Craft Platforms: Case studies 邹柳兰蓝染-Zhou Milan Blue dye


Milan Zhou - a blue dye artist


  • Uses social media: Wechat, Tiktok
  • Film short video on Wechat and Tiktok
  • Mobile phone plays an important role in her craft such as recording videos
  • Without internet marketing and online stores, her art relies on oral communication among friends and wechat.
  • 使用的社交媒体:微信,抖音。
  • 在微信和抖音平台上上传短视频。
  • 智能手机在她的手工艺宣传上起到很大作用,比如拍视频等等。
  • 她没有任何线上网站和网店,主要通过朋友之间的口口相传和微信来传播自己工作室的信息。


Figure 1 : Milan’s studio


Zhou Milan is 45 years old, a Han nationality, working in coastal areas such as Guangdong before 2017. After returning to Baishuidong Village, she was influenced by Dr. Jiangjun Ruan who graduated from Chiba University in Japan and studied regional culture. Then she started working as a tour guide while doing blue dyeing. She said that doing blue dyeing was her favorite thing in her life. Milan usually make some blue dyed artworks to display or sell, such as pillows and hanging pictures. In addition, she also provides tourists with blue dyeing experience courses, teaching them to dye cloth, for all ages of experience.


Use of Digital equipment

Digital equipment:

Milan zhou has a mobile phone, she uses it to film Wechat videos and tiktok videos. She used to only use wechat, recently, she was taught to use tiktok hand in hand and influenced by some young people around her.



Use of Social Media

  • Wechat and TiktokMilan Zhou likes to use Wechat the most.



Figure 2 : Milan’s wechat news

Milan  often sends news on wechat to communicate with customers and friends.

Figure 2 (left) Production process

Figure 2 (middle) product display

Figure 2 (right) Blue dye activity record



图2(左) 制作产品的过程



Figure 3 : Milan’s Tiktok news



The challenges of applying digital platforms in Milan’s craft activities

  • 对新媒体、计算机技术、营销技术等不了解也不会用。

    She doesn’t know about new media, computer technology, marketing technology and how to use them.

The digital platforms involved in Milan’s making and marketing


  • Every year, she goes to Southeast Guizhou to learn how to dye cloth and bring back the dyes.
  • There is no internet marketing or online stores, just the word-of-mouth communication between friends and the spread of Wechat circle of friends. Everyone knows that Milan is doing this.
  • Usually there will be some tourists and children to experience dyeing cloth. Both boys and girls, the youngest being only 4 years old, have the same proportion of men and women. Team fee is ¥50 per person, if there are only 2 or 3 people, it is ¥100.
  • 每年都会去一次贵州黔东南学习染布,并带染料回来。
  • 没有网络营销、网店那些,只是朋友间口口相传以及微信朋友圈的传播,大家知道米兰在做这个。
  • 平时会有一些游客、小朋友来体验染布。男孩女孩都有,最小的只有4岁,男女比例差不多。团队收费是50一人,如果只有2、3个人来的话就是100一人。

Figure 4: Children are experiencing blue dye


Please visit the following site to know more about Milan Zhou:  

Wechat: Z18874042669

Tiktok: 2211772788

Contact Us has been produced by the project research team at Queen Mary University of London, UK, and Hunan University, China.

Contact E-mail:

For more information or to speak to the craft research team, please contact:

Prof. Nick Bryan-Kinns

School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science
Queen Mary University of London
London E1 4NS

Prof. Hao Tan

School of Design, Hunan University
Yuelu Mountain, Changsha