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Leah Waldman

New York, NY, United States

Product Design

Member since September 08, 2008


  • Leah_s_board_132_

    To see my presentation board, click here.

    Overall, I got very enthusiastic and encouraging feedback at the mid review on Monday. The main concern people had was that I had not pushed myself far enough in terms of my design proposals. Although they thought my designs were interesting, they felt that I could design more exciting products. What if the bracelets I designed were more contemporary? Some thought that they were still too ethnic and Indian… that I had not moved far enough from what already existed in the bone jewelry industry. One person suggested that I could possibly grind the bones to create powder to use as fertilizer. Although this is an interesting concept, I want to focus more on designing a product- perhaps I could use the waste pieces to make into fertilizer. He mentioned an interesting film about biodynamic farming in India, which I will look into to get an idea of what is currently being done in terms of reusing materials to create a cradle-to-cradle system. Someone else suggested that I use the bone to replace another material that harms the environment significantly, such as plastic- wouldn’t this have more of an impact? Perhaps a car dashboard…? My hesitation with making engineered parts and products like this comes from the fact that I am working with artisans who are skilled at a craft… They work by hand, and each piece is therefore unique. I want to emphasize this, and not design products that need to be exactly the same and that look as though they ...

  • Leah_s_board_132_

    To see my presentation board, click here.

    Overall, I got very enthusiastic and encouraging feedback at the mid review on Monday. The main concern people had was that I had not pushed myself far enough in terms of my design proposals. Although they thought my designs were interesting, they felt that I could design more exciting products. What if the bracelets I designed were more contemporary? Some thought that they were still too ethnic and Indian… that I had not moved far enough from what already existed in the bone jewelry industry. One person suggested that I could possibly grind the bones to create powder to use as fertilizer. Although this is an interesting concept, I want to focus more on designing a product- perhaps I could use the waste pieces to make into fertilizer. He mentioned an interesting film about biodynamic farming in India, which I will look into to get an idea of what is currently being done in terms of reusing materials to create a cradle-to-cradle system. Someone else suggested that I use the bone to replace another material that harms the environment significantly, such as plastic- wouldn’t this have more of an impact? Perhaps a car dashboard…? My hesitation with making engineered parts and products like this comes from the fact that I am working with artisans who are skilled at a craft… They work by hand, and each piece is therefore unique. I want to emphasize this, and not design products that need to be exactly the same and that look as though they ...

  • Emotional perceptions diagram

    Manufacturing techniques diagram of products made by artisans.

    What are the products that serve a similar purpose (to help artisans sustain a living)?

    • Block-printed textiles
    • Hand-woven baskets
    • Blue pottery
    • Bidriware (metal inlay work)
    • African tribal masks
    • Indonesian hand-woven Ikat scarves

    What are material qualities of products that serve this audience (upper class, 25-40 yr olds)?

    • Expensive
    • Trendy
    • Luxurious
    • Unique
    • Rich
    • Organic
    • Disposable
    • Excessive
    • Exotic
    • Custom
    • Precious

    What are materials and manufacturing processes that are available and appropriate for your location (India)?

    Materials:

    • Bone
    • Fabric (silk, cotton, linen)
    • Ceramic
    • Gold
    • Silver
    • Plastic
    • Leather
    • Diamonds
    • Papier Mache
    • Glass
    • Wood
    • Brass
    • Semi-precious stones
    • Horn

    Manufacturing Processes:

    • Sewing
    • Sanding
    • Welding
    • Cutting
    • Grinding
    • Carving/chiseling
    • Printing
    • Weaving
    • Embroidery
    • Casting
    • Gluing
    • Blowing
    • Plating
    • Embossing

    How are similar products that serve this audience in this location distributed?

    • Importing
    • Stores
    • Smuggling
    ...
  • Stakeholder Needs.

    Design Arguments.

  • Concept Board

    Communication

    Concept_boardsmall_177_

    Concept 1: hand-crafted bone jewelry.

    1. Berdiel, Fabiola. 2008. Interview by Leah Waldman, 5 November. The New School, New York, New York.

    2. Dehejia, Jay. 2008. Interview by Leah Waldman, 30 October. The New School, New York, New York.

    3. Lawson, Cynthia. 2008. Interview by Leah Waldman, 30 October. The New School, New York, New York.

    4. Malhotra, Raj. 2008. Interview by Leah Waldman, 5 October. New York, New York.

    5. Source, Chaudhuri, Rajyashree. Email Correspondence to Leah Waldman, Subject line: Referred by Shomik Chaudhuri, November 6, 2008.

    6. Canna, Chris. 2008. Phone Interview by Leah Waldman, 31 October. New York, New York.

  • A revival of the traditional Indian animal bone craft would serve not only to provide skilled artisans with fair-wage jobs, but also to utilize an abundant by-product of India's vast agricultural industry, allowing for a product whose life-cycle is 100% environmentally sustainable.

    When ivory was made illegal, the artisans that worked with this material began to use animal bones as a substitute in order to keep the traditions of this craft alive. Today, there is a relatively small industry of bone products that attempt to replicate products that were originally made from ivory. However, due to the nature of the hollow structure of bones, these products are not carved out of bone in the way that ivory products were, but instead the bone is used as cladding. By staying true to the material by designing products that are small and therefore require small pieces, I hope to discover unexplored possibilities and techniques and truly take advantage of the material’s potential.

    The current market of bone products caters to India, as well as to Europe and the United States. The products include a plethora of categories from kitchenware to furniture to jewelry. Although this industry already exists, I feel that there is room to create a new market because the aesthetic and forms have either remained the same for centuries, or have been modified to the extent that there are no remnants of the cultural heritage left in them. When speaking to current manufacturers and organizations ...

  • NFP

    Communication

    I have established contact with two out of the three non-profit organizations that I would like to work with. Each of the three organizations provides different types of information that I need in order to implement my thesis. I have spoken to Aid to Artisans that have put me in touch with the organization that they work with in India so that I can speak to them to figure out how to set up a community of artisans that will be paid fair wages to produce my proposed designs. I also spoke to the Institute of International Social Development that does similar work to that of Aid to Artisans, but cover a wider range of issues such as providing artisan communities in an eastern state of India access to micro credit, health insurance, education, and life insurance. I am hoping that they will be able to assist me in eventually setting up a system so that I can address all these important issues as well, and not just focus on providing jobs to the artisans. The third non-profit organization, Dastkar, which is based in India, still has not responded to my emails. The organization works with artisans to help them sell their products, but does not intervene in their product development. Because they have a huge network of artisans that they work with, I am hoping that they will be able to connect me with artisans who work with bone. The problem that I am having is that the two organizations that I did establish contact with do not work with independent designers due to insufficient funds...

  • Design Brief

    Community

    A revival of the traditional Indian animal bone craft would serve not only to provide skilled artisans with fair-wage jobs, but also to utilize an abundant by-product of India's vast agricultural industry, allowing for a product whose life-cycle is 100% environmentally sustainable. When ivory was made illegal, the artisans that worked with this material began to use animal bones as a substitute in order to keep the traditions of this craft alive. Today, there is a relatively small industry of bone products that attempt to replicate products that were originally made from ivory. However, due to the nature of the hollow structure of bones, these products are not carved out of bone in the way that ivory products were, but instead the bone is used as cladding. By using the bone as cladding, the material is not being taken advantage of to its full potential, but instead is being modified to replicate another material (ivory). By staying true to the material by designing products that are small and therefore require small pieces, one can truly exploit the material’s potential. The frame under the cladding is most commonly made from mango or sheesham wood, which is procured from forests in northern India that are harvested in a sustainable manner. The bone that is used for these products are buffalo bones that are collected from slaughterhouses in Muslim communities in eastern India and from buffalo in the farming industry that die a natural death. They are collected and then sent ...

  • I chose to look further into the node that represented the artisans. This node was symbolized by a hand in the thorough mapping exercise to indicate the manual labor which is used to create the handicrafts.

    Based on research, I found that the handicraft sector of India needs innovation and a new market to keep the traditions alive. I also found that many of the artisans are currently exploited by large manufacturers. With little money and no incentive to go on this way, the artisans look for jobs in which they will earn more money. In order to prevent the artisans from abandoning their skills for better paying jobs, and to encourage them to continue to keep these handicrafts alive, I feel that these artisans need to be provided with basic amenities such as education, healthcare, and fair wages. This is what I have illustrated here. I am hoping to help the artisans I work with in this way...

My Interests

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