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BAMBOO A magic grass

Shivangi Gurjer Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Techgnology PDP 401

Project Brief This project aims to create awareness about the indigenous crafts and traditional knowledge systems. Further, it aims to engage with varied art and craft forms with a ‘contemporary vision’ and integrate them with design education and design industry in order to bring out innovative directions in future. The project will start with mapping the craft of the region with reference to material, history, culture, socio-economic condition and product design





Introduction to Bamboo

Bamboo in the World


Bhai Bhai J.L.S.G and SIRD


Products Manufactured in Barpeta


Bamboo Charcoal



Types of Bamboo


Problems with Packaging, Storage and Logistics


Activated Carbon

85 Future of Project

11 Characteristics and uses of Bamboo


13 Barpeta District


Production System

Tools Used








Water Filtration



About Project



Introduction to Bamboo The word Bamboo comes from the Kannada term ‘bambu’, which was introduced to English through Malay. Bamboos are some of the fastest growing plants in the world, due to a unique rhizome dependent system. Certain species of bamboo can grow up to 35 inches within a 24 hour period. The many characterisrics of bamboo make it an enduring, versatile and highly renewable resource. It has more than 1,500 documented uses, ranging from fuelwood to lightbulbs, medicine, poison and toys to aircraft manufacturing. Over 1,000 million people live in houses made of bamboo or with bamboo as the key structural, cladding or roofing element.


Bamboo Distribution in the World



Bamboo in Japan Bamboo is a very strong plant. Because of its sturdy root structure, it is a symbol of prosperity in Japan. For years, people were told to run into the bamboo groves in the event of an earthquake, beacause the bamboo’s strong root structurewould hold the earth together. Bamboo is found all over Japan because the warm, humid climate is well suited for its cultivation. It is frequently used in construction and handicrafts. Shakuhachi, is a wind instrument made out of bamboo. Bamboo sprouts (takenoko) also have long been used in Japanese cuisine.


Bamboo in China China is known as the Kingdom of Bamboo because it has the most bamboo of any country in the world. More than 400 species of bamboo, one third of all known species in the world, grow in China. Woven bamboo arts and craft come in a wide variety, including toy animals, lanterns, flower baskets, trays, tea boxes, screens, and curtains.


Most of the raw material in India is used in making paper. There are too many laws and a lot of permission requirements to be able to acquire bamboo. It is hard to obtain natural material although there is abundance of it. Two of its characteristics that make it so useful are listed below: 1. Good tensile strength 2. Compressive in nature


The different areas in which bamboo can be experimented with are: 1. Furniture 2. Medicinal products 3. Packaging 4. Firewood( Generally the waste is used) 5. Bamboo paper 6. Bamboo textiles 7. Mats, baskets

Woven bamboo clip


Bamboo Packaging

Simple Weave used in homes as a partition 10

Bamboo weaving is a very common practice. A few techniques used in bamboo weaving are: 1. Hexagonal Plait/ Madly Woven (very dense and can create optical illusions) 2. Coiling 3. Frame Basketry 4. Twining (closed woven structures) 5. Split wood (wood strips are soaked in water and used for weaving) 6. Plaiting 7. Net lock/Loop (textile basketry) 8. Linking


Barpeta District Assam Barpeta is a town in Barpeta district, India and is district headquarters. It is one of the major cities of Western Assam and is located 90km north west of Guwahati. It is one of the six administrative districts that were formed to improve administrative infrastructure. A very popular tourist attraction is Manas National Park.



The NGO Bhai Bhai J.L.S.G. is funded by SIRD (State Institute of Rural Development). Mr Anowar Hussain, a graduate in Business Administrationhas been running the NGO for about 11 years. It has been Government approved for 39 years. A JLG(Joint Liability Group) finances the NGO.


SIRD SIRD Assam is an apex institiute for training and research in the broad field of Panchayati Raj and rural development. SIRD was cinsidered autonomous by State Government in the year 1988 and has been working in close coordination with the State Government through its Governing body/ Advisory Committee.



TYPES OF BAMBOO Bambusa nutans Wall ex Munro- Makal Dendrocalamus giganteus Munro- Bor Kako (Giant or dragon bamboo) Auriculata Bambusa- Bhaluka (construction) Jaintiana Bambusa- Bijuli (thinnest diameter) Vulgaris dendrocalamus- Jati (outsourced from Tripura)


Production System Each home specializes in one or two products which are mass produced. Almost every member of the family takes part in this as it is how they earn their livelihood. Therefore, they are very skilled with their work. The products produced at these homes are ranging from furniture, lamps, jewelry to even decorative pieces. There are 300 units and around 49 clusters.





BAMBOO TRANSPORTATION Bamboo transportation is carried out through the waterbodies. The artisans tie up the bamboo and put it into the water which drifts along with the flow of the stream and it collected at the bamboo stations. The raw material is then left to dry and can be used only after 10-15 days.

Bamboo is transported through the waterways


TOOLS USED Most of the tools are easily available in workshops however, one of them called the ‘Dau’ is a special tool used by the artisans at Barpeta, which is made out of HSS (High Speed Steel).






5 4 3 2
















Sharpening stone









#10 Wire cutter #11 Electric drill #12


Carving tool

Products Manufactured in Barpeta Incense Stands


ABOUT PRODUCT Product: Incense Stands Price: Rs.10 Turnover: Around 2.5 lakhs Function: Holders for incense sticks Market: Bangalore, Delhi, Bombay, Kerala and China. These are then sold in emporiums, fairs, airports and personal orders are also taken. Users: Tourists, locals, used in households Craft: Skinning/Peeling, chopping, dyeing No. of working members: 5 Material: bamboo, wood, glue, potassium permanganate Machines and tools: slicer, hacksaw, manual drill





Competition, Aspirations and Economic Value A few other houses in the village that manufacture these products are competition to the household. The household with better quality products gets more orders and are therefore considered better at their jobs when it comes to their skills. The ownership of farmland is a big boon to the family, since they use their own produce and even sell it sometimes. Most of the houses own chickens; the eggs of which are sold to others.


Design Intervention Product Redesigning and Development: Problems: -Wastage of material -Outdated aesthetics, very repetitive Solutions: -Make products where the wasted material can be utilised, using the same skills that they possess -The use of different designs and variations to create a range of such products. Ergonomics: Problems: -Not safe for children -Easily breakable Solutions: -More safety measures with respect to the design


Technology: Problems: -No access to heavy duty equipment -Very few tools are being utilised Solutions: -Flow of funds from external sources can lead to better facilities -Technical know how -Better infrastructure Production Problems: -Manual labour -Overworked labourers -Big difference in the ratio of number of man hours: output -Illiteracy Solutions: -Education -Access to larger funds -Machinery




ABOUT PRODUCT: Product: Bamboo mat Price: Rs 30 onwards (based on size) Starting from 2 by 4 ft all the way upto 4 by 6 ft Function: Can be used to sit on, used as a mattress Market: India and China Users: Mostly used in villages, tourists, households, Craft: Weaving Materials: Sliced split bamboo Tools: Slicing tool, bamboo splitter


DESIGN INTERVENTION: Product Redesigning and Development: Problems: -Aesthetically outdated -Bad finish Solutions: -Scope for new designs -Use skills towards making other products -Improving finish Technology: -Problems: -Mostly manually done -Time consuming Solutions: -Better technical know how -More funds -Machinery to enable mass production




ABOUT PRODUCT: Product: Fruit Baskets Price: Rs. 30/piece Each person makes 10 products a day Function: To store fruits and carry them Turnover: Profit of Rs 20 on each basket Rs 15000 a month for the family Market: Bangalore, Delhi, Bombay (Maximum orders), Kerala and China Users: Tourists, Locals Craft: Peeling, cutting, pasting, pattern making No. of working members: 4 adults and 3 children Materials: wood, bamboo, dyes, glue Tools and Machinery: drill gun, saw, dau


PRODUCTION PROCESS Peeling the fresh bamboo and dyeing it with three to four coats of potassium permanganate


The bamboo is then peeled into thin strips and glued on to the slab

The wooden slabs are cut and filed with the dao and later sanded with some sanding paper. Using a manual drill gun, holes are drilled into the sides for the can to be fit in


Finally the bamboo strips that have been bent are fitted into the drilled holes to form the outer part of the basket.


DESIGN INTERVENTION Product Redesigning and Development: Problems: -Wastage of material -Outdated aesthetics, very repetitive Solutions: -Make products where the wasted material can be utilised, using the same skills that they possess -The use of different designs and variations to create a range of such products. Ergonomics: Problems: -Easily breakable -Not very durable -The bamboo stripa come out after a sufficient amount of usage Solutions: -Utilization of different materials -Better finish



ABOUT PRODUCT Product: Bangles, Hair clips Price: Bangles- Rs 5-10, Hair clips- Rs 10 Function: Used as an accessory Turnover: Market: Bangalore, Delhi, Kerala and China Users: Locals, tourists Craft: Cutting, pasting, carving No. of working members: 3 Materials: Bamboo Tools and Machinery: Dau, Hacksaw, carving chisel, cutting chisel, blow torch



The pieces are sanded on a piece of wood The burnt bamboo is then cut and with the help of a carving chisel,designs are made


DESIGN INTERVENTION Product Redesigning and Development: Problems: -Outdated aethetics -No variations Solutions: - Using the existing skills, newer designs can be made Ergonomics: * - Not very comfortable to wear - Because of the carved patterns, one can get poked - Because of the material

*No tools are used for measuring each bangle


Production: Problems: -Manual labour -Big difference in the ratio of number of man hours: output -Illiteracy -Time consuming- Burning -Prone to fungus -Varnish is too costly Solutions: - Education -More man power in each segment - Teaching the women the techniques - Taking an advance Technology: Problems: -Lack of resources -Outdated equipment Solutions: - Access to larger funds - Technical know how


Other Products manufactured in Barpeta

Vases and trays Bamboo umbrella


Beer Mugs


Bamboo Clips The artisans are very skilled with their weaving techniques. Some of them have been using these patterns for over 40 years. The bamboo clips are made using bamboo strips of similar width and length without using any kind ofw adhesives.


Problems with Packaging, Storage and Logistics: - Packaging is not a common practice in every household. - Most of the houses have godowns where the products are stored thus leaving it exposed to climate changes and insects which could affect the products in the long run. - Lack of proper transportation facilities. - Very labour intensive and prone to damage - Middleman responsible for storagew


Observations: - Abundance: Procurement of raw material is very easy - Skills: The artisans/craftsmen are very experienced and therefore also very intuitive. The precision in their work is very evident. - Wastage: Since the units operate independently of one another, there is no question of sharing the raw material. - Efficiency: Although the man hours are a lot and the work is monotonous, this does not affect the quality of the product. Labour is cheap - Bamboo textiles and cosmetics are not explored - Lack of product packaging Products are prone to damage - Techniques: They are aware of the bamboo bending techniques and have access to the machinery and tools



Bamboo bending through incisions: By making triangular incisions very meticulously in the bamboo, which are equidistant from one another; this can also be used as a bending technique.Using the skills and the artisans’ intuitive nature, if these incisions are very precise, this bending technique can also prove to be very advantageous.


Bamboo Packaging for Bamboo Products: Due to lack of proper packaging, designing the packaging for a range of bamboo products can be cost effective and improve its aesthetic appeal in a contemporary market.


Bamboo Charcoal: Since there is wastage of material, it can be utilized to produce bamboo powder which can further be used in products. Bamboo charcoal is made up of pieces of bamboo, which are taken from plants five years or older and burned inside an oven at temperatures over 800 to 1200 °C. It benefits environmental protection by reducing pollutant residue. It is an environmentally functional material that has excellent absorption properties



Utilization of Wastes Since all the artisans work from the comfort of their own homes, there is no concept of using one another’s resources to make better use of the given material. This results in a lot of wastage of material. The waste material can be used to further produce bamboo charcoal that has proven to be a very useful material in countries such as Japan and Singapore.


PYROLISIS The term ‘pyrolysis’ is derived from the Greek words ‘pyro’ meaning fire and ‘lysis’ meanning separating. A thermochemical decomposition of organic material at elevated temperatures in the absence of oxygen(or any halogen) and is irreversible. It has been used in several other areas such as: 1. Cooking 2. Biochar 3. Biofuel 4. Carbon fiber 5. Coke for metallurgy

Bamboo Charcoal/Bio Char Obtained through Pyrolisis 55


Production of Bamboo Charcoal Bamboo Charcoal can be produced in two different ways. One way that it can be obtained is using materials found in your kitchen at home. Materials: Aluminium foil, tooth pick, wire mesh, stove Step 1: The piece of bamboo has to be wrapped in an aluminium foil making it air tight. Step 2: Poke a few holes in the foil, thus allowing the smoke to escape. Step 3: Place the foil on a wire mesh that is kept on the stove. Step 4: After 45 minutes, take out the alumium foil and the final product is ready.

Bamboo Charcoal 57

This method can be carried out on a small scale however, in case of a larger quantity it needs to be carried out on a much larger scale. The materials that can be used are tin cans, metal containers, etc. The most important thing is allowing the smoke to pass through, for which a chimney was created in the following experiment.


Tools used to cut the bamboo

Splitting all the waste bamboo

A metal container used as a kiln


Placing the tin full of bamboo pieces on a wire mesh

Lighting a fire with dried leaves and twigs

Once the smoke turns into a whitish yellow color, the process is halfway through




Keeps fruits and vegetables fresh

Ensures better health- Contains calcium and other minerals

Air Purifier Super absorption (chloroform, benzene, formaldehyde, ammonia)

Deoderizer Removes and absorbs impurities

Conductive material- Helps reducing static build up

Easier on sensitive skin Superior washing Makes bath water more alkaline and therefore acts like a hot spring


Absorbs humidity


Black Diamond(Bamboo Charcoal Fabric)

Thermal Regulation


Use of renewable materials

OVEN/KILN Gardening

Infrared Radiation properties

Easy to build



Known as takesumi

Portable Cost effective

Slices to get rid of bad odour

Pumice Stones

Causes Pollution Ability to produce grades of charcoal

Activated carbon briquettes Bamboo Charcoal toothpaste

Used in pillow cases and mattresses

Fast Food (burger King Kuro burger)

Body and skin care


Bamboo Charcoal in Japan

Face cleansing sponge


Bristles of the toothbrush made out of bamboo charcoal

Bamboo Charcoal in Japan, otherwise known as takesumi can be used in many different ways. Some of which include: 1. Purify drinking water - Drop a small piece or bag into a glass or pitcher 2. Control humidity - Instead of using chemical humidity absorbers, toss a small bag or a few pieces of takesumi in places you may want to control humidity, especially during the rainy season/summer, such as your closet, dresser drawers, or shoe cupboard. 3. Air purification - Takesumi supposedly improves indoor air quality by absorbing harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde and benzene, among others, due to its porous nature. 4. Deodorizer - Bamboo charcoal can also absorb odors. I’ve honestly found this to be effective in our home. I put a couple small bags in the fridge and it has worked better than even baking soda at keeping our fridge smelling good. Consequently, I also put a small bag in the bathroom. 5. Keep fruits and veggies fresher longer - I was skeptical about this but I put a small bag of takesumi in the crisper and our produce really does seem to last 2-3 days longer than without it in there. 6. Add to bath water - Takesumi makes the water more alkaline, similar to hot springs.


Adsorption of impurities Pickles

Fast food


Smokes food

Activated carbon Clothes (Dry fit)


Hotel rooms- laundry bags

Water Purifiers Bamboo charcoal paper



Bathroom products

Controls humidity in warehouses

Air Purifier



Humidity Toothpaste

Loofah Soaps

Fruits and vegetables

Health- Charcoal tablets Deoderizers- Foot powder, Slices, soles


Bath salts Compost pits

Face creams Detergent


Sprays on fabric

Activated Carbon Activated carbon is a highly porous substance that attracts and holds organic chemicals inside it. The media is created by first burning a carbonaceous substance without oxygen which makes a carbon “char”. Next, the “char” is treated chemically or physically to develop an interconnected series of “holes” or pores inside the carbon. The great surface area of this internal pore network results in an extremely large surface area that can attract and hold organic chemicals.


Advantages of Activated Carbon 1. Whitening teeth 2. Treats alcohol poisoning 3. Alleviates gas and bloating 4. Mold cleansing 5. Water Filtration 6. Emergency toxin removal 7. Skin and body health 8. Digestive cleanse 9. Anti aging 10. Removes high cholestrol


Process of Obtaining Activated Carbon

Powdered charcoal Bleaching Powder


Explorations There were a few directions in which activated charcoal could have been taken further. 1. Briquettes: These briquettes have multiple uses. Thy can be placed in the corner of a room to absorb all odours and impurities in the air. In the following slides the briquettes have also been packaged. 2. Activated Carbon pockets: These cloth pockets can either be used for the above reasons or even act as a filter in a DIY home filter. The filter would have to be replaced once in a few months. 3. Water filter: The bio char can be used in a water filter in its raw state. This filter is called a bio filter.



Activated carbon briquette

Corn Flour

A mix of corn flour, activated carbon and water



The use of old jute bags to make the packaging


FUNCTION - Deoderizer - Absorbs impurities in the air - Water filtration - Cooking - Keeps fruits and vegetables fresh


ACTIVATED CARBON POCKETS Using cloth or paper to make activated carbon pockets/filters that can further be used in water purifiers. These filters are cost effective and less harmful to the environment.



Dirty Water

Tissue Paper Gravel and sand Bamboo Charcoal Gravel and sand Tissue Paper

Filtered water


WATER FILTRATION Activated Carbon is used in water filter purifiers because activated carbon removes from the water most toxic organic compounds in water like pesticides and heavy metal organic compounds. So passing water through an activated carbon water filter purifier improves the taste of drinking water and also makes water safe to drink. Activated carbon also removes smells in water and makes cloudy water clear by removing color causing compounds in the water. So activated carbon is a very efficient purifier of water and is widely used in water filter purifiers.


RO (Reverse Osmosis) Water purifier


Types of impurities in water 1. Physical- Can be removed through carbon filteration 2. Bacterial- Can be removed through heat/ UV radiation 3. Chemical- Has to go through intense treatment at high pressure These chemical impurities still remain in the water, despite the carbon filteration and UV radiation. Therefore, Reverse Osmosis (RO) was introduced which is the most effective way to remove all the chemical impurities.


BIO FILTER- Using a Bamboo Section


Contents of filter: Cotton fabric, Bamboo charcoal and sand


The use of a bamboo piece with the node at the base. This is a very effective storage container that forms the bamboo filter. The bamboo has been varnished with food grade linseed oil thus making the filter more durable. The contents of the filter would have to be changed once in few months, once the charcoal has absorbed all the impurities and will prove to be no longer effective.


BIO FILTER- Activated Carbon filter using clay and sawdust Sawdust to be mixed with the clay

With a 1:1 ratio of clay and sawdust, the filter is made. It is then fired in the kiln which causes all the sawdust to burn, making the filter very porous. By adding actiavted charcoal in this and passing water through it, the clay structure would act like a filter and absorb all the impurities.


Final Outcome A handcrafted filter made on a potter’s wheel, using the same ratio of materials. After it is fired in a kiln, the sawdust burns which makes it very porous. The porous nature of the filters enables the water to pass through, thus absorbing all the impurities. Placing activated charcoal in it adds another level to the filtration that purifies the water even more.


FUNCTION Both the filters are sustainable and durable. They are cost effective and can be made at home. These filters allow the artisans access to clean drinking water that can be made easily available. The hih concentration of Iron and Magnesium in the water in Barpeta District, can be removed through utilization of the carbon filter as well as SODIS or boiling the water.


SODIS (Solar Disinfection) This method is used to treat the bacterial umpurities that is present in the water. The SODIS method is very easy to apply: A transparent PET(Polyethylene teraphthalate) bottle is cleaned with soap. Then, the bottle is filled with water and placed in full sunlight for at least 6 hours. The water has then been disinfected and can be drunk. 1. Material, colour and shape of bottle 2. Turbidity 3. Cloudiness 4. Rain 5. Preventing contamination- needs to be immediately drunk


About Project The basic idea was to utilize the wastes judiciously. By creating awareness about a by product such as bamboo charcoal, the artisans would further be able to produce it on a large scale, given the abundance of resources that they have access to. The advantages of this project are as follows: 1. Adheres to the niche market as there is a growing demand for bamboo charcoal 2. It can be carried out on a DIY scale 3. Fulfills the need for basic amenities (clean drinking water) 4. A cheap way to filter water 5. Solves health problems


Future of the Project The two types of water filters that have been created, have a direct impact on the artisans who are the consumers and can be the producers as well. The project can be taken to the next level in the following ways: 1. -Bringing the community together to share the wastes and find some common ground. -To utilize this waste futher in the production of bamboo charcoal -To make the community aware of the benefits of bamboo charcoal and manufacture it.


2. - To promote the use of bio filters and create demand for it in the market. - The contents of the filter can be sold separaely as a product itself - The low cost will encourage the people in the rural areas to buy that product due to the small investment they are making. -With some technological assistance, a different version of the product can be sold in a niche marke. For example, the life straw that is available in the market and was made for people in the rural areas in Africa.




Bc docbook  

A project on bamboo charcoal with a documentation of Bamboo craft in Barpeta district, Assam

Bc docbook  

A project on bamboo charcoal with a documentation of Bamboo craft in Barpeta district, Assam