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International Craft Night

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On Friday night, November 15th in the lower level of the Colket Center, several cultures were combined to create Roanoke’s International Craft Night. Many students gladly took part in the night’s event with smiling faces and creative ideas, perhaps because the night’s craft was tie-dying t-shirts. What college student wouldn’t enjoy tie-dying a free shirt? Colors ranged from yellow to Roanoke’s school color, Maroon. Student’s got to choose from a variety of different sized shirts and tie-dye designs creatively using several bottles of colored liquid dyes to create their own unique shirt. Tie-dye, as almost everybody knows, became popular in America during the 1960’s and ‘70’s when the hippie movement was first rising. Protestors of the Vietnam War expressed their individuality and free spirit with bright, eye-popping colors, escaping the social norm of the plain 1950’s. However, little do people know that tie-dying is a popular past time, and still is an admired craft in different countries such as India, Japan, and China. In fact, ‘Bandhani,’ a form of tie-dying in India, is the oldest known tie-dying tradition that is still practiced today. ‘Bandhani’ consists of tying small pinches of thread together and dipping it in dye, dying the cloth into individual colors resulting in unique designs with small dots. Japan also had their form of tie-dying called ‘Shibori’ where individuals would dye silk or hemp garments in a deep indigo color. The Japanese create dyes by extracting colors from flowers, berries, roots, and leaves, boiling them in hot water, and dipping sections of cloth into the dyes. Dating back to the 16th century, the Chinese also impacted the history of tie-dye with their form called ‘zha-ran.’ The Chinese turned, folded, and tied fabrics such as silk or cotton, so that when the material was dyed, different portions of the fabric would be absorbed with color. However, in China, everyday people weren’t able to wear this unique clothing, only priests and wealthy individuals were lucky enough to model these colorful garments. A popular past time in America is surprisingly and artistically connected to various cultures throughout the world. Next time you slip into your favorite tie-dye shirt, you won’t only be brightening up the world around you, but you’ll also be wearing a piece of history.