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Leah Waldman

New York, NY, United States

Product Design

Member since September 08, 2008

  • Mid-Review Summary

    Arts & Culture

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

    • Pricing- is $100 feasible?

    • Clearly identify which artisan group I am working with (where they are located)- maybe different artisan groups can collaborate.

    • Clearly show how the organization that will provide solar lighting to the artisans fits into the system.

    • Provide a tag on the product that perhaps leads to a website that will give the user more information about the artisans and where the product is coming from.

    • Make a diagram of other industries (metal, glass, resin, etc) that are close in vicinity to the artisans in order to justify the reasoning for using another material.

    • What is keeping the artisans impoverished? How can I give them control and empower them? Perhaps provide them with internet access so that they can connect with the buyers?

    • How to make a 'model' so that the product can be easily mass produced?

    • How will this be shipped? Maybe flat packed and then the user assembles it?

    • Will the heat from the light bulb melt the glue?

    • What do the artisans want to make? How can I further involve them in the process?

    • Design a jig to cut the bones?

    • Find a faster and sturdier way to attach the pieces.

    • Prove that I am providing an increase in their income.

  • bare

    Arts & Culture


    Mission Statement: Revitalization of an artisanal craft using bone, would serve not only to improve the lives of the skilled artisans, but also to allow for a product whose life-cycle is close to 100% environmentally sustainable.

    Board 1

    Board 2

  • Competitive Analysis 1

    Competitive Analysis 2

    I compared my design to light fixtures made specifically for the Indian market, as well as to light designs that emphasize the use of shadows and patterns.

  • Users for first test? My product targets the local Indian market, specifically the middle and upper class. My user group for the first test therefore, will be middle/upper class Indians (in India).

    What criteria will you use to select the individuals who will test your prototype? I will select individuals to form a controlled group that I will use for all three tests. The group will consist of Indians in India, both men and women, who belong to the middle/upper class, and whom are settled in terms of their career and support themselves financially. I do not know them personally, but have access to them through one of my contacts in India.

    What type of environment will you test them in? I will test them in their own home in order to get a sense of their living environment and their taste, and perhaps get an idea of whether my design will be successful in this market.

    As I will not be able to travel to India to conduct the test, I have found someone in India who will be administering the tests. This individual will take photo and written documentation and send it back to me.

    What type of relationship do you need with your NFP and users to conduct your test? I am still working on establishing a relationship with an NFP. In terms of users, I do not need to have any sort of relationship with them- it would be best if I do not know them in order to get unbiased, objective feedback.

  • Revised Executive Brief


    In 1989 the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) banned the use of ivory in order to protect endangered elephants. This greatly affected the livelihoods of artisans in India who had been working with ivory for generations. When the use of ivory was banned, the artisans began to use buffalo and camel bones as a substitute in order to sustain a living and keep their traditions and skills alive. Bone is not a ‘new’ material however, but has been used for centuries by various cultures to make tools, musical instruments, spiritual artifacts, jewelry, paint pigments, and glue; the artisans in India have merely manipulated the material to suit specific demands of international buyers.

    Unlike ivory for which elephants were killed, buffalos and camels are not killed in order to obtain the bone. The bone is taken from buffalos in slaughterhouses in Muslim communities (as it is illegal to kill cows in India because they are sacred to the Hindu religion), as well as from buffalo and camel that die a natural death in the farming industry. The bone therefore, is a by-product of other industries. It is also important to note that although the bone industry only utilizes the leg bones of the buffalo and camel because the pieces are large and therefore require the least amount of labor to manipulate, the other parts of the skeleton are used in other industries- hence, no waste is generated.

    Although the bone industry started by repl...

  • BTW


    I posted a link to an article earlier, but didn't explain why I put it up, so perhaps it made no sense...

    The article is talking about how factory workers in China are being laid off due to the economic downturn. I thought this was interesting because it is talking about a bigger problem of what happens when one economy depends on another. And it forces one to think about how sustainable it is to have products manufactured in other countries... and would it work to live off a solely local economy??


  • Competition

    Arts & Culture

    As mentioned in my earlier post, I have changed the direction of my thesis. Instead of using the current skills of the artisans and simply creating a new product that is not already being made, I am trying to explore the material's potential to create something that the artisans are not used to making and did not think of doing with bone.

    I want to explore how I could possibly manipulate the material to interact with light- so I am developing architectural panels.

    My product compared with other, existing ones:

    -it is hand crafted by artisans

    -use of a material that is not currently being used in this industry

    -manufacture of product provides fair wages to artisans that are currently being exploited

    -the material is 100% environmentally sustainable

    -manipulation of an age-old material that has not been explored in this way before

  • NFP/User Testing


    I have been struggling for the past few months to try and connect with a non-profit organization that would be able to help me with my research or with user testing. I was in touch with Aid to Artisans, Institute for International Social Development, Community Friendly Movement, and Dastkar; all of which have the same mission as my thesis, which is to better the lives of artisans in developing countries. Unfortunately however, none of the organizations were able to provide any assistance in terms of research- either because they had no knowledge of the bone craft or because they did not have time to work with students. Also, I was able to get direct access to the artisans through exporters that I was able to contact through my mother.

    At the end of last semester, however, I thought that I had established connection with Community Friendly Movement (who have an office in New York as well as in Delhi) as they were willing to meet and speak with me, and also had access to bone artisans. Unfortunately however, when I went to visit them in Delhi, they were not able to provide any new information- I thought that although they may not be able to connect me with the artisans, they may be able to tell me about artisan communities and how they work with them and market their products internationally. I did not feel that there was a way in which I could incorporate them into my thesis, although they were interested in my project and were eager to help.

    After my meeting with them, tw...

  • Plan for Next Semester



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My Interests

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