Reaching a Million - 2018
Master thesis at Lund University, done at Industree craft Foundation, Bangalore, India. Presented at Cumulus Conference, Wuxi, China.
I wanted to explore how designers can contribute to female empowerment and fair work in craft industry, through co-design. I themed up with the Indian NGO Industree. Industree’s objective is to economically strengthen female artisans, through craft and design, with the ambition to impact 1000 000 people in a decade.
The project had a practical part as well as a theoretical. The conclusion from the theoretical part came from the practical experience.
The practical part
I traveled to India to work together with artisans, attempting to revive a 200-year old craft from the brink of extinction. The craft we worked with is a very special lacquer technique; hard organic lacquer sticks are pushed onto wood turning in lathes, the friction melts the lacquer. The surface becomes durable and very glossy.
Shellack sticks dyed with indigo, turnmeric and various barks and natural pigments.
The craft is traditionally used for toys. I wanted to explore how the lacquer could be used in other product categories and developed furniture/interior objects.
The aim of the design-proposal was a result that would be impossible to achieve in mass-production but made possible using crafts. The idea was to combine handcrafted and mass-produced parts – allowing small-scale enterprises to take their share of the mass-production market. It was important to me to capture the essence of the craft. The round playful shapes are reminiscent of the traditional toys.
Turned parts produced by artisans Althaf and Lalitha. Valchromat and acrylic parts by me. Glass bowl by Nina Christensen.
A little bit about the theoretical part
Industree setup and support craft production enterprises around india, and design products for them or put them in contact with designers. Successful designer-producer collaborations are important to make the production-enterprises’ economy strong and stable.
In 2017 Industree launched “Mission Creative Million”, with the ambition to impact 1000 000 people in a decade. To achieve this reaching designers worldwide is key. Consequently, Industree is developing an internet-platform where artisans and designers can connect. The platform should enable simplified business, communication and co-design. I acted as sort of guinneapig for the platform. Through this experience I was able to make suggestions on how to improve the designer-artisan collabs as well as making suggestions for the platform.