When bamboo meets design ---- reviving bamboo handicraft in modern design

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
Ask about the availability of the thesis by sending email to the Aalto University Learning Centre oppimiskeskus@aalto.fi
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With the rapid development of modern industry and the huge change in people’s lifestyles, many handicrafts have been replaced by mass products and are on the verge of being lost. It makes one wonder, how to contribute to the preservation and development of traditional handicrafts as a designer? With this question in mind, I decided to use bamboo crafts as an example and started a nearly two-year-long research. The research was started with a literature research - collecting and summarizing relevant documentations and digital resources. Based on the knowledge gained from this literature research, I started a field research that took place in several areas in China renowned for their bamboo handicrafts. By visiting people working on this field and interacting with them, I gathered a great deal of vivid information on primary materials and gained a better understanding of the current situation of bamboo handicrafts. Meanwhile, I studied some basic bamboo handicrafts and participated in the making process in order to familiarize myself with the material and the techniques involved. After practice, some experimental design projects were carried out. By using different parts of bamboo and utilizing different features of the material and specific techniques, the experiments and design projects aimed to explore more potential uses for the bamboo and bamboo handicraft with design approaches. This thesis consists of three main parts: an introduction to bamboo and bamboo crafts, an analysis of topics relevant to the craft and design and a documentation of the experiments and design projects. The first part introduces bamboo, bamboo culture, the use of bamboo in various fields, and bamboo handicrafts. The information herein is based on the material I collected during the research. Due to the lack of English literature on Chinese bamboo crafts, I hope this section will make a contribution to the enrichment of literature resources in this field. The second part of this thesis records my personal thoughts on relevant questions about craft and design. This part also includes real cases of selected craftspeople, designers and groups, through which I intend to offer the reader some inspirations and a further understanding of relevant questions. The third part documents my practice process including concepts, experiments, the making process and outcomes. The outcome of the design projects, some jewelry works, is expected to be an inspiration and a starting point to introduce bamboo handicraft to unconventional application fields. In summary, this thesis aims to provide a demonstration, with bamboo as an inspirational case, of how a designer can establish comprehensive understanding of a handicraft, applying modern design methods to resurrect ancient handicrafts, help carry on their inheritance and promote them. Hopefully, it will make a contribution to the inheritance and development of traditional handicraft.
Haagensen, Ulvi
Thesis advisor
Salli, Timo
handicrafts, design, bamboo, jewellery, crafts
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