Phase 1: Posing Real Questions

Updated 2 years 7 months ago

In Phase 0 I chose my inquiry project which is the Environmental Impact of the Tie-Dye Industry. Here is Phase 1, this is where I will be building some background knowledge on my inquiry project and will create questions that I will soon answer during the 28 day trip in Xizhou. 

What I already know:

Before I make a list of questions regarding my inquiry project I will explain what I already know.  Fashion and clothing can be a big part of any lifestyle, it is embedded into our routines. Our clothing can describe our personalities, but most people like me do not usually research how most of our clothing is made before we buy it, we only focus on how it looks or how it fits. Many items of clothing that I buy are usually made in China. I also know that China is one of the biggest countries that manufacture clothing and products and it takes an enormous toll on the environment. Many brands and shops are known to be very eco-friendly, at times even here in Shanghai you can find many stores using materials like bamboo to make things like bikes instead of making them out of plastic. Some things that I also know about tie-dyeing IS that it originated in Asia near the 8th century and it spread out around the world, and there are many ancient tie-dye pieces that were made in China. 

Where I learned this from:

Last year I went on a nine-day trip to Malaysia, and during this trip, I learned many things about the environment more particularly how to take care of it. Because of this trip, I now have interest in studying about places and ways that help make the world a cleaner place. I also learned more about tie-dye and the natural dye process from reading other alumni's projects like Erica L.'s.

What do I want to know about this topic:

I am very excited to learn new information on the tie-dye industry in Xizhou. I am also very interested to learn new ways on how to make a tie-dyed piece with techniques passed down from generations instead of making a shirt at home with a tie-dye kit that you can buy at a store. There are many things that I want to learn about how environmentally friendly the tie-dye industry is. Some things I would research are to see the process of making tie-dye pieces and what dyes, also what cloths are used to make the pieces. I also want to research about the water usage in the process of making a piece and also what type of water they use and if they add any chemicals too. 
I have already done some background research and it will help me create questions. Now I will move on to Phase 3 where I will do more research and make questions concerning my topic.
Big Questions: 
I have created this list of questions to help "fuel" my inquiry project process and will also help expand my knowledge of the textile industry and water usage in Xizhou. The italicized words are potential answers I have the questions that I have created.


1. What plants make natural dyes? 
Natural dyes are made with plants like indigo wood and water. Meanwhile, chemical dyes are made with coloring and chemicals.

2. What type of dye (manufactured or natural) is mostly used? 
Manufactured might be mostly used because they make the process faster. This is because when using natural dyes they have to prepare them from scratch. 

3. Do naturally dyed and chemically dyed pieces have the same prices?
A possible answer could be that naturally dyed pieces are more expensive because they are made by hand and take around 2-3 hours to make without drying. 

4. Which natural dye color is the most preferred? 
According to pictures blue seems to be the most preferred color. 


5. When do they start and who teach them?
Girls or boys, but most girls start to learn at a young age to be able to support their family. Elders usually teach younger generations how to tie-dye.

6. Where do they sell their products? 
A possible answer would be that they sell their finished products in textile markets. 

Batik vs. Tie-Dye:

7. Is tie-dye used more than Batik, if so why?
A possible answer might be that tie-dye is used more than batik because it is easier to make.

Past & Future:

8. How important is tie-dyeing to Bai culture?
Tie-dying might have been an important part of Bai culture in the past because their designs represent their daily lives and their nature (plants, animals, lakes, etc.). 

9. How will the tradition last in the future/how can we preserve it?
Tye-dying is becoming an endangered tradition, it could possibly vanish in a few decades. But ways to keep this tradition alive is that older generations can teach younger generations how to make tie-dye pieces and pursue tie-dying as a career.


10. From ancient times how have the techniques or process evolve?
It seems that the process has become faster for factories that make their pieces with manufactured dyes, but factories that use natural dyes and older techniques spend more time than the factories that use manufactured dyes. 

Before going to Xizhou I want to further my understanding of the textile industry in Xizhou and gain more basic knowledge on my topic. I will need to focus more on their water usage and how to preserve more water. This will help me understand more about my topic in an environmental point of view. 
After getting my 10 big questions I will be moving on to Phase 2. In Phase 2 I will be finding helpful resources to help me research more about my topic. 
Hi there! My name is Ana M. and I am a proud representative of the Ultimate Microcampus group! I was born in the United States, but since I was 4 I have been living in different places like Brazil and China. I am now back in Shanghai and I am getting used to my old schedule. Being a part of the November-December 2017 trip was the best decision I have ever made. I will remember the great and the not-so-great parts of the trip. I have been able to learn many life lessons and I hope to carry these forever. I am missing the fresh air, the delicious food, and being able to see the brightest stars at night!