‘creating narratives’: eating OUT (week 5, sudden change)

The work for ‘eating OUT’ has taken a sudden change of direction.  My final tutorial revealed a few awful truths that I had failed to notice, let alone act upon.  The set task was to engage others in my personal dining experience in an outdoor environment.  My efforts to produce a boxy wrap containing seasonings, cutlery and additional food could not possibly achieve this.  It could only resemble a hundred other products and therefore not convey any notion of a unique experience.

Despite being quite well-organised, it contained lots of wasted space on the grounds that ‘it might come in handy’.  Unintentionally, the design was allowing room for more than was necessary or interesting and trying to make up for something that was not thought through enough.  It was perfectly clear that I was working towards something I had already envisioned rather than using the specific elements of my camping experience to come up with a one-of-a-kind cooking kit.  Everything was out.  So was the cutlery and space for maybes.  I returned to the drawing board with exactly 1 week until the project hand in. 

toiletry-bag SAM_8142 

Central to my seasonings holder was the clear plastic test tube as containers.  They were ideal for several reasons: for holding small quantities, could be made secure on the body, air-tight and show the contents in relation to the others.

We always take the following 7 seasonings with us when camping:

  • oregano
  • basil
  • chilli powder
  • curry powder
  • cinnamon
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • (plus celery salt if we fancy a change)

I came up with 2 completely new ideas for holding and displaying the nifty little test tubes.

  1. Based on ammunition belts (or more commonly seen tequila girls), a means of holding the tubes slightly upright and accessible became important.

SAM_8133bulletbooze belt2 booze belt

2. Splaying outwards and as a holder worn on the wrist/forearm.  This pincushion is taken from the dressmakers’ toolkit, where one hand is engaged in holding most of the time and the dominant hand is free to do most of the delicate work.


Having looked at the possibilities for both, I chose to develop the ammo belt worn on the arm.  The tube contents seemed more visible all at once and generally easier to use.  Elastic was my first thought and I played with lengths of fabric and belts to see how I might hold the tubes against me.

SAM_8124 SAM_8125

Searches online yielded a stretchy piece of fitness equipment called Thera-Band to aid building up strength for those with mobility problems.  I was also interested in a mechanism for closing and storing my seasoning kit.  Curtain ties were the simplest solution.


As I knew I was definitely using the test tubes from week 3, I really shouldn’t have left it until the middle of week 5 to investigate cap options.



A variety of lids and caps, all attached to the tube so they can’t get separated.


tomas_kral swiss clown nose vessels Tomas Kral’s Clown Nose Vessels use cork spheres on elastic to seal the hole.  Such an attachment would be easy to use with one hand and never become lost in the grass/leaves.

The work of another designer interested me, Roger Arquer.  His tri-function jug lids showed me that a single closure could be adapted to allow lots of liquid out, just a bit and retain non-liquid contents, or to be sealed up entirely.

spouts_jug_roger_arquerSeveral plug options occured to me, including fishing floats and silicon/cork bungs.  Unfortunately, I discovered that the only angling shop in Bath is now closed because the owner died recently.  I got training in how to work with silicon and make moulds but my trials took longer to set than expected and I haven’t been able to use the results in time for the hand in.  Pictured below is wet silicon just after it was poured with bubbles making their way out.  The second photo is after 6 hours and still too tacky to play with or remove the cast objects.

SAM_8148 SAM_8151

Without silicon trials to inform my next development in stops, I bought corks, polystyrene balls and earplugs.  A YouTube demo showed me how to shape cork without a lathe.  My efforts do not look this smooth because I worked on craft corks, which seem more dry and crumbly to scrape into the desired angle or shape.

cork balls cap7

Stitching elastic on a sewing machine was frustrating beyond belief.  Nothing moved in a straight line and the tension was impossible for me to gauge.  I tried stretching the elastic in an embroidery hoop but found it even more awkward to work.  By using strips of fabric, the elastic moved through the machine a little more easily but tension was still hard to control.  This is my second attempt.  The mangled first attempt doesn’t bear looking at.SAM_8158SAM_8161 SAM_8162SAM_8153

Attempt ⌗3 with the various caps I have considered.SAM_8164 (1)SAM_8165 (1) From left to right: mini craft cork with shaped lip on the inside; polystyrene ball with lip on the inside; wine bottle cork with hollowed out interior; mini craft cork with green foam ear plug; red acrylic disc with orange foam ear plug.  The last 2 are missing.  These should show a stop made out of pink silicon hemispheres; wine bottle cork in a cone shape.


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