tools of the trade.
tools of the trade.


For my graduation project, as a part of the Impact Edge Lab under Industree Foundation, we studied the Medhar tribe of Karnataka, India. For decades, they have been traditionally working with bamboo as a medium for their creative expression. The community is not motivated to stand by their craft anymore as it does not generate sustenance.


Propelled by loss of markets, declining skills and difficulty catering to new markets, a large number of tribesmen have moved to cities in search of greener pastures.

Eventually the handicraft reached a diluted version of what it used to be, due to lack of documentation and only the simplest weaves being passed down the last few generations. Over the course of this project, the Medhars’ surroundings were explored in order to design tools that can facilitate exploration of their craft.

The current generation of artisans - the few that are still practising, are quite weary of the craft and are only doing it for sustenance. The younger generation is strongly dissuaded from touching the craft. They are encouraged to educate themselves and move onto greener pastures.


If the younger Medhars are brought into contact with the craft and its processes at an earlier stage, they are enabling themselves to think with their hands, like their parents did.


They would have an understanding of the craft and material; and a more active approach to the craft (rather than the dismissive take their parents currently have) and they can take the craft forward in the way they wish to. They already possess empathy, and attaining education would help with decisions pertaining to the craft, for instance with finance, marketing, product development or even with growing their own bamboo.

This would empower them to take the craft forward on their own terms.

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