This one-of-a-kind matching pair of silver maple salad tongs strikes a balance between a curvilinear flow form language, feel in-hand, and utility. Developed over the course of about a month, it is the cumulation of refinements through physical prototyping and examination of existing hand-held objects and curvilinear forms.
The objective of the project was to marry fair curves – which lead your eye through and around an object – with a practicality of a tool like salad tongs. Much of critique sessions and my exploration involved an investigation of fair curves found all around us, and how they can make designed objects beautiful and desirable.
Through the entire design process, sketches, photographs, and recorded observations in my sketchbook informed the form development for the salad tongs. I began by drawing out pairs of orthographic profiles for the top and side views. As physical prototypes came into play, I began to draw the tongs as solid objects, thinking over the process of revealing a form through the processes of making.
Extruded polystyrene board was the ideal material for prototyping salad tongs because it allows for quick shaping yet enables resolved form details with sanding. After deciding on a pair of orthographic profiles that seemed harmonious, I spray-mounted printed profiles onto a foam block, ran it through the band saw, and shaped it with hand sanding.
shaping the wood
Solid wood is unique among materials for its versatility and warmth. Derived from natural sources, it is lightweight and strong yet workable by hand. The grain pattern of wood provides a directionality and dynamism to form, especially in curvilinear objects like my salad tongs.
Once completed, I photographed the completed foam design and used Illustrator to generate final profiles from which the maple blocks would be cut. Intermediate shaping was done with a spindle sander and hand-sanding with coarse sandpaper. Final surfacing was performed with very fine sandpaper to create an even matte finish. Since the goal was to create a mirror pair of tongs, each shaping step was reflected across blocks to ensure uniformity.
After a semester of really honing craft through hand-tool modeling, it was a delight to be back in the shop working with such a timeless material as wood.
final form - more pictures