Last week we hosted a group of 8th graders from Chapel Hill, NC. The group was particularly unique because there were 30 Belgian exchange students accompanying the 45 American students. To add further excitement, there were several video journalist recording their visit for an upcoming PBS documentary! (Click here to see the footage that Blue Ridge is featured in!)
The group enjoyed our Odyssey course as well as participated in many team games and initiatives. Basic communication was a slight struggle due to the language barrier but fortunately the students knew a limited amount of English, had several French teachers to help translate, and their American counterparts (many of whom who had studied abroad the previous year) were happy to help as well.
One afternoon the group requested to do Tie Dye, an easy and fun craft that is very representative of our country. Tie Dye is the process of resist dying textiles/clothing and is a modern version of traditional dying methods used in many cultures throughout the world. Tie-dying became fashionable in the late 60s and remains popular with many teenagers today.
The shirts first had to soak for about 10 minutes in a washing soda & water solution. After that, students were instructed to begin twisting, folding, tying, binding or crumbling the fabric based on several design options. Common Tie Dye patterns include: Spiderweb, Joyful, Starburst, Sunburst/Circles, Spiral, Friendship, Pleats/Stripes, The “V”, Crumple or they could create their own!
After the shirts were tied, the dye was applied to the shirts. We used primarily Red, Yellow, Black, and Blue (4 colors that represent both the Belgium and American flag). After that, the shirts were put in plastic bags in order to sit overnight and the next day we hung the shirts out to dry. Washburn Center has never looked more colorful!
It is important to remember that the end result of tie-dye can be predicted and controlled to some extent, but the element of surprise is what makes Tie-Dye an adventure! Each design is always special and one of a kind. Here are some of the most creative (and patriotic) shirts from the group:
The students had a blast and the tie-dye turned out wonderfully! Hopefully the shirts will be lifelong souvenirs and reminders of the student’s time visiting our country. Merci beaucoup to them and we hope to see them again soon!