By Kartika Putra
We had travelled for weeks! through villages and towns, down dusty roads, countless bus rides and endless train rides to last us a lifetime! The little town of Zhoucheng was nestled by the sparkling Erhai lake in Dali and housed a collection of dye vats that were visible from the moment we entered.
The team zipped in with motorbikes, dodging stray dogs and whipping past luscious green fields. Bai ladies immerged from their shaded seated positions and greeted us with their beautiful smiles and wrinkly faces. We already knew we were close to what we were looking for. There were dyed table clothes hung from every vertical wall, dye vats encrusted in indigo and salt; and blue dipped hands from every local around. (Read about how we got to Zhoucheng here!)
The Bai minority are known for their stitch resist dyeing techniques and pride themselves on the designs and intricacies that they have mastered through generations of training. We entered a building that housed the works of many individual artisans in town. The designs ranged from birds, flowers and butterflies. The fabrics were a far cry from the machine made replicas we had passed through markets and shops in nearby towns – and we knew instantly that we had found what we were looking for.
The textiles that we chose to feature in our collection were opposite in appearance yet created with the same stitch resist techniques. It was important for us to show the versatility of the technique shown in both our fabrics – an opportunity for other designers to see its use and maybe support the Bai minority as well.
Our YIN fabric is of lighter appearance. Raw fabric closely stitched together and dyed whilst still bounded. With stitching unravelled and removed, the patterns that remain are a beautiful sea of angled blue lines.
Interested in finding out what we created with these fabrics?? Have a look at our WE ARE WARRIORS Collection here!