Dove Salt Bowl

Spring 2017

Bringing joyous form to energize mundane activity

I designed a set of 3 identical salt bowls for the class Experimental Form. One of these objects we would keep, another we would give away, and the last was to be sold via auction through Pittsburgh's Contemporary Craft, an organization focused on "engaging the public in creative experiences through contemporary craft." 


I'm really drawn to how products can make people feel different emotions and I wanted to tap into that aspect of product design. How can I make someone feel joy and happiness through form and interaction? I wanted to design something that didn't disrupt a lifestyle, but enhanced a part of it, however mundane it may be.

I wanted to focus on making an object that would be a keepsake, inviting emotional attachment and providing joyful interactions. I imagined it sitting on a kitchen table, placed next to a steaming mug of coffee, while the user read the newspaper. I wanted this object to be a quiet centerpiece, not a trinket.

Part I: Ideation

At first, I drew out some of the initial ideas I had. I was trying to figure out what the most joyful and intriguing interaction and shape could be. I decided to make something practical, yet also decorative - a salt bowl. 

Part II: Refining, Iterating

I became attached to the idea of making a form reminiscent of an animal - more specifically, a bird. I modeled the bird off of a Eurasion dove, a bird that mates for life and is seen (and heard) all throughout North America and Europe. 

As for the functional aspect, I wanted the bird to act as if it were "nesting" upon the salt. The bird would act as a tool for removing an appropriate amount of salt from its nest. I sketched out some ideas and modeled them out of clay to better see how the sketches would take shape.

Part III: Further Refinement

I refined my bird model further through drawings and analysis of the clay forms I made, as well as focusing on how I wanted the nest beneath the bird to look and feel. I made another prototype of my model using grey foam to better get a sense of scale and form.

Part IV: Wood Modeling

I continued to refine my form, but figured it would be best if I transferred the form to the material I would be using: wood. I knew I wanted to use walnut for my final model, but opted for a cheaper wood to make sure I knew my bird could properly translate from foam and sketches to the actual material.

Part V: Final Refinements

The last step in my process of making this bird become reality was further sketching of the form to make sure I had resolved its form to the best of my abilities. I sketches the top and side orthographic to ensure that I could best translate my idea to the walnut piece.



I was extremely pleased with how this project turned out. I think this project was one of the rare times when what you envisioned ends up looking exactly like what you create. I wanted to create something really visually and interactionally pleasing - something people want to eat up with their eyes and can't help but touch, yet still makes them stop and smile. I hope that whomever receives one of this trio feels the same emotions I felt with respect to the form. Maybe they won't even use it, but I truly hope that they appreciate it.