On April 23, a colorful activity was organized by Campus Advisors and staff of PKU Shenzhen ——Tie-Dye Art Party. Twenty students from PKUSZ as well as the other schools of UTSZ participated. The participants created special patterns with highly saturated colored dye. It was clear that they enjoyed an unforgettable journey of tie-dye. Let’s explore more of the wonderful event.
What is Tie-Dye?
Tie-dye is one of the traditional Chinese hand dyeing techniques. When you tie-dye, you twist cloth, tie it into knots and then apply dye. In this way, you can produce beautiful patterns with rich colors.
The tie-dye process is divided into two parts: tying and dyeing. In the first step of tying, you need to wet the T-shirt with water and wring it out, then you fold and tie up the T-shirt according to the design you want. Spiral, bullseye, rainbow stripes are four typical patterns you can choose.
The next step, dyeing, you apply colorful dyes to stain the white T-shirt. Follow the instructions of the pattern you choose and apply the dye along the lines, then you will witness the birth of your own masterpiece.
Warm-up: Enjoy snacks and get to know each other!
Delicious welcome snacks were prepared in advance. We had oranges, biscuits, beverages and watermelons. Everyone got comfortable and relaxed enjoying yummy foods and the pleasant atmosphere.
Next came self-introductions. Participants sat around the table, making self-introduction one by one. They briefly introduced their English name, major, hometown and hobbies. After a round of self-introductions, everybody was happy to know each other and was ready to have some fun.
Preparation work: learn how to tie-dye and get protected
Getting prepared is important. At the beginning of our party, one of the event organizers, Leighton Wong, showed us how to prepare a T-shirt. She had already experienced the process of tie-dyeing and created a sample tie-dye T-shirt. Her experience made her explanations very clear. Also, if anyone had questions, she offered instant help.
After the quick introduction on how to tie-dye, it was time for the fun to really get started. Everyone got “suited up” for the party—wearing disposable gloves, plastic aprons and shoe covers. This is because if the dye were to accidentally fall on your clothes, it would be hard to remove. A small printed handbook was also provided for every group with picture illustrations and detailed explanations of the procedures. In this way, every participant was able to start their dyeing with the guidance of the handbook.
From this extra preparation, we could see how considerate the organizers were!
Participants getting protected
Just do it: let’s start tie-dye
Everybody got a white T-shirt and a small square cotton napkin. The cotton napkin was the perfect practice canvas. Participants got to first try out tie-dye techniques and coloring on it before graduating to the bigger T-shirt. Some participants had great success on their first attempts! Others thought the end result wasn’t exactly what they were hoping for so they were glad to have this practice before the T-shirt.
Thanks to the participants’ imagination and creativity, we are able to see the endless creative possibilities. Some participants tied a bow, staining it with white and orange dyes; some rolled a spiral pattern, and colored it with mixture of several dyes. Creative ones chose to make unique knots which were invented by themselves. Each creation brightened up our party.
Dyeing is not as easy as it looks. The dose of dye is hard to control. You’d better be focused when applying the dye or it may become a disaster for the light will be too dark to rescue.
Everyone was working on their tie-dye. They carefully stained the T-shirts with different colors. They exchanged tips with each other to become more adept at tie-dye as they practiced. They worked collectively and made progress together.
Showing off the creations
After tying and dyeing, everybody had their own T-shirt. Each T-shirt was fully personalized and displayed the creator’s creativity.
Everyone was happy to share their own tie-dye creation, some looked like a starry sky; some looked like wheat fields; and others were full of modern elements.
One thing that’s interesting about tie-dye is you never know how the clothes will be until the last step, and this is why it’s fun to do it. It was a wonderful evening of fun. The participants learned new skills, made new friends and had a relaxing recreational activity after a long week of studying.
Let’s look some comments from our participants!
Elsa: It was really a precious opportunity for me, as it allowed me the temporary freedom to escape from heavy study tasks, and I enjoyed the whole process. My pressure went away when watching the process of tie-dye. I sincerely hope that we will have more activities like this, calling for more creative activities.
Zephyr: I’ve made a square towel and a T-shirt by myself. It was the first time for me to do this manual work. I enjoyed myself a lot, and learned a lot from the process. If given the second opportunity, I will keep it simple—never over-egg the pudding.
Sarina: As one of the organizers, I have made a sample T-shirt in advance. During the process, I was amazed by the wonder of art. At the Friday party, I was very happy to watch that some participants followed the guidance of our PPT to design patterns. It was really an unforgettable time!
We ended up taking a family photo to memorize the art journey. Everyone has created beautiful works. Let’s thank all the organizers and every participant.
Written by Peng Shaojuan
Photos by Peng Shaojuan