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Leah Waldman

New York, NY, United States

Product Design

Member since September 08, 2008


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  • I could not find clear and up-to-date statistics that pertained to my thesis topic. I have emailed one of my contacts to ask for a reliable source for statistics, so am waiting on the information... I will post my results as soon as I get them.

    I want to know the exact size of the agricultural industry of India to prove that the material I wish to use (the bones of dead cattle) is in abundance.

    I want to know the percentage of handicrafts that are exported as compared to the percentage that is made for the Indian market.

    I want to know the average wages of artisans that work for the export market.

    These are some statistics that I feel would help me in developing my thesis ideas... Proving a need for my intervention.

  • click here for image

    I found it difficult to settle on a way in which to graphically represent the information I obtained through my survey/questionnaire. I did not think that bar/line graphs would be appropriate as I was only able to get answers from three respondents (out of the 6 manufacturers of bone products that I emailed)- I felt that I had too little information to create a graph. I am still waiting for the other manufacturers to respond- they have been busy in a trade fair in Hong Kong this past week but agreed to answer my questions once they returned to work.

    I thought that the clearest way in which to boldly represent my findings was to use words graphically to illustrate the questions and their answers. One can clearly identify which areas need further research, and which areas have a clear, consistent answer that can be used to develop my ideas further.

  • NFP Contact.... MORE

    Communication

    Aside from trying to connect with the NFP's that I hope to work with, I have already met with, and have scheduled meetings with professionals in the field who will be able to help me further in getting the information I need.

    Here is a list of some of the individuals:

    Edwin Torres: Director, External Partnerships at Parsons The New School for Design. (Involved with CARE in Guatemala).

    Nidhi Srinivas: Assistant Professor of Non-Profit Management at the New School of Management and Urban Policy.

    Cynthia Lawson: Associate Chair – Department of Core Studies, Integrated Design Curriculum at the New School.

    Jay Dehejia: Faculty in the Design and Management department at the New School.

    Fabiola Berdiel: International Affairs at the New School.

    Raj Malhotra: Board of Directors at the Guggenheim Museum, Venture Capitalist.

  • NFP Contact

    Communication

    Mission Statement: To revive the age-old traditional Indian craft of working with animal bone, a material that can be found in abundance in India due to the enormous agricultural industry. In addition to providing jobs with fair wages to the artisans, the product’s life-cycle is 100% environmentally sustainable.

    There are three NFP's that I would like to work with. Aid to Artisans (New York), Institute of International Social Development (New York/Kolkata/Geneva/Berlin/Vienna), Dastkar (New Delhi)

    I have established contact with IISD, and had a phone interview with the UN representative of the organization. He suggested that I email their contact in India to get more detailed information about the artisans that they work with. The UN representative, Shomik Chaudhuri, was extremely helpful in giving me a detailed understanding of the work of this organization, which is to empower women in slums to support themselves by training them in handicraft skills and introducing them to micro credit, health insurance, life insurance, basic education, healthcare. The organization helps these women connect with buyers so that they can directly sell their products without a middle man. I felt that the organization's goals are similar to mine in terms of helping a group of artisans sustain a living, although I do not think I can cover all the areas that the organization does. I do however hope that I can start small and grow to cover more aspects of their living needs. I have yet to ...

  • Survey/Questionnaire

    Communication

    I thought it would be most beneficial for me to get information about the current bone product industry in India as my mission is to revive this industry by creating a new market, so I directed my questions to bone product manufacturers in India. I emailed my questions to 6 different manufacturers, and 3 responded to the questions, and 1 said that they would get back to me this coming week as they were currently busy with a trade show in Hong Kong.

    Here are my findings...

    Aashish Wadhawan: Ethnic Artwares -What is the percentage of export and of local sales (in India) of handicrafts made from bone? ANS . The percentage of bone exports from India should be around 5% only. -Have bone products kept their initial traditional aesthetic, or have they been changed and modified to cater to different customers? ANS. Yes the bone products have changed in years to cater to the demand of the customer, though not much in the basic character.... -Are there any negative impacts on the environment while working with bone? ANS. No as the bone we use is of domesticated dead animals only . -Has the market for consumers of bone products increased/decreased/stayed the same, in the past twenty years? ANS. Has increased greatly and infact also acts as a substitute of Ivory , since it is banned to be exported from India. -Has the (monetary) value of bone products changed in the past 20 years? ANS. Yes the cost of raw material-Bone has increased 40% since the times when I started business in 1993...

  • I did not find a lot of written data directly related to my thesis topic so I spent a lot of time talking to people to get information that I needed to develop my ideas and thesis topic.

    1. Tyabji, Laila. 2008. Interview by Leah Waldman, 8 August. Dastkar, New Delhi, India.

    2. Singh, Faith. 2008. Interview by Leah Waldman, 13 August. Anokhi, Jaipur, India.

    3. Bannerjee, Runa. 2008. Interview by Leah Waldman, 18 August. SEWA, Lucknow, India.

    4. Torres, Edwin. 2008. Interview by Leah Waldman, 24 October. The New School, New York, New York.

    5. Srinivas, Nidhi. 2008. Interview by Leah Waldman, 24 October. The New School, New York, New York.

    6. Chaudhuri, Shomick. 2008. Phone Interview by Leah Waldman, 23 October. Institute of International Social Development, New York, New York.

    7. Source, Chawla, MM. Email Correspondence to Leah Waldman, Subject line: Neera Waldman’s Daughter, October 21, 2008.

    8. Source, Gupta, Naresh. Email Correspondence to Leah Waldman, Subject line: Neera Waldman’s Daughter, October 21, 2008.

    9. Source, Wadhawan, Ashish. Email Correspondence to Leah Waldman, Subject line: Neera Waldman’s Daughter, October 21, 2008.

    10. Source, Waldman, Neera. Email Correspondence to Leah Waldman, Subject line: Vendor Contact Details, October 21, 2008.

    11. Waldman, Neera. 2008. Phone Interview by Leah Waldman, 16/17/18/21/22/23 October. New Delhi, India.

    12. Dehejia, Jay. “Sadhna, An Economic and Social Empowerment Program for the Disadvantaged Women in Udaipur and Surrounding Villages.” 16 Au...

  • existing design examples

    Arts & Culture

    Bnbx-67b_177_

    Mission Statement: To revive the age-old traditional Indian craft of working with animal bone, a material that can be found in abundance in India due to the enormous agricultural industry. In addition to providing jobs with fair wages to the artisans, the product’s life-cycle is 100% environmentally sustainable.

    (A side note: the bones are taken from dead cattle- buffalos and camels. Animals are not killed for the bones... they are too valuable to the farming communities, of which there are hundreds.)

    Although there is an existing industry of bone products (that includes furniture, table top objects, jewelry), the designs of these products have remained the same for hundreds of years. Although very beautiful, they are cheaply made, often tacky and are sold in souvenir shops, catering to a very specific consumer to who the exoticism of the material is very appealing. The artisans who make these products are exploited and underpaid. Below are two examples of the types of products that are currently in the market.

    Product 1 Product 2

    I would like to create a new market for these bone products by creating new designs for well-made objects that fully represent the artisans' skills, as well as provide fair wages to them.

  • NFP Revisited

    Arts & Culture

    Just an update of the NFPs that I will be working with...

    Aid to Artisans (located in the NY area): ATA, an international nonprofit organization, is a recognized leader of economic development for the craft industry. By linking artisans to new markets and buyers to culturally meaningful and innovative products, ATA provides needed economic opportunities to artisans while preserving the beauty of global handmade crafts.

    Institute of International Social Development (located in the NY area as well as in India): An international organization, based in Calcutta, India, that strives to build a better world and contribute towards the vision of ‘One Earth One Family’. It has representatives in New York, Geneva, Vienna and Berlin. The Institute has Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC of the United Nations. It conducts various projects in the fields of Education (‘Sushiksha’), Health (‘Suswasthya’), Income Generation (‘Shramdaan’), HIV/AIDS Awareness and Prevention (‘Hope’), and creation of Self-Help Groups among rural artisans for self-reliance. The projects, which directly and indirectly benefit over 50,000 people, along with observations and various other programs, are framed on the lines of the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations.

    Dastkar (located in India): A society for crafts and craftspeople, Dastkar is a registered society that aims at improving the economic status of craftspeople, thereby promoting the survival of traditional crafts....

  • Matrix_177_

    I categorized the people and organizations that I will be working with in terms of where they are located- India or New York. I placed myself in New York, along with the NFPs that I will be working with (Aid to Artisans and Institute of International Social Development). In India I placed the artisans, current manufacturers of bone products, friends/family/the community that will provide information, material suppliers, contacts that the NFPs have, and an Indian NFP named Dastkar. The black lines represent my relationship with the numerous parties, and the gray lines represent the connections and relationships the parties have with each other.

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My Interests

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