Empowering Blind Craftspeople

India has the largest blind population in the world. Insufficient treatment centres and ignorance of the dangers of sunlight, disease and malnutrition contribute heavily to the problem. Blindness also carries a social stigma which is particularly evident in the area of employment. Despite the support and training provided by NGOs and charities, few blind people find work that makes use of their craft skills.

 

Scent-beading is a concept both for and inspired by blind people. The craftsperson uses scented beads to visually communicate using their sense of smell and touch. By combining different aromas with coloured beads a relationship between colour and scent can be developed which gives craftspeople the opportunity to discover and control colour in their work. By initialising the craft in in local NGOs, we hope to develop an art-form that will be free to grow and evolve throughout the blind community.

 

From cooking to clothing, India is a country full of colour and scent. The jewellery the blind people create captures both of these sensations in a new form of expression. Culturally significant scents add more meaning to the designs, and features like loops for sunglasses promote proper eye care and enhance the product narrative. Made in the Dark is a new brand for the scent-beaded jewellery produced by the craftspeople at the BPA and AKPG. The brand will help initialise

Scent-beading as a craft and provide a strong narrative to market the products. We chose to combine traditional aesthetics with a progressive outlook and modern detailing popular with our target market - middle class women who shop at ethical retailers such as FabIndia.

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In collaboration with Khushbu Dublish, Deepen Toppo, Hal Watts and Jon Fraser.

 

Finalist of the Core77 Design Awards 2011 and awarded a Student Notable

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