Creator Q&A: Bring Back Butter
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When’s the last time you thought about butter? No, we mean really thought about butter? If you can’t think of an answer then you’d be the perfect candidate for Tim Eads ambitious project to Bring Back Butter. He aims to reinvigorate our appetite for the long-standing table staple by crafting a pedal-operated machine that churns butter while simultaneously operating a toaster — and he’s using Kickstarter to fund his purchase of the basic equipment required to do it. Tim explains that his invention won’t be a business venture, but just his way of “making life a little better for people.” Sounds pretty good to us. Now all we need is that pedal-operated coffee maker…
Read about Tim’s butter below. Support his project here.
This project is so crazy (in a good way)! Where did you come up with this idea?
About a year ago I was thumbing through a 1905 Sears catalog I found in a used book store. It was humorous to see how everything was so bulky and strange looking and only performed simple tasks. It occurred to me that in 100 years our machines will look silly and inefficient. I decided to embrace the idea of “inefficient mechanisms” and created an installation that was powered by two bicycle pumps. The pumps fed into 400 feet of air hose and after about 20 pumps blew a small pinwheel that I had designed. You can see images of that piece here.
Following that success I began thinking of other possibilities for human-powered mechanisms. I found old books about using pedal-power to do all kinds of tasks around the house. I grew up eating homemade butter produced with a table top churn. It seemed like the perfect action because it’s simple to convert. Of course, then the question is what to do with all that butter. Giving it away on warm toast is the answer. The reason I chose butter was it seemed like one of the most basic ways to connect to people. Because much of our brain activity is dedicated to finding and eating food we all connect with it on some level. The butter project is a way for me to take my creations into the world and allow people to participate in my art.
Why do we need to bring back butter?
Butter seems to be on the growing list of things people shouldn’t eat. This is unfortunate because if it’s carefully made using quality ingredients the taste is heavenly. I guess, in a way, I’m interested in reminding people that it’s the small things that make life interesting and fun. It’s easy to forget about what makes us happy especially during hard times.
What is your favorite way to eat butter?
Growing up my mom made homemade rolls every Sunday for lunch. A small pat of butter inside was one of the finest things in life.
How have people responded to your use of Kickstarter so far?
A lot of people are asking “why butter?” so I am getting the chance to “spread” the idea. It’s also been fun explaining the idea behind Kickstarter to people and giving them a simple way to get involved in supporting art.
Where will you go after you’ve brought back butter?
I have plans to modify the machine to make homemade ice cream and blended smoothies. After that my next Kickstarter project will explore connections between where people live and what condiments they consume. I seem to be quite fascinated with food. So many of my happy memories were formed while eating.
Bring back butter! When this project is funded my goal is to set it up outside of art openings and other public places to introduce a little happiness. I’m not trying to make any money from this project, I simply need to build the project and get it out there.