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Leah Waldman

New York, NY, United States

Product Design

Member since September 08, 2008

I am made up of a series of contradictions, two identities juxtaposed within myself. This starts with my biological make-up and goes on to my personality and my design preferences. I am sometimes paralyzed by my lack of confidence in my decisions and my work. Yet I am confident that I can achieve any goal. I am judgmental, yet I do not discriminate; I am not afraid of taking risks, yet I will not do certain things out of fear of failing; I am attracted to minimalism, yet I also love unnecessary ornamentation. The back and forth that I struggle with and also enjoy, stem from my physical moving around which I loved and hated, and the straddling of two very different cultures that make me who I am.

My Jewish father from New York and my princess mother from India have created a blend of cultures that have felt, at different times of my life, like both a disadvantage and an advantage. Never feeling grounded as I was too American in India and too Indian in America, I evolved into an individual with a personality that has been shaped by the two halves of my ethnicity, yet I don’t see myself as being either American or Indian; I am simply me. When I was younger, the lack of consistency made me feel like an outsider and I tried desperately to fit in. I felt isolated and felt like no one understood my situation. However, at some point I realized that my wide variety of experiences have enabled me to relate to a larger group of people, and be more sensitive and accepting of differences among them. I suddenly did not feel isolated anymore, but rather, I felt that I could belong anywhere.

My motivation for the majority of my decisions is the empathy that I feel for people. I enjoy using the skills I have accumulated as a designer to help those around me. I do not want to design merely to design. Not only do I feel that I am polluting the planet with unnecessary objects, but it seems mindless. I would like to think of myself as a versatile designer who can use design as a tool to better the lives of individuals according to the specific situation.

Being environmentally conscious is also extremely important to me. Everyday I go through at least one list of a category of wasteful items- the last one that I can recall is airplane cutlery. I thought of the number of packets of a plastic knife, fork, and spoon that are provided on an airplane, multiplied by all the various airplanes flying that day, multiplied by the number of days in a year. Each time I do this type of mental calculation, which results in an overwhelmingly large number, I have a small panic attack and do a quick brainstorm of how this endless stream of waste can be changed into a sustainable system.

My ideas are text in my sketchbooks. I want to draw more. I want to use my hands more. I am in love with the imperfections of a man-made object. I want to see more of it in my own work. I want to experiment and explore before I reach a resolution in my designs. I jump to the final iteration of a design, instead of going through various steps in order to develop and refine it; the outcome often ends up looking like an unresolved, first attempt. At times this has been seen as laziness or impatience. And sometimes I wish it were, because that would be easier to solve. What it is however is that I am not afraid of taking risks, as I don’t see failure as failure, but as not having succeeded yet.

My goal this year: to surprise myself.

My Blog / View all (50) Blog Posts

Mid-Review Summary

Arts & Culture

  • Justify the use of bone- reducing waste of the animal, as all parts are being used.

  • Pricing- is $1...

My Interests

  • Industrial Design
  • Environmental Design
  • Communication Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Audio/Visual Design