thank you for your comments and encouragement, steven. regarding your question about whether the people I have spoken to have provided useful information... i actually spoke to a lot more people, but have only listed the ones that provided useful information that pertained directly to my thesis topic. in almost every case, the people i spoke to connected me to someone else who was able to provide further information, so I now have quite a large network of people that i have established a relationship with. I have documented all my phone and personal interviews so i do have a physical record. the few articles that i cited were suggested readings by some of the people i spoke with, and proved to be extremely helpful in getting insight into the topic of handicrafts, new markets, and the bone product industry.
in terms of getting my hands on some of the raw material... my mother is coming to new york from india on november 11th and i have asked her to bring me samples of the raw material so that i can start experimenting with it and understand the quality/limitations/flexibility/properties of the bone.