Phase 3: Interpreting Information

Updated 2 years 11 months ago

So far in the process I have done the Project Details which is where we write what our final inquiry project is. I have also done Phase 0 where we went through a long list of options and had to narrow it down to our final project. Phase 1 we are posing real questions to learn about before and during Microcampus. Phase 3 will include the facts that we learned before and during the trip. These facts will come form many different sources, so this is where we keep it all. 

Background Information (from Phase 1):

There are different types and species of plants and animals in the Yunnan Province. These plants and animals can be used in the local art as symbols of different things or as resources that are used to help create the art. These plants include spiny tree fern, camellias,orchids, azaleas, lilies, primroses, Yulan Mongolia, and bamboo. These animals include peacocks, primates, binturong, black neck crane, lady amherst's pheasants and elephants. (1)

Learning more about the different areas of textile production: 

Main Focus (What I will be studying in XiZhou) Tie-dye:

This textile is more popular in the region where we are going and many people have learned to do this in many different ways.[4] It is believed that Tie-dye was created and first done in Dali, a small town where we are going. Tie-dye is part of the Bai culture.[7] In ancient times tie-dyeing was called "jiao xie". This textile production is one of the most popular textiles and is also very popular in the Bai Minority. Zhoucheng village is called the "National tie-dyeing hometown" and is the home of the tie-dyeing industry. According to the history of China, dyeing was first discovered in Dali during the Eastern Han Dynasty. The Bai people were starting to dye clothing and clothes during the Ming and Qing Dynasties and these clothes were found in some performances in Chang'an. XiZhou started dyeing cloth during the Qing Dynasty and the cloths from Dali were the best sellers during their time.[8]

People will print fish and butterflies when they are dying. The fish symbolizes luck and butterflies are in the area. Some people will print other things, but these are the most popular and will also attract tourists. [1] Blue and white are the main colors involved naturally, but other colors can be made.[5] The different colors that are produced in the cloth mean different things, for example yellow means wealth. [6]

Earlier on all the dyes were made from natural resources such as the plants, but now they are creating more colors and chemical solutions are much more popular.  They still used a little bit of chemical dyes in the past but now it is mostly chemicals and the all natural dyes are made in wooden tubs. The prices of the plants that help make the natural dyes are much more expensive because those same plants are also used for medicine. Using the chemical dyes is also more efficient because the fabric will soak up that kind of dye faster, therefore creating time to make more and more. [1]  This textile production is becoming endangered over time and their original folks and traditions are slowly fading away. One of the reasons is because the resources needed to make the dyes are becoming scarce and therefore leading to not being able to create more natural dyes. This problem has been noticed by many people and they are working to fix it so that Dali can continue making the traditional dyes and so that the traditions can be passed on to younger generations.[8]

Silk and flax and resources that can be used to help make tie-dye.To have certain areas on the cloth with no dye, you use a wax called batik and apply it to the places you want blank.[4]  The main materials that are used are cotton cloth or cloth that uses cotton-flax. Many steps are involved to make these dyed cloths or clothes and many materials help with the process. Different symbols mean many different things and they are expressed through this process. Many patterns of dyeing were created by the people in the Bai Minority. Tie-dyeing has many uses is some ones daily life, for example furnishing and clothing. [8]

Embroidery(Part of textile production, not main focus):

When the locals embroider they usually embroider things like symbolic animals and plants . On their clothing they usually embroider things like nature and creatures. All of these things symbolize something and that is the reason they put it on their clothing and other materials. The dye that they use comes from the plants that are available where they are living. [1] Silk is most commonly used when embroidering. You use a cloth and then embroider, embroidering does not make a cloth by itself. One side of the cloth is the knots and on the other side you can see all the little details. [2]

Weaving (Part of textile production, not main focus):

Bamboo is traditionally used to make basically all things for example door mattes, lanterns, toys boxes/baskets etc..  Bamboo is part of their everyday life. It is used while farming or at home. You strip down t he bamboo into thin strips and then you can dye or polish the pieces. After this, there are still many different ways to weave in many different styles. [1] Bamboo is a very popular resource in China and is used in many things which include weaving. Also, bamboo has a important cultural meaning too.[3] Weaving started in a small town near where we are going named Dali. [7] Dali is still improving its weaving techniques and is one place with the most recognized pieces of work. Many resources that are needed to create this textile are becoming scarcer and so many people are working to fix the problem so that the traditions can be passed on to the younger generations.[8]

Information from 3-5's:

There is a museum in Dali that we will visit. The museum is all about tie-dye and has a lot of history that I can learn about, such as where exactly did tie-dye start, some techniques and things like that. There is also tie-dye factories that we I can go to with some people and this is where I can learn some things about the techniques and resources. There are many shops on the way to the Linden Center that sell tie-dye. Some of them personally make tie-dye and others know about how the Bai tie-dye was impacted by the Japanese tie-dye.[9]Tie-dye is a very traditional activity in XiZhou and in the general area. There are many different shops who sell tie-dye and different people know different information about tie-dye. Mostly younger people make the tie-dye in XiZhou currently.Some older people who also try to pass down the tradition to the younger generations. [10] Tie-Dye is made all around China and is different depending on the process. Depending on the older generations and where you like it is different. There used to be many different factories all around China and now there are less and less. XiZhou and Zhou Cheng tie-dye is very different. There are no traditional tie-dye factories from before, but there is one place that sell traditional tie-dye from a long time ago and they only have a few pieces left. Zhou Cheng used to have hundreds of factories, but now they have less then 10. Soon they will have none. The factories they use for tie-dye are their courtyards right outside of their houses.[11] There are some people who have factories in XiZhou and in Zhou Cheng which are two very popular places for tie-dye.Natural colored dyes usually have a lighter color when applying them to cloth. Also, some people sell and buy their finished tie-dye product in two different places, whether it is a shop or a different part of China.[12] Ran Yi Shang is the street where our house is. This is where the main area was for tie-dye before it moved to other areas. In the 1980s the people started to centralize tie-dye in Zhou Cheng. This is where it is mainly focused in modern day. [13]


Information from local contacts:


11/23/16  San San

-The dyes are made from a plant leaf called indigo
-The plant indigo is available in XiZhou, but some of the companies and stores like buying their resources online.
-There is also a pinker color that some people use when dyeing things.
-the pink is made up of tree branches and steams of different plants
-They import most resources, not just the indigo because like I said before the process is a lot faster when you do that. [14] 

11/23/16 and 12/5/16   Ms.Yang

The dyes that Ms. Yang make are made of Indigo.
-The pink cloth that she makes are made of tree bark and branches. [16]

11/24/16 and 12/1/16   Ms.Pam

-Ms. Pam uses a dye that consists of only of the leaf of indigo. [17]

11/25/16   Zhou Cheng Tie-Dye Factory and Museum and Family Tie-Dye Shop

-Traditionally indigo is used for tie-dye
-Coffee beans are used to make brown colored fabrics.
-Walnuts are used in August usually to make a darker brown
-A plant called zhe zi is used to make the fabric yellow
- a tree called zhe mu is used to create a pink color
-Mostly indigo is used. [18]


Interpreting my information:

All of the information about the resources that are used will help me to answer the questions about the resources that people use to make tie-dye. Everyone thinks the same thing about what dyes are used and what kind of dye is more popular. 


Process Tips/Details and information:

11/23/16   San San

If you dye the cloth more times then the color will appear darker.
-You must dye the cloth more times to get a darker color instead of just doing it once.
-The clothes and cloth at a shop that I went to were hand made.
-The process will take about 3-4 hours when you are not disturbed, but when you are talking to people and things like that, to make one bigger sized cloth it takes about 1 week.
- You also having to prepare the fabric, not just the dye that you will use.
-When dyeing fabric you must make sure that the dye stays in the fabric and then you have to clean once you know it is in the fabric.
-There are many different techniques when doing tie-dye that are used.
-For simple designs it will take about 2 hours.
-In some tie-dye there is writing that is created by sewing. this is traditional. [14]

11/23/16   Ms.Song

- Most tie-dyes in XiZhou are currently made in Zhou Cheng and brought to XiZhou to sell.  [15]   

11/23/16  and 12/5/16 Ms.Yang

- Many people buy the tie-dye, especially tourists.
- 80-90 years ago it started.
- In XiZhou and Zhou Cheng, Bai and Han people used it.
- They made it locally and sold it outside. It is now a tourist product.
- The prices were always high, but soon became more and more expensive once the tourists came.
-The idea of the tie-dye is the same, but the patterns are different.
-You can not speed up the process, it has always been done by hand and can not be made by a machine.
- In older times the Bai people would have it at their houses and would use it to carry the babies on their back, or to use as a blanket.
- Now, it is used as decoration.
- The locals now also use it like the traditional Bai people.
- In the future there will be no change in tie-dye or the way it is made.
- It will be the same process as it has always been and the same modern patterns.    [16]

11/24/16 and 12/1/16  Ms.Pam 

Ms.Pam likes doing tie-dye because every piece is different and unique. It is always a surprise to see what the final product will be.  When tie-dying, Ms.Pam uses natural dyes that consist of just indigo. When looking at the dye it was interesting to see that the indigo plant, which is the only thing the dye is made of, is green. Once oxygen is mixed in with the dye, then it will become blue. This is the color that you see on all of the clothes that she makes. She uses some patterns to create a design on the cloth before she applies it to the dye, but the outcome is not always the same and it is surprising when it is finished. Different patterns that you use will take a different amount of time depending on the difficulty level. The difficult ones in her shop will take about 2 days, but the simpler ones that she enjoys take about 1 hour. The scarves that she makes take about 30 minutes and all cloths take around 1-3 hours to dry depending on the day. Ms.Pam personally likes making the little cloths rather than the scarves. The reason that Ms.Pam believes people in XiZhou mostly sell tie-dye instead of make it now a days is because there are a lot of people in XiZhou who sell things for money to support their family. Also, there are more tourists in XiZhou rather than Zhou Cheng. The shop that Ms.Pam works at creates modern day patterns, not as many traditional patterns. About 30 years ago most of the tie-dye was on Ran Yi Xiang, which is the street that our house is on. The blue or navy blue color is indigo as you know by now and these colors are made from natural dye. You can tell if the dye is chemical if the color you see on the fabric is more vibrant.  This color you see in the pink, green, purple and some of the brighter, not navy, blues. Tie supposedly started in the Tang Dynasty and during this time were used as clothing and decoration, while other people believe that it started in the Han Dynasty and was used as table cloths. The thread that Ms.Pam uses for sewing is made from wax. This is made so that the dye can not dye the area where the thread is and is made to make sure that the area with knots stays completely white. You can test if it is made from natural resources or wax by putting fire to it. If it turns to ashes it is natural, but if it turns sticky then it is made from wax. The all natural fabrics are dyed to create a deeper color, the mixture of different fabrics does not get dyed as easily. Batik uses dye to create the white part. The older tie-dye is very different. You can tell if it is older because they use the horse tooth technique to create all the designs. The older dye has crisp lines between the white and color because the people back then had a lot more strength so the lines were a lot crisper. Now the lines are not as crisp. The sewing takes nearly 1 hour to do. You have to tighten the sewing in a certain order to create the design. Most of the tie-dye shops used to be on Ran Yi Xiang. [17]

11/25/16   Zhou Cheng Tie-Dye Factory and Museum and Family Shop  

For mass production of tie-dye, the people in Zhou Cheng use huge tubs for dyeing. There are two main types of tie-dye, the one where you use a needle and thread  and also the one where you use wax to create the white parts. The one that is used in most parts of tie-dye is the one using needle and thread. The tied part of the tie-dye will have no dye on it.  This part is not dyed a different color because of the tight knots that they use, so the dye can not touch that part. Chemical dyes are used more often because it is easier for the fabric to collect the dye faster. The traditional patterns such as butterfly, fish and flowers has changed to a more symmetrical design for the tourists. Tie-dye is part of the  Bai culture and is passed down from generation to generation, but not as many of the younger generation does it now. They also use sewing as part of modern day tie-dye. Cotton is more popular in fabric, and this is what the people at the Zhou Cheng tie-dye museum use. The Japanese came to XiZhou to learn about tie-dye. The Duan family is one of the starters of tie-dye in Zhou Cheng. Tie-Dye started in the Han Dynasty, which is pre Tang Dynasty. Before you make the dye, you must ferment it and then the color will rise to the top of the bucket. Some people believe that there has been no change in tie-dye for 30 years, although others believe that there has been. Locals and tourists buy tie-dye in Zhou Cheng, but mostly tourists. The process of tie-dye has changed only a little bit since the beginning. One difference that they have now is that they use a mechanical dryer instead of hand dried. This speeds up the process. You can tell if the dye is natural or chemical in the beginning, before you dye it, but not so much after. Natural dyes have a larger smell to them. You can smell the natural dyes but you can not smell the chemical dyes as much. The indigo that they use is used for medicine too. Once you are done making the tie-dye, you can add tea to the finished product, so that the color stays in the fabric. Tie-dye is used as a table cloth originally, but now has may different uses.   [18]

11/28/16 and 12/2/16  Ms.Gian Mei.  

Tie-Dye is believed to start next to the Huang He river a long time ago. All of the tie-dyes were made for the emperor. The emperors son had a tie-dye store, where he made his own tie-dye. After the son finished making the tie-dye, he sent it back to his father. The one color that they used was blue and it was made from the indigo plant. Only the emperor was able to use the best tie-dyes. He used them as table cloths. The red tie-dye was very rare and only the very good emperors could use these. The best tie-dyes were sent to the emperor and the rest were given only to the people who could afford them. They were very expensive. No poor people were able to buy them. In modern day, the tourism has really changed the tie-dye. A lot of different colors of tie-dye are used including pink, green and brown. The tie-dye that is made in Zhou Cheng and XiZhou is mostly exported to Japan and Korea. These places use the tie-dye as clothes, wallets, jewelry holders, coasters and hats. As you can tell they are used for a lot more then what they used to be used for. The Japanese use them for clothes. She has taught the younger generations but they do not do it anymore because they do not make enough money. She grows her indigo on rented land on the mountains. She harvest tie-dye in XiZhou. The harvest time is between September and the middle of November. She plants tie-dye in April. She usually plants 20 different scores of tie-dye. She uses the leaf and flowers for the dye. Hiring someone to plant the indigo saves her time. For different colored dye, she mixes the flower of indigo and different fruits and vegetables. She uses roses for the red dye. Indigo stays better in the cloth rather than the other colors. The flowers of indigo can dye your skin and it will not come off. The plant is very healthy for you. She buys indigo form other people to plant it and some other locals collect if for her. The most difficult part of tie-dye is mixing the plants together. A lot of the people in XiZhou were richer back then so they would read a lot of become officers for the government. Zhou Cheng had the poorer people and so they would make the tie-dye. Because there is a lot more tourists in XiZhou, tie-dye moved back to XiZhou for the tourists to buy. The indigo can also harm the body. People wanted to be healthy so they came to XiZhou to learn about tie-dye because it was made out of a plant that was also used as medicine.When she was little a lot of locals did tie-dye, not as much now. Her friend was a doctor and she would give here the plants and she would see if they would dye cloth.
- tie-dye started before the Qing Dynasty
- It changed from simple to complicated

- The ones the gave to the king were very elegant
- he did not use them as decoration
- Now normal people buy them and the rules are not as strict
- Japanese use them for Chinese dresses
- only pretty tie-dye was for the king
- locals buy the cheap ones and use it for decorations
- Japan and Korea have tie-dye that is very expensive
- Hong Kong and other parts of China have the cheaper ones
- Japanese use them for table runners
- Now she sells them to other places because the market in XiZhou is a lot smaller
- It used to take 3 months
- Now it takes about 1 week

- Koreans use tie-dye to wrap up people who have passed away. 
- Now she exports her tie-dye to other places because not many people buy it in XiZhou
- The darker the tie-dye the more expensive
- The old tie-dye was light blue but very expensive
- In the Qing Dynasty there was only blue tie-dye

- Now tie-dye can be from 50 Yuan to 5,000 Yuan
- It used to be 1-10 Yuan
- It takes the same amount of time
- It uses the same process 

11/30/16 and 12/5/16 Mr.Yang

- Mr. Yang has a lot of traditional tie-dye.
- A lot of it used to be in XiZhou but then moved to Zhou Cheng.
- The traditional tie-dye has a lot of small patterns that make up the bigger patterns.
- These small patterns are called horse tooth.
- The traditional tie-dye has a lot of animals on it including, dragons, goats, dogs, cats and birds and also gods.
- The traditional dye include a beige color, not all indigo.
- The fabric that they use is not all white either, sometimes it is a beige color.
-The mesh that you can see on some of the traditional tie-dye is from the Jang Si River and Shanghai from a long time ago.
-The tie-dye cloths were worth about 1-2 Yuan and the people who made 1/10 Yuan profit.
- The economics were not very good at this time and many people stopped making tie-dye because they were not making enough money.
-Tie-dye is a very labor intensive activity and so if people did not make lots of money they would stop doing it.
- A lot of people also like Batik which is where you use wax to create the white or colorful parts.
- There was a house that was demolished and Mr.Yang bought hundred of traditional tie-dyes.
- Tie-dye started as early as the Qing Dynasty.
- There was none during the communist revolution.
- It started again after the economic reform in China and went to Zhou Cheng.
- It was used for decoration and still is used for decoration now.
- The people make a lot more profit now than they used to and it costs a lot more.
- The use the same techniques now.
- They use different patterns that appeal to the tourists.
- Now, the patterns are more complex.
- in the 1980s there were a lot new patterns because of tourism.  
- The traditional tie-dye was made after the communist revolution.
-  They would make them in XiZhou and Zhou Cheng and then sell them in Shanghai.
- locals did not really buy them, but now they do.
- They are also used as table cloths now.
- The old cloth they used was cotton, but more yellow toned.
- The style they use now depends on the needs at the time,  where as it used to be the same no matter what. [20]

11/30/16   Ms.Liu

-They use more modern tie-dye.
-They learned themselves from the internet and some books.
-They never did the traditional tie-dye, they started with modern.
-They have done tie-dye for two months now.
-Not any of the locals buy the modern tie-dye.
-They also use indigo and they buy it from Guizhou.
-They make the tie-dye altogether for mass production.
-This only takes one day. [21]

11/30/16   Yang Mei Lin

-Everyone uses tie-dye as different things and likes different patterns.
-She teaches anyone who wants and she learned in Zhou Cheng.
-Only Zhou Cheng has a lot of people who make tie-dye and then it moved to XiZhou.
-She learned tie-dye from her mom and grandma.
-There are more than 20 techniques that you can use.
_She uses the thread and needle.
-When using indigo you have no chemicals in the dye.
-The original dye and most popular now is the natural dye.
-The chemical dye is not good for your skin so many people do not use it.
-The green dyes, if natural are made from tree leaves and the yellow, if natural is made from yellow pea.
-There used to be no embroidery in tie-dye, but now there is not.
-There used to be more details in the dye. [22]

12/1/16   Ms.Yang (farther down)

-She plants and buys indigo near the LiJiang airport.
-She married her husband and then moved to XiZhou where she learned and started making tie-dye.
-The Linden Center grows some indigo.
-She learned about tie-dye in XiZhou after she moved here. [23]


Interpreting my information:

The background information on tie-dye includes a lot of information and is very useful when trying to answer the questions. Most of the people agree with each other, although so information is different from other people. I think that looking at trustworthy sources will help me find out the true information. Some of this information will also help me understand how tie-dye has changed over time, which is my big topic that I will be focusing on. 



Steps to Making Tie-Dye:

11/24/16   Ms.Pam

-For some patterns or techniques that are used in modern day you will first sew some design into the fabric and then tightly tie the cloth together.
-After this you put it in the dye and let it dry for 1-3 hours depending on the weather. [17]

11/15/16   Zhou Cheng Factory and Museum and Family Tie-Dye Shop

-First you must collect your plant, usually tie-dye and ferment it for 1/2 -1 year. 
-This will bring out the color especially in indigo.
- After this you must discard the solid parts of the dye so that it is all liquid.
-When using indigo, the dye is actually green and then once it mixes with oxygen it will become the blue color that you see in the finished product.
- Some people also use lime.
- Then you can add rice wine an sugar to the dye if you would like.
- This is what some people in Zhou Cheng do, but it depends on the person.
- When dyeing the fabric, you first take the white fabric and think about your design that you want to use.
- Then you take the stencil and use iodine to create an outline of what your design will be.
- Using this outline you then can use a needle and thread to weave  through the design.
- You tie very tight knots or ties in the fabric. The part that is underneath the dye is not dyed a different color.
- Therefore this makes the part that is white.
- You put the fabric in the tub of dye.
- Depending on how dark you want to dye the cloth, you put it in for longer and more times.
- This creates darker or lighter colors.
- Once you are done with this, some people like to put tea on the fabric.
- This helps keep the color of the dye on the fabric.
- Whether you do this or not, the next step is to make sure that the dye stays on the fabric and then wash it when it is done.
- You then can untie the tight knots.  
- This is how you make tie-dye.
- Once it is dry, you iron it to get all the wrinkles out from the tightly wrapped fabric. [18]


Interpreting my information:

The process of tie-dye is important when learning about this project. Most people do it the same way. This will help me answer the question on how you use tie-dye. A lot of people also agree that there are many ways to do tie-dye, but the one that they all use is most efficient. 



11/23/16   San San

-Some people such as 三三, learned to do tie-dye in Zhou Cheng.

11/23/16   Ms.Yang

-Ms. Yang learned to tie-dye from her family members.
- Tie-dye is a family tradition for her.
- She is Bai, so her family believes that tie-dye is a Bai custom.
- Her family is from Zhou Cheng.
- She says that she will not be able to teach the younger generations because they are not very dedicated.
- They like technology, but not things like tie-dye. [16]

11/24/16   Ms.Pam

-She learned tie-dye in Shan Dong. She then went to Shanghai for 4 years for college.
- There she studied the Korean Language.
- She has been making tie-dye in XiZhou for about 1 year now.
- She also learned some stuff from the internet and some books. [17]


Interpreting my information:

This is information can help me understand how people will pass down the tradition to the younger generations. I am realizing that this is not going to be a very popular thing soon. Most people agree that younger generations do not want to do this anymore. 


People I Have Talked to:

San San: I talked to San San because she was recommended to me by Ms.Chu. She had some information for me that was helpful. She works at a shop with paler and more modern tie-dye. She also participates in making the tie-dye.

Ms.Song: While walking around the street, I saw Ms.Songs shop. She does not participate in making tie-dye but does sell it. I hoped that she would give me some information about why the tie-dye is made in Zhou Cheng and sold in XiZhou. I asked her a few questions, but now I have a few more and hope to go back and learn some more about the buying and selling locations of tie-dye and who buys them.

Ms.Yang: I went to Ms.Yang because I also noticed that she sold tie-dye. Once I asked her a few questions I was glad to realize that she makes tie-dye. I asked her some questions based on how long the process takes and learning from people or teaching other people. She seemed interested in making it and I have some more questions I can ask her about buying and selling and where/when she learned. 

Ms.Pam: Ms.Pam was recommended to me by Ms.Mai. I went to her shop to ask some basic questions about the process, resources, and why the tie-dye is made in Zhou Cheng and sold in XiZhou. I got some information based on those questions and I want to go back and asked to ask some more. 

Ms. Gien Mei: I talked to Ms. Gien Mei because she was at a shop that I was going to and she new a lot of information about tie-dye. I went back to her because she also personally makes tie-dye. 

Ms.Yang: I went to talk to Ms.Yang because she said she made tie-dye. I asked her some basic questions about the resources that she uses, but she was a little shy. 

Yang Mei Ni: I talked to Yang Mei Ni because I saw her making tie-dye and people who make tie-dye know a lot about it. I also talked to her because she had made tie-dye for a long time. 

Ms.Liu: I talked to Ms.Liu because she worked at a more modern tie-dye shop and she would probably have a different view on tie-dye. 

Mr.Yang: I talked to Mr.Yang because I saw that he had traditional tie-dye. I wanted to learn about how tie-dye has changed over time and he knows a lot about tie-dye even though he does not make it himself. 

Zhou Cheng Tie-Dye Factory and Museum and Family Tie-Dye Shop: I went to Zhou Cheng to learn about tie-dye because we had a field trip there. I took some time to talk to some people and learn a lot of the tie-dye process and some background information about tie-dye. 


Answers to previous questions (Phase 1):

1. How has tie-dye changed over time? 

The finished product of tie-dye has changed a lot over time. The lines between the dyed part and the non-dyed part used to be very crisp. The people who used to make tie-dye were a lot stronger, so they could tie the thread a lot tighter, therefore causing there to be a crisper line. Also people used to make tie-dye for the emperor, so there were many strict rules on how the tie-dye must be done. Now, the people are not as strong and the tie-dye can be made however they want so it is not as strict. The patterns that the people use now are very different. The old patterns were many different animals including dogs, cats, goats, sheep, fish, dragons and birds. They also had gods on them sometimes and there were many trees and clouds. Now the patterns have some butterflies, fish and many flowers. They have also changed to more modern things like symmetrical patterns are some random color in different areas around the cloth. The size of the tie-dye has not changed and can be different depending on what you are making. The amount of time and the process that is used has not changed and will not change because tie-dye must be done by hand and can not be done in factories. The price of tie-dye has also increased because over time the resources became for scarce and the patterns became more difficult which caused the price to increase as well as the economy improving.  The use of tie-dye has changed. It used to be used to go over tables as decoration and to make things look nicer, but now it is used as decoration all over the house, not just table cloths. Overall, the finished product of tie-dye has changed, but will not keep on changing that much. The process has never changed and will not change. The price and the use of tie-dye has changed. 

2. Why has tie-dye changed? Because of what?

Tie-dye has changed a lot and there are not many reasons why. The main reason for why tie-dye has changed is because of the needs of the tourists. Zhou Cheng and XiZhou have had a lot more tourism lately, especially in XiZhou. The tourists come to these towns and look at what they like. Depending on what the tourists like more of and what they buy, the people who make tie-dye change and alter what they make. Over time, what people like has changed and so now, there is more patterned tie-dye and more flowers instead of all the animals. The prices of tie-day have changed because of the quality and the economy. The process of making tie-dye has not changed because those traditions have been passed down, and machines can not make the tie-dye.

3.   When did tie-dye start?

Tie-Dye was first seen in the Qin Dynasty and Han Dynasty. These were the first two dynasties in China. The Qin Dynasty was founded in 221 BC, a very long time ago. In later dynasties it became a common craft among many of the locals in China. By the Tang Dynasty, which was one of the later dynasties,  it was very popular and has been carried out until modern day. 

4. Is the traditional tie-dye slowly stopping?

Traditional tie-dye in XiZhou and Zhou Cheng is slowly going away. A long time ago there used to be many different large factories all around these small villages. Many people did tie-dye as their job and learned from their elders and then taught the younger generations. The tie-dye was sold all around the villages, on many different streets. Now, there is not as much tie-dye in the villages around Yunnan and  there are only 50 factories left, whereas there used to be hundreds. There are only a few people who still make tie-dye that are somewhat traditional, not just some random colored places on a cloth. The tie-dye is sold on the most tourist attracted streets and all the other areas do not sell tie-dye. The amount of tie-dye and people making tie-dye is slowly decreasing and soon there will be less and less. This is because the younger generations enjoy technology more than the traditional activities. They like phones, computers and TV's, not the other activities that take a lot of patience and commitment. They do not want to learn how to do these things.

5. Do the younger generations want to learn how to do tie-dye?

The younger generations do not want to learn how to do tie-dye. There are two main reasons for this. One is because it takes patience and time and the other is because when making tie-dye you do not make a lot of profit. First, the younger generations enjoy technology more and do not want to take the time to learn about these traditional activities. They mostly like getting together with friends and playing sports. Sitting down and learning something new is something that the do not enjoy doing and they will not want to learn how to make tie-dye. Second is that you do not make much money. As you might know,  it takes time to make tie-dye and it is a big commitment. Many younger people think that if it takes so much time and they do not make much money it is not worth it. Now, many people are business men or women and sell things to make a lot of money from all of the tourists. These people make a lot more money than the people who make tie-dye and these are the reasons why the younger generations do not want to learn tie-dye. 

6. What resources are used to create tie-dye?

The most popular resource that is used to create tie-dye is indigo. They use pure indigo plant to make the most popular color, which is a dark blue that is kind of like navy blue. Some other plants that are used for dye are coffee, tree bark,  tree leaves, flowers and other natural plants. Coffee makes a light brown color whereas walnuts create a darker brown. Walnuts are only used during August and September, so in the other times of the year they use coffee beans. Tree bark can be used to create a yellow color. Yellow can also be made from yellow peas. The skin of an onion can be used. The green tree leaves are used to create green dyes and red wood is used to create red dyes. Flowers are used to create other colors like pink and purple. You can use fruits and vegetables to create other colors and sometimes you can mix them too. You also need cloth that is made out of cotton usually, a needle, thread and the dye. 

7. How are the dyes for tie-dye made? How long does it take?

Making the dye for tie-dye takes a few different steps. First,  you must plant your plant. Then once the plant grows you must collect the plant and ferment it. This takes about 1/2 a year to 1 year and will bring out the color, especially for indigo. Then, after you do this you must take out all of the solid parts in the dye so that it is easier to dye. Once you do this the dye can mix with the oxygen and will turn the blue you see in the tie-dye. Some people also add sugar and rice wine. Overall, this takes almost one year for the dye to be made including the fermenting. This can be used for a while and then you will have to make more. 

8. How do you prepare and dye the cloth? How long does this take?

To prepare the cloth or fabric you must first think about what design you want. You can create this design on the cloth by sketching in out with iodine. You put certain dots in the order you need to create the design. Then you can start sewing along the line that you created. Once you are done you must pull the sting at certain areas that you purposefully stopped sewing at. This makes the cloth come together and wherever the thread is will not get dyed. You must pull it together in a certain order for it to work. Then, you tie the other areas together so that the areas you do not want dyed stay white. After this you can put it in the dye and soak it in there depending on how dark you want it. The longer and more times you dye it, the darker. After this you wash it and make sure that the dye stays. You then have to take the thread out and take it apart. Then you can dry it and iron it after to get ride of the wrinkles. This takes a few hours to a few weeks depending on the difficulty and the amount of time you do it every day. 

9. Are natural or chemical dyes more popular in XiZhou? Why?

Natural dyes are a lot more popular in XiZhou. In fact, throughout my whole time here I have yet to meet someone who uses chemical dyes. The most popular natural dye is used from the plant called indigo. The natural dyes are more popular because they are a lot healthier than using chemical dyes. Even the factories use natural dyes. The indigo can also be used as a medicine. Also, many of the people learned tie-dye from their parents and the natural dyes are used traditionally. The chemical dyes are also not good for your skin and if it gets on your skin, it will not come off. Also, chemical dyes are not healthy for the body and many people have learned  the method where you ferment the indigo. The plants are available and many people prefer to use the plants instead of chemicals. 

10. Who buys the tie-dye?

A long time ago only the emperor was able to buy the tie-dye. He did not actually have to buy it because many of the emperors sons made tie-dye. Soon after that the other people who were rich were able to buy tie-dye, because for the poor people it was very expensive. It was only the locals buying it because there were not many tourists. Now, most people can buy tie-dye.  A lot of the tourists buy it now and not many tourists because the style has changed. The tourists are a lot more interested in the tie-dye now. 





1. Lina L. (Alumni H.) accessed on October 23
2. Miranda M. (Alumni D.) accessed on October 27
3. Vanessa P. (Alumni F.) accessed on October 27
4. Marisa K. (Alumni E.) accessed on October 27
5. Risa B. (Alumni E.) accessed on October 27
6. Erica L. (Alumni G.) accessed on October 27
7. Chantal L. (Alumni O.) accessed on October 27
8. Tie-dye Technique of the Bai Nationality accessed on November 1
9. Ms.Mai. Personal Interview conducted by Imani R. , 21 November 2016
10. Ms.Chu.Personal Interview conducted by Imani R. ,  21 November 2016
11. Mr. T. Personal Interview conducted by Imani R. , on 22 November 2016
12. Mrs. Linden.Personal Interview conducted by Imani R. , 22 November 2016
13. Mr. Linden.Personal Interview conducted by Imani R. , 22 November 2016
14. San San(shop owner).Personal Interview conducted by Imani R. , 23 November 2016
15. Ms. Song (walk straight through SFJ). Personal Interview conducted by Imani R. , 23 November 2016
16. Ms. Yang (Bai women who makes tie-dye). Personal Interview conducted by Imani R.  ,23 November 2016
17. Ms. Pam (lady from shanghai who makes tie-dye).Personal Interview conducted by Imani R. , 24 November 2016
18. Zhou Cheng Tie-Dye Factory and Museum and Family Tie-Dye. Personal Interview conducted by Imani R. , 25 November 2016
19. Ms. Gien Mei. Personal Interview conducted by Imani R. , 28 November 2016
20. Mr. Yang. Personal Interview conducted by Imani R. , 29 November 2016
21. Ms. Liu. Personal Interview conducted by Imani R. , 30 November 2016
22. Yang Mei Ni. Personal Interview conducted by Imani R. , 30 November 2016
23.Ms. Yang. Personal Interview conducted by Imani R. , December 1  2016

In this phase I collected data from many different students, websites and local contacts in XiZhou. I have collected a lot of information and I am ready to start planning for my final project in Phase 4. I know that I am ready because I have information for what my final project will be. In the next phase we will be planning out for our final project and this will take place tomorrow. After that we are ready for out actual final product.


Hi, my name is Imani. I am 13 years old and this is my 2nd year at SAS. I was born in Michigan and I lived there my whole life until I moved to China 3 years ago. Some of the passions I have are playing soccer, dancing and traveling to many places around the world. One of my favorite places to go is Thailand. I was part of the Revival Microcampus group. I went to Microcampus on November 19, 2016 along with 9 other students from the Shanghai American School Pudong Campus. I enjoyed my time in XiZhou and learned many things about myself and the community that I was living in during the experience. This is definitely an experience to remember and I have nothing to regret by deciding to go on the trip. Thank you XiZhou and everyone who makes Microcampus possible for the chance of a lifetime. Definitely something that I will never forget.