Phase 2: Finding Helpful Resources

Updated 2 years 2 months ago

In Phase O I chose my inquiry project which is the Environmental Impact on the Tie-dye industry. In the previous phase, Phase 1, I created "Big Questions" that will help guide me through my research in Xizhou. During this phase, Phase 2, I will be finding useful and helpful sources that will guide me to creating new and interesting questions.

When I first started researching, I searched "tie-dye in China". I found many websites but I picked the websites with the most information that can relate to my topic. From searching "tie-dye in China" I learned more about tie-dye's history, designs, and preferences. Afterwards, I chose to search something more specific, I searched "tie-dye in Xizhou" to get to know more about local designs and its colors so that I will understand the industry and their goals towards an eco-friendly industry.

Firstly, I researched about my main topic which is tie-dye, I searched "tie-dye in China". Many websites popped up, but I wanted to expand my knowledge more. Specifically more about how the industry is in Xizhou, I searched up " tie-dye in Xizhou". After searching this I found a website talking about a town nearby called Zhoucheng and from reading alumni's posts it seems like we might go there. In Zhoucheng there are well-known factories which produce tie-dye pieces. I also wanted to learn more about the history so I also searched "ancient tie-dye pieces". After searching this I saw websites explaining more about its past and how their techniques were like thousands of years ago. Since my inquiry project tie into water usage as well I also wanted to see how it affects the industry throughout the process of a making a piece from scratch. I added all my information I got from my research onto my background research which you can see here

After researching I made sure that my information was valid. I first checked by looking at other websites and see if there was repetitive information to confirm that it is true. I also read many posts from Microcampus Alumni and saw their references to see if I used any same websites which would mean that it is probably a valid resource. Lastly, I found out who was responsible for the post by looking at the citations (bottom of the page) and made sure that there was a name because if there was not a name in the citations (bottom of the page) it is not a trustable on as one with a name.

It was difficult for me to find an expert on Chinese tie-dye, so instead, I decided to contact a website. The reason why I decided to contact a website was that I used their information the most while building up my background research. The email I used to contact them was

Sample Email:

Dear Interact China, 

Hi, My name is Ana M. and I am an 8th  grader at Shanghai American School. At the end of every school year, 7th graders in my school are introduced to a trip called Microcampus. During Microcampus we go to a small town in the Yunnan Province near Dali called Xizhou. While we are in Xizhou we have the choice to study anything related to the town or the Bai culture. I am currently studying the Environmental Impact of the tie-dye industry. I understand that your website talks a lot about Bai minority culture and you guys have a part of your blog dedicated to tie-dying. It would be amazing if you guys could answer a few of my questions. If you gathered your information from other experts on aspects of the tie-dye art from the environmental standpoint that would be incredible. Here is a list of my 10 questions:


1. What plants make natural dyes? 
2. What type of dye (manufactured or natural) is used?
3. Do naturally dyed and chemically dyed pieces have the same prices?
4. Which natural dye color is the most preferred?


5. When do tie-dye artists start making tie-dye pieces and who teaches them?
6. Where do they sell their products?


Batik vs. Tie-Dye:

7. Is tie-dye used more than batik, if so why?

Past & Future: 

 8. How important is tie-dye to the Bai culture?
9. how will the tradition last in the future/ how can or are Bai locals preserving this tradition?


10. From ancient times how have the techniques or process evolve? 




The expert has not responded to me yet.


Now that we have arrived in Xizhou, I have completed my 3-5's with Mr. T, Ms. Mai, Ms. Song, Ms. Braverman, and Mr. Chen. A 3-5's is a three to five-minute conversation that you have with three to five people in the Linden Centre. The reason why I had these conversations are to help me find more resources of people that I can talk to while I am in Xizhou. I decided to talk to Mr. T because he has been in Xizhou 21 times with Microcampus and he helped me and probably knows a lot of people near Xizhou. I chose Ms. Mai because like Mr. Tafel she is very experienced. Ms. Song is also another good person to interview as she has been helping out with microcampus groups for a while now. I also chose to interview Mr. Chen as he was recommended to me by some classmates.  Lastly, I am also planning to interview Ms. Linden when she arrives from her trip as I have heard that she knows a lot about the tie-dye industry. Below are places to go and people to interview that was recommended to me during my 3-5's. 


Mr. Tafel:

  • Start with the customer end then go backward
  • Near Si Fang Jie there are many stores that sell Tie-Dye Pieces 
  • In the stores asking if they make them and if not who are their vendors
  •  Zhoucheng - the capital of textile production in Dali
  •  Talk to people who were affected by the government's plan to preserve lake Erhai in Xizhou

Ms. Mai:

  • Factories in Zhou Cheng 
  • Museums in Zhou Cheng ( Yang Family)
  • A store owned near the "tongue of the lake"
  • Stores near Si Fang Jie
  • Miao Family owns two shops downhill from the Linden Centre
  • Elders that are locals in Zhou Cheng use natural products while making tie-dye products  

Ms. Song:

  •  Xiao Bai has a shop near Linden Centre and she also has another shop in ZhouCheng
  • Ms. Yang owns a shop near Si Fang Jie also owns a big factory in Zhou Cheng and sends some of her textiles to Japan

Mr. Chen: 

  • Xiao He is a lady that works with Xiao Bai and recently opened a store (15-minute walk) near Linden Centre
  • There is a cheese factory which also sells some tie-dye 
  • Look at restaurants or workers about the water preservation plan 

Ms. Linden : 

  • There is a family who has been in the tie-dye industry for a while now
  • Families shop is right near the linden commons


After my 3-5's with Mr. T, Ms.Mai, Ms. Song, Mr. Chen and hopefully with Ms. Linden in the future I feel that I have enough people to help start of my research process and I am also ready to make connections with locals. I am also reading some books from the Linden Centre's libraries to help extend my knowledge concerning water usage and tie-dye industry in China. So far I have been reading a book that talks about water usage in China, the book is called "Water The Epic Struggle For Wealth, Power, And Civilization". In this book, I am hopefully going to find information on Water Usage in Asia.  Now I will be moving on to Phase 3 where I will be gathering information from people that I get to talk to. I will also put information that I get from my books there. 


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!