the topic of textile production, and I managed to stumble across your websites, specifically the page about Chinese textile techniques. I found your post to be very informative and used it as a source of background research, so I decided to reach out for your response. I would greatly appreciate it if you could offer some feedback and provide some insight on my work so far.
 
You can find my project in this link: http://www.sasmicrocampus.org/projects/blogs/9999/students   
 
Here are the ten questions I am trying to answer as a part of my project:
 
1. How has the local textile industry been affected considering the increase in textile machinery?
2. How are the daily lives of the local artisans affected when having a textile occupation?
3. What does it take to become a local textile artist/manufacturer?
4. Are there any specific textile techniques that relate to the culture in Dali, and if so, how?
5. What is the difference between using natural and chemical based fibers when producing textile artwork within Xizhou?
6. What are the different ways of handling textile quality control?
7. How does Chinese embroidery impact the lives of both the locals and tourists?
8. How does Chinese batik impact the lives of both the locals and tourists?
9. How does Chinese bamboo weaving impact the lives of both the locals and tourists?
10. How does Chinese tie-dyeing impact the lives of both the locals and tourists?
 
I would like to clarify that I am not looking for answers to the questions listed below; instead, I would deeply appreciate it if you could provide feedback on my work and any possible readings that would further deepen my knowledge on migration.
 
Thank you for your time!
 
Best regards,
Holly 
 
As of now, the company has not yet managed to reply to my email, but I hope to hear back from them soon!
 
The next step of the process occurred in Xizhou, where I put my many weeks of preparation into effect. Before I could start gathering information, however, I needed to know which textile artists I could ask for information. Thus, I needed to complete my 3 to 5's, a process intended for Microcampus students to gather possible contacts. A 3 to 5 is a recorded interview with three to five people, for the range of 3 to 5 minutes. The reason for conducting these interviews is to help me find multiple people/places to help me discover the true meaning of my Textile Production Topic.
 
I first chose to interview Mr. Tafel, because he is the one that recommended the textile production topic to me, I thought that it would be good to ask him about the information of the people and places that consists within this overall topic. Then, I interviewed Ms. Mai, because she has a great understanding of the overall culture within Xizhou. I then went to interview Ms.So, because she had been recommended and was said to have lots of knowledge to do with this local community. After that, I decided to interview Mr. Chen because he was also recommended and could help me translate my questions into Chinese ones. Lastly, I chose to interview Ms. Linden, but since she hasn't arrived yet I have decided to save a 3 to 5 slot for her so an interview will be conducted when she returns. She was said to know a lot of the daily lives of the locals with Xizhou, and I truly look forward to getting to know her.
 
Below is a list of the people and places that my 3 to 5's recommended for me to go to/contact to learn more about my traditional textile production topic.
 
Mr. Tafel (provided quick and concise information)
 
- The group of ladies from happy embroidery on Ran Yi Xiang
- The shopkeepers selling tie-dye/batik by the local market
- Shopkeepers selling embroidered shoe within the local market/ Shi Fang Jie
- Mr. Wang’s basket weaving business (a bike ride away) (family business of 3 generations)
-  Zhou Cheng village - the capital of tie-dye production in Dali
-  A young couple with a non-synthetic tye-die shop past just the deathly intersection
- The research/knowledge of the previous Microcampus students relating to textile production
-  Focus of the concept of old and new textiles within Xizhou
 
Ms. Mai
 
- Batik souvenir shops are easy to find with the local village
- Si Ayi - produces handmade embroidery within the local village
- Bamboo Baskets are sold at the local/wet market within Xizhou
- A special basket weaving village to watch the process take place.
- Happy embroidery - provides embroidery lessons for 50rmb an hour
- Zhou Cheng - the capital of tie-dye with many shops/stalls (15-minute bike ride)
- A museum in Zhou Cheng explaining how the tie-dye process changes over time
- A traditional tie-dye shop between Shi Fang Jie and most dangerous for a hands-on experience
- Ms. Li from Happy Embroidery teaches quite advanced lessons on Ran Yi Xiang                               (production process is taken place)
- Many families with generations of tie-dye history in Zhou Cheng (production process is taken place)
- Mr. Wang - weaves handmade bamboo baskets, is continuing the family tradition (lives 15 minutes away) 
- Elderly local families that preserve the traditional-handmade way tie-dye using natural materials       (Zhou Cheng)
 
 
Ms. Song
 
- Zhou Cheng - the location of large tie-dye production factories
- Many traditional bamboo baskets sold daily at the morning market
- Happy embroidery produces handcrafted textiles, gives lessons from 2 pm to 5 pm
- Xiao Bai - a local lady who owns a tie-dye shop near the Linden Center (10-15 minutes away) 
- Elderly ladies selling more handcrafted embroidery in between Si Fang Square and Bao Cheng Fu 
- When interviewing locals, start with small talk, ask them easy questions, and introduce yourself
- Ms, Yang - had 2 tie-dye shops near Si Fang Jie, owns a factory in Xizhou that sends the handcrafted textiles to Japan
- Both of these local ladies independently dye, soak, and design their fabrics. (they will ket you watch the process take place) Produces handmade products by using traditional methods
 
Mr. Chen
 
- Bamboo weaved baskets are sold along the morning market
- Local ladies selling embroidery within the southwestern regions of Shi Fang Jie
- Zhou Cheng - factories where you may watch the tie-dye design/die process occur 
- The Cheese factory - sells a variety of different textiles, good for finding more contacts/experts
- Bamboo weaved baskets are also sold by the local artists throughout the road where the bank is located
- When interacting with the locals, ask them simple questions as a form of communication (eg. what village are you from?)
- Xiao Bai andXiao He - local ladies who own a shop to help preserve the cultural tie-dye tradition (ethnic Bai minority tie-dye)
- Xiao Bai - recently opened another store by the Linden Center (15-minute walk) where you can handmake your own tie-dye products
 
Ms. Liden (reserved slot)
 
- an interview will be conducted once Ms. Liden returns...
 
After interviewing Mr. Tafel, Ms. Mai, Ms. Song, and Mr. Chen, I feel much more confident when continuing the process of my inquiry project. I now have a good list of many different places to visit, and many locals to keep in contact with to learn more about textile production. I feel that I have way more than enough local contacts to keep myself very busy within these coming weeks on investigation.Though I believe I have enough resources, the people I meet could also direct me towards even more helpful information. By using this technique, my list of resources and contacts will only grow throughout the time of this amazing trip.
 
Another place that I went to find information was the Linden Centre library. The library was filled with a variety of books, so I went on a hunt to find any books relating to the topic of Chinese textile production. I was not able to find any books specifically relating to the textile process in Xizhou. However, I did find a book I was looking for, a book relating to The history of Chinese Textile Production. I am hoping that this book will contain plenty of information that will help me through the research process of my topic. If not, I am still satisfied with the list of resources I currently have.
 
In this phase, I emailed an expert on my inquiry project topic and have interviewed others to help me generate a list of resources to help me through the process. Next in Phase 3, I will be using those resources to interview those contacts in order to gain helpful information on my topic, which is another step closer to my final product.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Hi Everyone! My name is Holly and I am so grateful to say that I am part of the "Ultimate" Microcampus Group. I am learning so much and am so lucky to experience life outside the Shanghai bubble. Not only am I focusing on a topic that I greatly enjoy, but I am able to make connections with the many locals I will soon get to know. This trip I am part of is an unforgettable experience and will "ultimately" be an amazing trip. See you guys in a month!