Phase 3: Interpreting Information

Updated 2 years 3 months ago

Here in Phase 3 of my inquiry project process, I will continue my learning journey through research. This Phase is where I will record and investigate all that I have uncovered within Textile Production, from sources including online research and interviewing local artisans. The first section of my Micrcampus journey began in Phase 0, where I decided upon my inquiry project topic, Textile Production, a topic that piques my interest and challenges me as well. Next, in Phase 1, I began the process of gathering background research and asking meaningful questions that would enhance my knowledge throughout the overall project. This is Phase 3, where I will conduct the research that will cement a solid foundation of my overall knowledge. This step is essential towards fully understanding my topic and driving my thinking in the right direction.

Background Information (from Phase 1):

Textile Industry/ Environmental Effects:

The current world population is 7.1 billion; this number is expected to grow to 9.2 billion by 2050[11]. This growth will take place in underdeveloped and developing countries, such as the rural communities within China. As the economy in these villages improve, residents will have more "purchase power", so the per-capita consumption of goods, including textiles, will increase[11,12]. In short, population and economic growth will stimulate a rapid increase in textile production, which, in turn, will drive significant increases in the Chinese textile industry’s water use, chemical use, and other environmentally harmful emissions[11].
China is the world’s top textile exporter with 40% of world textile and clothing exports[11]. The textile and clothing industry is the largest manufacturing industry in China with about 24,000 enterprises[11]. China is the largest clothing producer in the world and has the largest production capacity for textile products consisting of cotton, manmade fibers, and silk[12]. The Chinese textile industry, in general, is not considered an energy-intensive industry. However, this is only the case within rural communities where local artists hand-make their own textile artwork, larger manufacturing companies, on the other hand, are a different story. The share of total manufacturing energy consumed by the textile industry in China depends upon the structure of its manufacturing sector[11].  For instance, "the textile industry accounts for about 5% of the primary energy use manufacturing in China, while this share is less than 2% in the US[11,12]."
In addition to using substantial energy, the Chinese textile industry is one of the largest consumers of water in manufacturing and hence one of the main producers of industrial wastewater[11]. Since various chemicals are used in different textile processes such as pre-treatment, dyeing, printing, and finishing, the textile wastewater contains many toxic chemicals which if not treated properly before discharge to the environment, can cause serious environmental damage[11]. In addition, China's charges for water supply and "effluent discharge" are increasing heavily by the year[11]. For companies to save cost and remain competitive, they need to save water and address issues related to wastewater disposal[11].

Textile Techniques:

Rural China has many important textile techniques, most of which were created by the women from their own specific Chinese ethnic groups[10]. These techniques consist of spinning, weaving, dyeing, and embroidering, using natural fibers to make clothes and daily supplies[10]. The many women that live in these Chinese rural villages learn tie-dyeing, embroidering, and weaving "hand in hand" from their mothers[10] at an age as early as 5 years old. Many Chinese locals practice these textile techniques so often that these skills have an essential part of the traditional Chinese cultural heritage. But in recent years, the number of women who know of how to weave, embroider, and dye have reduced rapidly, because of advances worldwide machinery increasing day by day...
The traditional Chinese textile techniques consist of four procedures, known as spinning, dyeing, weaving, and embroidering[10].
Spinning:  This producer occurs when using a hand-twined spinning wheel to spin cotton or any other natural fiber into rolls of string[10](cotton spinning is not common within Xizhou).
Dyeing: Dyeing is the process of adding color to textile products such as fibers, yarns, and fabrics. Dyeing is normally done in a special solution containing dyes and particular chemical materials. Some dye procedures include tie-dye and batik[10]
Weaving: Weaving is a method of textile production in which two distinct sets of yarns or threads are interlaced at right angles to form a fabric or cloth. Some procedures include knitting, crocheting, felting, braiding, or bamboo weaving[10].
Embroidering: Embroidery is the handicraft of decorating fabric or other materials using a needle to apply colorful threads or yarn. Embroidery may also incorporate other materials such as pearls, beads, quills, and sequins[10].
China's traditional spinning, weaving, dyeing and embroidering techniques have the following three distinct features:
Living Fossils of Ancient Culture: It is a wonder in human history that these textile techniques have been around for hundreds and thousands of years. What was used to produce complex Chinese artwork centuries ago, is just vital as it was hundreds of years ago[10].
Diverse culture: For thousands of years, China's cotton spinning, dyeing, weaving, and embroidering techniques were learned and passed on by all the local women as one essential skill of living. But for every province and community that had developed their own culture, their textile technique will develop as well in many inspiring, diverse ways[15].
Originality: This feature focused on two aspects, one is the original nature of the technique and material, and the other is the original culture it represents. After thousands of years of existence, today the simple and original weaving tools/techniques can still be found in most of China's rural locations[15]. For example, fibers and dyeing materials are local products that are found in the nearby mountains and forests, with only very few of the colored silks that are being brought from outside of its local's communities[10].
Tie-dyeing is a traditional handicraft and is considered a skillful trait within the local culture and history of rural China[13]. This art form has a very long history and has become part of Chinese heritage, dating back to over 1,000 years ago[1,2]. Many women in rural China have learned these skills throughout their childhood and have become excellent craftsmen that continue to impress the world all around us[2]
There is a vast variety of many tie-dye patterns, including flowers, plants, birds, mammals, fish, insects, folk characters, and symbols, most of which are wishes for and good luck and prosperity[1].  Having both decorative and practical purposes, tie-dyed fabrics are fashioned into both clothing and interior housing decoration.  This tie-dyeing process consists of using a special medicinal herb, the Radix isatidis[1,2], which helps the dyed garments feel soothing against the skin, especially in hot weather. Plant dyes fade slightly over time[2], but tie-dyed fabrics are made in more muted shades compared to the fabrics that have been through a chemical process[1] (made by machinery).
There are many stages that take place when making such a complex, delicate piece of fabric[13]. To make an imprint, shape, or pattern on the cloth being used, local craftsmen would use methods such as pinching and crimpling, folding, turning and rolling, and squeezing and pulling to make a various amount of shapes[1]. This forms different patterns in the cloth that every artist will do differently, making each and every piece of fabric unique to its maker. The "knotted" piece of cloth is then soaked in a giant vat of dye; and after a certain period of time is taken out and air-dried, which are steps that must be repeated several times[1]. After each time, the cloth will darken[1] and the newly imprinted patterns will come to life.
Chinese tie-dyeing reflects the intense culture and identity within many local communities[13]. In this day and age, varies of tie-dyed cloth can be made into scarves, clothes, blankets, tablecloths, etc., and sold to the many foreign countries that truly appreciate the effort that goes into this amazing process[2].


Chinese embroidery is also one of the many historical, traditional Chinese handicrafts[16]. This process consists of a needle used to thread colorful strands onto a board to make exquisite patterns and characters on cloth. Embroidery was first developed by many Chinse local women and performed when decorating clothes, pouches, and bedclothes[3]. The themes occur most on Chinese embroidery consist of flowers and birds, which are respectful symbols of peace within some local regions in China. The finest pieces of embroidery artwork work are terribly expensive, with complex designs taking years to complete[4]. With its designs rich in life and full of color, this amazing art form has gradually developed into a nationally known representation of artistic culture. 
According to Chinese history, there are two main divisions of embroidery, “chih wen” and “tuan chen”.  “Chih wen” uses the long and short stitch, while “tuan chen” involves the seed stitch used especially in Beijing[4]. Embroidery was first discovered during the early dynasties of China, with Hunan Province[3] being the first to uncover such a complex level of craftsmanship. There are multiple pieces of evidence with traces of embroidery that were found during the Han Dynasty, (202BC - 220AD) in several ancient tombs within North Inner Mongolia, Astana, Turpan, Xinjiang, and many other Asain regions[3]. The embroidery patterns of that period in time consisted of wavy clouds, flying phoenixes, running animals, and geometric patterns. Traces of this art form were also found throughout the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907), where the Buddha took place as an important theme within embroidery. Later in the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279), Chinese embroidery was greatly influenced by painting, the most influential form of art at the time[3]. Therefore, there were many pieces of landscape embroidery, figure embroidery, flower embroidery and bird embroidery, following in the footsteps in many different types of Chinese paintings. In late imperial China, the yarn-dyeing technology developed had rapidly, causing many changes/innovations throughout the development of embroidery that are still used today[4].
The three most famous styles of embroidery are currently located within Songjin (Suzhou), Yunjin (Nanjing), and Shujin (Sichuan)[3]. Embroidery crafted in Suzhou consists of a history of more than 2000 years[3]. It features delicate embroidery work, varied stitches, pretty patterns, and elegant colors. Hunan embroidery dates back to the Spring and Autumn Period[3] (770BC - 453BC). The embroiders use materials such as satin, organdy, and nylon as the raw materials to make valuables and things for daily use as well. These items include pillowcases, mattress covers, handkerchiefs, tablecloths, and clothes. Lastly, embroidery in Sichuan has taken place since the Jin Dynasty[3] (226-420). Their craftsmanship is known for being outstanding, with over 100 kinds of unique, exquisite stitching technique[16]
Chinese embroidery involves the perfect blend of fine arts, beautiful appeal, and practical uses. When tourists travel to China,  in a famous tourist city or within a rural community, embroidery may be bought in the form of cloth, quilt covers, pillowcases, coats, shoes, scarves, and much more that display the true value and importance of traditional Chinese embroidery[16].

Bamboo Weaving:

Throughout the many rural communities within China, bamboo weaving is a handicraft which a wide range complex products[14]. The creation of this Chinese textile artwork is classified according to each product's form and function, with examples including baskets, trays, jars, boxes, cases, vases, folding screens, models of animals and figures, buildings, furniture, lamps and lanterns, bags, toys, fans, and mats[8,9]. Some are expensive pieces of art used for decoration or enjoyment, whereas some are simply considered indispensable commodities[9].
China is especially rich in bamboo resources[8] and has a long history of planting thousands of these bamboo trees. The history of Chinese bamboo weaving can be traced back to the Neolithic Age[8,9] (around 6000 BC). Many bamboo weaving products (mainly baskets and other appliances for food storage) are handmade within rural communities, proving that this art form is equally appreciated by both the rich and the poor. Provinces such as Sichuan, Hunan, Hubei, and Zhejiang[9] are well-known for their large supply of bamboo and their bamboo weaving products, some of which are highly decorative. The style of these products, however, often vary according to the product's original place of production[8].
The craft of Chinese bamboo weaving is passed down from the instructor to his/her own apprentice, with the need for at least three years master the craft for themsleves[9]. Through many complicated working procedures, bamboo is cut into strips and pieces of various widths, thicknesses, lengths, and sizes, to then be woven into different patterns with techniques that require a considerable amount of skill and experience[8]. A typical bamboo joint can be cut into more than twenty bamboo weaving strips, each piece with its own role to play[9]. Bamboo weaving is also very strict in terms of choosing the bamboo itself, for the flexibility and durability depend fully on if the tree has finished growing. 
There are two kinds of bamboo splits used for weaving: bamboo threads, where the thickness and width of the bamboo are approximately equal, and bamboo strips, which are broad and extremely thin[9]. Bamboo threads are mostly used for making products such as baskets, boxes, bottles, jars, and dolls, which are woven from the base and up[9]. After the base is finished, the weaving continues as it spirals upwards. Bamboo strips are used for making bamboo mats and curtains, which are usually woven from the middle outwards[9], to end around the borders/corners. Some products like lamps and hats are weaved over a mold (to construct an accurate shape and format the correct layout).  As for the last procedures, boiling is required to finalize the shape, soften the thin strips, and avoid bamboo cracking[9]. These strips also go on a plane to ensure the same thickness and through a "conduit" to ensure the same width[9]. Finally, according to design, there might also be procedures including dyeing, plating, and polishing[9].
Due to the fact that it regenerates very rapidly, Chinese bamboo is considered a sustainable material and an incredibly durable alternative compared to our limited global supply of hardwood[9]. With nature becoming a dream for the millions living in cities, we must rely on the many rural communities to provide us with these beautiful hand-made pieces of bamboo textile artwork[14].


Batik printing is an age-old traditional folk handicraft for fabric printing and dyeing within China. This complex art form has a long history of batik production dating all the way back to the sixth century[5]. Today, you can still find batik being made by many of the ethnic/local Chinese communities located in rural China. This is a complex method of producing colored designs on textiles by dyeing them, having first applied wax when designing patterns and shapes on the fabric. The finished product of decorated cloth is then used for making skirts, panels on jackets, aprons, baby carriers, and much more.
Indigo (a dark shade of blue) is one of the traditional colors used to hand-dye fabrics throughout rural China[5]. Wax resisted fabric was one of the earliest forms of decoration within southern China as all the materials were at hand and accessible to make[5,7].  Wax printing is a process where hot (melted) wax is applied, often in the form of a geometric pattern or artistic representation, then when the wax has dried, the fabric is dyed in a large vat filled with dark-colored ink. When the dyeing process is finished and the fabric has dried completely, the fabric is then washed in hot water, which dissolves the wax, leaving the finished product looking like expensive fabric with patterns, designs, images, etc., in a contrasting color to the dyed background color[6]. In the end, the leftover beeswax can be reused by draining it in warm water and scooping out the pieces that can be recycled and melted once again[5,7].
The history of batik can be traced back to the Western Han Dynasty[7] (206 BC-24 AD). Since the very beginning, traditional batik patterns are remembered for their rhythmical beauty[6,7], since the lines and points are orderly arranged. The usual tools for applying wax are made out of copper and brass with bamboo handles at its side[5]. It is held like a pen either upright or at a slant to the cloth which is laid flat on a board[5]. This drawing tool is what engraves the wax in straight or slightly curved lines onto the fresh piece of cloth.
The Miao, Gejia and Bouyei girls are taught this textile art form at the age of 6 years, and after practice, become highly skilled craftsmen. They draw in very fine symmetrical patterns and double spiral designs representing the horns of the water buffalo, helping to symbolize the life and death of their ancestors[5]. The more traditional designs are geometric, with the influence of other symbols such as flowers, birds, and fish[5]. (introduced over the centuries) Featuring rich patterns, elegant colors, and a peculiar style, wax printed cloth is used to make costumes, trappings, and various living utensils with unique, eye-catching and ethnic characteristics[7]. Currently, these wax-printed products made by handicraftsmen and women have extended to the global market to display their unique culture of rural of Chinese art.

Information From 3-to-5's:

After having 3-5 minute discussions with 3-5 adults, I gained a more in-depth understanding of textile production within Xizhou. Below is the information my four 3-to-5 contacts provided.

Mr. Tafel (focused towards bamboo weaving) [18]

Mr. Tafel is the main chaperone on out Microcampus trip and is responsible/accountable for all of the students. During my 3-to-5 meeting with him, he informed me about the He Yi Cheng basket weaving village just South of the Ficus Tree. To get there from Ran Yi Xiang you would go down to the Ficus Tree, turn right and follow that road for 100m, then when the road splits, go left and keep following that road until you reach the village. He said that there are so many people whose occupations relate to bamboo weaving in mass production. He also said that most of the people who are involved in this business are the elders as the younger generations are out working higher paying jobs or going to school. He has also told me about a weekly market around a 30-minute car ride away, called Sha Ping. This is said to be a regional market where many people come from all over Yunan province to sell their products, so there will be many bamboo weavers selling their baskets from all over the area. Another place that he mentioned I could visit was Zhou Cheng, which is another small village where handmade-bamboo baskets are sold and where a couple bamboo weavers live.

Ms. Mai (focused towards bamboo weaving) [17]

Ms. Mai is Mr. T's wife who is the other main chaperone on Microcampus. She mentioned me taking a visit to the wet market which is located in Xizhou since there are quite a few people selling bamboo woven products there, but the only thing is that it is only opened during the morning time.  She also told me about some souvenir shops on the way to the Linden Centre where bamboo woven products are being sold and that those people could tell me some information on the business aspects of weaving. Another place that would be good to check out for more information on bamboo weaving is SiFangJie. If I walk around the square I will see a few different people who are selling bamboo woven products and they could provide me with a  lot of information about the weaving process itself as well as the economic side of selling the products and how to price the items. All of the residents and people who live in He Yi Chen either make bamboo woven products as a living or as a secondary job that they specialize in. She also mentioned that I should take a look at the Xizhou morning market because there are some people who are selling their bamboo woven products there.

Ms. Linden [19]

An interview will be scheduled when Ms. Liden is said to return...

Information From Local Contacts:

11/30/2017 Mr. Wang [20]

* Mr. Wang has been making these baskets starting from a young age and therefore is very skilled so he can make 2 baskets per day with each basket taking four hours
* An average working day consists of around eight hours of weaving
* It is a family business, they do not hire any workers
* He has a certificate that acknowledges his basket weaving as a traditional craft
* Bamboo weaving is his only job
* He is 74 years old and is continuing to make baskets since he has no retirement funds
* Only a few people in the family weave; Mr. Wang, his granddaughter, his son, and his daughter
* His day consists of waking up in the morning resting a bit, and then on to an eight hour day of weaving
* They sell their items from their private shop, in markets throughout the area, as well as at the festival
* Everything that he sells is handmade
* It is not possible for a machine to make the baskets or other bamboo woven crafts 
* All of the bamboo weavers in the area work separately
* The weavers in the region do no compete since the market for weaving is so big and there are not many people making the products so it does not impact their business
* People are encouraging the baskets that are made out of bamboo rather than plastic because the plastic products are affecting Lake Erhai
* In order to find a price for the products they look at the cost of the raw materials then they add some profit, they set the margin, and then after that is added then they know their price
* The prices of baskets can vary throughout seasons 
* The prices of baskets do not differ for locals
* Mr. Wang says that the people in the countryside people change prices for westerners versus local people. He believes it is important to set a fair price and stick with that. 
* He once had people from the Dali TV Station come and interview him about his business
* The designs of the baskets vary in size and shape; there are bigger and smaller as well as square, rectangular, longer, taller
* Does not differentiate the weaving designs
* When you are making a smaller basket you would make the weave much tighter than if you were making a larger basket
* When making the color in the baskets they dye the individual strand of bamboo before they weave it into the basket
* Their most popular product is a small hand carry basket with colored strands. It is the most popular because, although the color is nice and adds to it, it is also very functional and useful for holding small things and items
* All weaving methods were passed down through generations, and the quality of the products has stayed consistent
* Everyone in the family knows how to weave; even Mr. Wang's 3-year-old great granddaughter knows how to weave

11/29/2017 Mr. Wang's Daughter [21]

*Weaving does not provide enough money to live off of. *Typically people farm as their main job, and then they weave as a secondary job
*Now only elders weave as the younger people are out working in higher paying jobs in order to receive sufficient income
*The weavers in He Yi Cheng do not trade very far, the farthest they would travel is within a 2-3 hour radius
*The popularity of bamboo weaving has significantly decreased throughout the years
*All weaving methods were passed down from ancestors
*Natural colored baskets sell better, people do not like the artificial colors as much
*They do not weave different designs/patterns, the only thing they change is the size of the product itself; so it could be round shaped or square or rectangular
*The most popular product is baskets
*The sizes of baskets vary from small to large
*Designs for baskets are not intricate nor artistic as the baskets main use is for carrying items such as rice. Therefore the baskets need to be durable and functional rather than dainty and pleasing to the eye
*A typical basket takes around 20 bamboo sticks to make, and each stick costs around 5 Mao
*They sell their baskets for around 10-15 kuai but no more than that
*They admit that they price the items higher for westerners and white people
*They do not achieve much profit as it costs around 10 kuai to make and the maximum they sell items for is 10 kuai
*They said that it is cheaper to buy bamboo products from home businesses as it costs less 
*They stated that bamboo baskets that are sold at the market can cost anywhere from 60-80 kuai even though it is the exact same quality and same product that is sold at home businesses
11/23/2017 Ms. Li [22]
In Happy Embroidery, a local embroidery shop, both single and double-sided embroideries does not need to tie knots to start sewing. Ms. Li, also known as my embroidery teacher and the head of Happy Embroidery, was happy to give me plenty of information concerning my topic. 
*The silk even-weave fabric that people embroider on is very dense and closely knitted
*It can trap the silk threads once you sew several times around the same place.
*To cover up the loose threads, simply sew over it
*When doing double sided embroideries, remember to backstitch (definition: sewing with overlapping stitches)
*It is important to keep the designs on both sides layered and full of colors.
*To end a thread, sew several times back and forth at around the same place.
*This would not be visible once the next layer is added on.
*Another way is to sew under all the other threads, so you can hide the ending thread underneath everything else.
I have learned that the bestsellers in Happy Embroidery consist of: panda pieces, blue lily pieces, and 'traditional' Bai minority related pieces. I also found out more about prices, I was told that a piece forty-five by fifty centimeters can be sold for approximately six thousand RMB, most pieces are priced by the time it took to embroider. The most expensive piece of embroidery is currently priced at 98000 RMB and took two years to complete. The least expensive pieces are priced at 150-200 RMB, these take approximately twenty days or more to complete. Happy Embroidery pieces are not only created by the girls working there at the moment, they assign pieces to willing embroiderers and will place finished needlework in the gallery to be sold. If sold, the sewer will receive 80-90% of the profit. Though the people working in Happy Embroidery do not personally dye or unravel their own silk, they do boil their own silkworm cocoons. This process takes 4-5 hours and will result in worm carcasses trapped within the cocoon ready to be unraveled. I was told that all their embroidery is done with silk because silk is soft and easy to manipulate, furthermore, it possesses a singular shine unparalleled in the embroidery thread game. It is also extremely useful when sewing facial expressions or feature, cotton cannot do any of the above.
11/24/2017 Mr. Li [23]
Today I went to an antique dealer named Mr. Li. I asked him about the history of embroidered items that he found. He told me that back then people used silk material but now they use thicker threads when the embroider something. He told me about the history of hats and what they are used for. I found out that during the cultural revolution, hats and embroidered items were destroyed because they were beautiful but during the 1980's when the cultural revolution ended, people started creating these items again. Back then he said that these items were only 20 kuai which was expensive but nowadays it would cost 300 kuai because nobody has these sorts of items anymore. People used to buy these items but now they do not buy them. He said that he got this job because he had an interest in the type of stuff he sold and then he realized that tourists and locals would buy the items. So he likes this job because one it gives him money for a living and two he has an interest in it.
11/27/2017 Ms. Yang [24]
Ms. Yang is a woman who works alone, and sells her handmade bamboo products at the Xizhou morning market. She helped confirm a lot of the information that I had already learned previously. Other than that, she also gave me a bit more insight into the Xizhou bamboo weaving economy.
*She makes all of the woven products on her own with no help from family or friends
*It takes her around 3 hours to make one of the bamboo scoops(shown below)
*Her most popular product is a hand-held bamboo basket that takes her 4 hours to make it
*She says that she learned traditional weaving methods from her parents, although she still creates new designs by herself
*In order to come up with a new design she simply thinks about it, and then tries to figure out how to make it
*The artificially colored products sell better than the naturally colored products
*The people who sell the bamboo products in the markets compete with each other for business
*There has been a decrease in the popularity of bamboo woven products
*She said that people used to buy the products to be functional such as using the scoops for construction, but she says that now people will buy the things as decoration in their home
*Before people would use bamboo woven products, but now people are using plastic and metal items as they are more functional
*She said that all of her prices are the same for locals and tourists
*She sells all of her products at different markets; she does not own a private shop
 morning market, because there are some people who are selling their bamboo woven products there.
11/28/2017 Ms. Duan [25]
Ms. Duan is a woman who owns a small textile store within the Xizhou local market. She sells bamboo woven products, embroidery, dyed fabrics,  as well as a variety of other household items. She has all of her bamboo products imported from her hometown of Xia Guan. She helped provide a lot of helpful information about the bamboo trade, production rates, and overall economy
*In Xia Guan,  the bamboo is much thicker than the bamboo that is grown in the mountains here
*The prices in Xia Guan starts out quite expensive so the pricing of the bamboo products are more expensive compared to local bamboo baskets
*She said that her profit is around 10-20 Kuai per large woven basket
*She said that she figures out her selling price by taking what she paid for the materials then taking 50% of that and adding it to the cost. For example, if the materials cost 10 Kuai then she would sell the basket for around 15 Kuai and her profit is then 50% or the 5 Kuai
*Baskets are more expensive now due to the fact that labor cost has gone up it used to be anywhere from 30-50 Kuai a day per worker, but it is now 100 Kuai a day per worker 
*3 Years ago the baskets could be sold for 30-40 Kuai, but now they are sold for 70-80 Kuai
*There used to be different prices for locals versus tourists, but the prices have now evened out
*The locals know how much an item should cost, and so if the price is too high for a tourist the local people will tell the tourists and then rumors would spread and people would no longer buy from that person. In the end it is better to keep a fair price so as to not lose business.
*Business is sometimes hard since only elder people buy the baskets
*Also the tourists constantly think they are getting ripped off, so they do not buy the items
*Ms. Duan said that the people who make the baskets are the elders in the family who do not have the energy to go and work in a higher paying job
*She also said that some kids in Elementary School occasionally make the baskets when they have free time
*When a family is really poor the younger children will often make baskets, but if a family is wealthier then there is no need for the children to make baskets.
*Ms. Duan's family used to make baskets, but they decided to stop 2 years ago as it is not worth it, and it is providing an income of nearly nothing
*Bamboo basket weaving does not provide a sufficient income, and it would be very very hard to make a living off of it
*There is no need for competition among bamboo product sellers as most of the prices are the same, and there is not a big market for the products 
*There has been a serious decrease in people who are making baskets, as it is no longer worth the effort when the reward for doing so is little
*Bamboo products are sold in a variety of different areas, so that is another reason that there is no competition
*Less skilled people take around 1 day to make a large basket, whereas more skilled people could make around 1 and a half large baskets a day
*The most popular product sold is the large baskets(shown below) that are used for carrying items
*She also sells hats and fans(shown below), and their prices are much cheaper as they are made by machine
*Handmade items cost more than the machine made items as it requires more labor
*The naturally colored items sell better than the artificial/dyed products
*On the naturally colored products, a layer of natural colored paint is applied to repel insects or bugs that will eat the bamboo
*People are still trying to create new designs for weaving. *Bamboo baskets have two design styles; the traditional weaving designs/patterns as well as new designs that have been created in the past 10 years

Answers to Previous Questions (from Phase 1):

Current Local Status:
1. How has the local textile industry been affected considering the increase in textile machinery?
From what my many contacts have told me, I know that the local textile industry has been impacted because of the many developments in textile machinery. The need for greater amounts of textile products is now increasing because of our constantly growing population. China is the largest and most developed textile producer throughout the entire globe and with the more and more locals moving into cities, I can imagine that many rural communities are being affected negatively. Some of the effects may include a decrease in local artisans wages and less artwork being bought because of the machinery-produced alternative.
2. How are the daily lives of the local artisans affected when having a textile occupation?
For all the local artisans that are part of the textile industry, I can imagine that their lives are consumed with producing quality pieces of traditional in the quickest amount of time possible. I know that from
the ages as early as 5 years old, local artisans assist their children to become skilled craftsmen, some of these skills are passed through so many generations that it becomes a family tradition. Once the artists in training had mastered his/her skill, they must learn to make a living on their own. I can infer that an average day would be spent going through the process of planning, designing, and producing their skilled handicraft. In order to survive, a typical artisan must learn to make a business out of what they can make, selling their products (at an affordable price) to both tourists and locals.
3. What does it take to become a local textile artist/manufacturer?
From what I have learned and from what I can infer, it takes quite a lot of time and patience to become what is known as a skilled textile craftsman/women. As I have mentioned earlier, children with a specific textile skill in their bloodline learn the ways of their parents at a very young age. It is said that it takes three years of daily training to be able to master a craft of the textile arts. However, those who plan to pursue in their textile craft must practice for many more years in order to truly understand the ways of their craft. (their way of survival)
Cultural Technique:
4. Are there any specific textile techniques that relate to the culture in Dali, and if so, how?
According to my research, I have only studied the basics of textile technique within rural China. Becuase of the sources I have found, none of my knowledge is narrowed (yet) down to what lives and culture within Dali. However, I do know that the basic artistic textile techniques of China include spinning, dyeing, weaving, and embroidering. Each of these techniques are broad and are yet to be narrowed down while I uncover what makes these techniques different from the rest of China. I will pursue this question when interviewing locals and investigating the culture around me, I can't wait!
I have found that this question does not relate to my research since the answer is based on Chinese traditions. This is not specific the topic that I have chosen to pursue and therefore will not relate to my final product.
5. What is the difference between using natural and chemical based fibers when producing textile artwork within Xizhou?
Natural Fibers
The journey of a cotton plant starts somewhere on a farm in late March. A dry breeze blows across the endless stretch of fields as the woolly cotton seeds are planted in neat rows in the sunny state of Florida. In autumn the crops will be ready to harvest, but first, the plants are intensely watered for up to 200 days. Transformed from a small seed into the clothes you see in stores, cotton has been around for thousands of years. Travelling from fields to manufacturers and back again, cotton accounts for 40 percent of clothing manufactured around the world. Although, cotton is prone to shrinking and has little resilience; it is very absorbent, soft and strong, while still easy to care for. This natural fiber is hypoallergenic making it a suitable choice for those with sensitive skin. Cotton is all-natural, making for a comfortable and breathable fabric year-round
Chemical-based Fibers
Polyester, derived from coal and petroleum, the fibers are the result of a chemical reaction between acid and alcohol. The exact process which the material goes through varies, though the specifications are kept secret because of competition between different companies. This fabric is exceptionally durable and long-lasting, compared to natural fibers, due to its synthetic qualities. Polyester is resistant to stretching, shrinking and wrinkles; although the synthetic has a “plastic-like” characteristic, which is non-breathing and unfit for the summer months. It is easily cared for and retains shape well, in addition to drying quickly, which is helpful for outdoor clothing. Since polyester is man-made the toxins used may cause irritation or become uncomfortable on the skin.
6. What are the different ways of handling textile quality control?
I can currently only infer the answer to the question above, for I can "guestimate" how Chinese textiles are kept clean, safe, and organized. First of all, the color of the fabric must be checked regularly for changes in color can represent stretched or moldy fabric. To make sure the natural fibers are in good condition, one must also monitor the condition of the raw materials such as fabric, thread, bamboo. The stitch strength and fabric durability are key concepts in order to make textile products in great condition and in the best quality possible. Finally, I also have conducted early research that has said fabric exposed to ultraviolet rays and/or the sun’s rays must be monitored more frequently than the fibers kept indoors. It is said that when natural fibers are exposed to radiation, the durability could decrease depending on its overall quality to start off with.
7. How does Chinese embroidery impact the lives of both the locals and tourists?
The overall idea of embroidery is very broad and is yet to be narrowed to the specific craft's culture, process, and technique. From what I know so far, embroidery is the handicraft of decorating fabric or other materials using a needle to apply thread/yarn. Embroidery may also incorporate other materials such as pearls, beads, quills, and sequins. This complex handicraft impacts everyone living within the Xizhou community is a numerous amount of ways... I plan to focus my research on conducting interviews with locals and tourists as well as independently uncovering/investigating the components of this Chinese local craft.  My goal is to also investigate how this Chinese art form is viewed and produced in other cultures, such as communities within China and throughout the world. (this relates to all other art forms within my Chinese textile research)
8. How does Chinese batik impact the lives of both the locals and tourists?
The overall idea of batik is very broad and is yet to be narrowed to the specific craft's culture, process, and technique. From what I know so far,  is a technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to whole cloth, or cloth made using this technique. To make a batik, selected areas of the cloth are blocked out by brushing or drawing hot wax over them, and the cloth is then dyed. This complex handicraft impacts everyone living within the Xizhou community is a numerous amount of ways... I plan to focus my research on conducting interviews with locals and tourists as well as independently uncovering/investigating the components of this Chinese local craft.  My goal is to also investigate how this Chinese art form is viewed and produced in other cultures, such as communities within China and throughout the world. (this relates to all other art forms within my Chinese textile research)
9. How does Chinese bamboo weaving impact the lives of both the locals and tourists?
The overall idea of bamboo weaving is very broad and is yet to be narrowed to the specific craft's culture, process, and technique. From what I know so far, bamboo weaving is a method of textile production in which two distinct sets of yarn or threads are interlaced at right angles to form a fabric or cloth. This complex handicraft impacts everyone living within the Xizhou community is a numerous amount of ways... I plan to focus my research on conducting interviews with locals and tourists as well as independently uncovering/investigating the components of this Chinese local craft.  My goal is to also investigate how this Chinese art form is viewed and produced in other cultures, such as communities within China and throughout the world. (this relates to all other art forms within my Chinese textile research)
10. How does Chinese tie-dyeing impact the lives of both the locals and tourists?
The overall idea of Chinese tie-dye is very broad and is yet to be narrowed to the specific craft's culture, process, and technique. The process of tie-dye typically consists of folding, twisting, pleating, or crumpling fabric or a garment and binding with string or rubber bands, followed by application of dye(s). This complex handicraft impacts everyone living within the Xizhou community is a numerous amount of ways... I plan to focus my research on conducting interviews with locals and tourists as well as independently uncovering/investigating the components of this Chinese local craft.  My goal is to also investigate how this Chinese art form is viewed and produced in other cultures, such as communities within China and throughout the world. (this relates to all other art forms within my Chinese textile research)

1) Online: Tie-Dyeing of Bai Ethnic,, assessed 2 November 2017
2) Online: Chinese tie-dyeing: an ancient tradition, assessed 2 November 2017
3) Online: Learn about Chinese Embroidery, assessed 5 November 2017
4) Online: Chinese Embroidery, assessed 5 November 2017
5) Online: Batik in China, assessed 7 November 2017
6) Online: Chinese Batik: Wax Printing, assessed 7 November 2017
7) Online: China Batik, assessed 7 November 2017
8) Online: The World of Bamboo, assessed 8 November 2017
9) Online: Bamboo Weaving Art, assessed 8 November 2017
10) Online: Traditional Textile Techniques, assessed 8 November 2017
11) Online: Textile Industry, assessed 8 November 2017
12) Online: The Textile Process, assessed 8 November 2017
13) Online: Marisa K. (Alumni E.),, accessed 9 November 2017
14) Online: Maya K. (Alumni O.), accessed 9 November 2017
15) Online: Lena L. (Alumni H.),, accessed 9 November 2017
16) Online: Rayne L. (Alumni G.),, accessed 9 November 2017
17) Mai, Hai Sam. Personal Interview conducted by Holly D., November 20, 2017
18) Tafel, Craig. Personal Interview conducted by Holly D., November 20, 2017
19) Ms. Linden. Personal Interview (supposed to be) conducted by Holly D., November 20, 2017
20) Mr. Wang. Personal Interview conducted by Holly D., November 30, 2017
21) Mr. Wang's Daughter. Personal Interview conducted by Holly D., November 29, 2017
22) Ms. Li. Personal Interview conducted by Holly D., November 23, 2017
23) Mr. Li. Personal Interview conducted by Holly D., November 24, 2017
24) Ms. Yang. Personal Interview conducted by Holly D., November 27, 2017
25) Ms. Duan. Personal Interview conducted by Holly D., November 28, 2017

Looking back, it is so hard to believe that the amount of research I have collected is all written down in this significant phase. Now that I have finally finished, it is clear that I have enough information to continue with my final product. Next in Phase 4, I will prepare and plan an outline that will describe the stages of my desired final product.



I thought it was really

I thought it was really intresting to think aobut how something seemingly irrelevant, such as industrialisation of textiles, has made a big impact on the social classe gap and enciromental issues.

Textile workers

It I an eye opener to hear how whole families pull together to help sustain the family unit. How skilled they must b to be making such creative items. I think they are far superior than the factory made ones,you are all so blessed to have been given the chance to observe the day making of these objects.

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!