Step 1: idea generation.
I liked the exercise we did in class generating ideas in the round table setting. I came up with about twelve ideas. They were
1. A bowl that had the insides etched with a leaf pattern on the inside.
2. A cutting board with a whole on one end that could go over the garbage.
3. A bowl with chalkboard paint on the outside so when passing around a big group you could initial after you'd had a serving.
4. A pie dish that looked like a crust so you could serve "gluten free pie" or only pie filling.
5. Salt and pepper shakers in the shape of a wishbone when placed together.
6. A long board centerpiece that had special ceramic hot pads built into it so you don't have to put a bunch of individual hot pads all over the table.
7. A bowl that was textured like cranberries that could hold cranberry sauce.
8. A ladle that can stand up on it's own. Square bottomed.
9. A two piece centerpiece that goes around a candle holder with ceramic hot pads built into it.
10. A whisk with a handle fitted for a fist that has individual prongs good for gravy whipping.
11. A gravy boat in the shape of a turkey drumstick.
12. A casserole in a wooden shape for hearty salads.
This left me with a lot of ideas and not a whole lot of direction. I sat down again later in the week to flush out a couple more ideas (why they are a good idea, and what in the market is like them) and come up with some others.
1. Square Ladle - This idea appealed to me because at my job as a waitress the ladles are always rolling everywhere and getting things soupy. With this tool it would stay put and not make a mess. In my research I didn't find anything like what I had in mind.
2. Good Grip Carving Fork
This one came to me after having some real difficulty carving a chicken. I tried using a regular fork to hold it steady and it was nearly impossible to keep the extremely hot poultry in place. I've also used traditional carving forks, and these only get one small vantage point with their sharp skinny prongs and handle, and rip huge holes through the breasts of the bird. I wanted a handle that had less wiggle room with a good grip, and sharp but wide prongs for carving stability.
3. Leaf Hot Pad
This sprouted from the idea of making a bowl with etchings of leaves. I thought this would be a really cool accent to any autumnal table, and I figured a hot pad would be a lot easier than a bowl. The leaf hot pad was more decorative in my mind, and I thought it could turn into a neat accent piece.
4. Cutting Board with Drainage.
This one also came out of the chicken carving debacle. When I was carving the bird, hot juices got all over my kitchen. I imagine with a turkey this would only be multiplied. I figured if there was a way that the juices could collect and drain, it would be easier to keep the mess to a minimum.
So now I had four great ideas. I eliminated the leaf etched hot pad, because although pretty, I thought it was too basic of an idea. There are a million different types of hot pads out there already, and no one sees them because they are covered by dishes anyways. I nixed the cutting board for similar reasons. I've seen cutting boards with little moats around the edge, and they usually end up overflowing anyways. So now I was between the square ladle and the good grip carving fork. I went in and talked with the guys in the wood shop. They told me that if I wanted to make the square ladle I would have to be very precise and measure things exactly. I have basically no woods experience, and wasn't really confident enough in my ability to pull that off well. The carving fork however I knew I could make look "primitive" and "rough" and it would still be cool. I decided to go with the fork. I went home and did some more sketches to show the wood shop guys my idea and get their advice.
This shows the rounded prongs, the rounded handle, and the indent that I wanted to make for a good thumb grip opposed to the straight and skinny traditional carving fork:
The wood shop guys said my first step was to sketch the shape onto a board and cut it out with a band saw. I did just this. I flipped it on it's side to trim the tips into points. Then, on the big sanders I sanded down the edges so they were a little rounded. After the first day, it looked like this:
The next day I went back. To make the indentations in the handle I wrapped my had around the fork as if to stick it into something to carve and traced my thumb and the line of my pointer finger. I used hand carving tools to hollow out these areas. Then I sanded down the whole tool with a hand sander and finally fine grain sand paper. When I was finished I was really happy, but something was missing. Last minute I decided to make a serving tool to serve the meat, because it always seems awkward to move meat from the plate with the knife. This way, the fork and scoop can be passed around with the meat tray and no one has to worry about a sharp knife. Using my scrap wood, I followed the same pattern as to how I made the fork. Finally, I wrapped the tips (the parts that touch food) in paper and taped the handles. They got a coat of spray paint. After drying I rubbed the tips with mineral oil. Here is the finished product: