What is the Handmade Spice Box?
It's my answer to all the awkward packaging that dictates how we use spices. It's a sustainable, fair-trade, and fun way to use spices more creatively patterned after the Masala Dabba - a generations old concept from Indian cooking. A masala dabba is typically handed down from generation to generation and makes cooking with spices organized, fun and creative. Problem is it's cold and uninspiring. What if I created something that begged you to be creative, and that was counter-worthy and kitchen tough? That's the Handmade Spice Box in a nutshell.
Some pictures of the final prototype:
What's it made of?
Sustainable, tree-free native wildgrass that is very environmentally responsible. The wildgrass is cut by hand into small chunks, boiled for 4-5 hours and than sun-dried. It is then cut into the shapes and sizes needed for the box and the die-cuts.
What are the design elements?
- Curved edges to allow one handed opening and use.
- Thumb-width sides to allow solid grip while using with one hand.
- Clear petal cut-outs covered with a clear film to see inside spices and prevent spillage
- Water-resistant coating to withstand kitchen abuse
- Food grade tins with clear tops that can be stored underneath the tin if removed
- Lightweight and manageable size for ease of use
- Organic, fair-trade spices ground in small batches and hand blended
Here is an example of an early prototype:
Who makes it?
A group of master paper artisans in the Philippines. They have been making exquisite paper for generations and have a unique ability to blend sustainable materials with solid, functional construction. As far as I know they are the only group in the world that can make a box that meets my design parameters.
An artist at work:
Why am I doing this?
Two reasons - one practical, one passionate. The practical reason is that spices aren't meant to be locked in small jars that foster a "break glass in case of emergency" mindset. They're meant to be used, played with, smelled and experienced. The packaging out there just doesn't work to foster creativity.
The slightly less practical but more passionate reason is that I truly believe spices can play a role combatting many modern issues such as chronic disease and unhealthy lifestyles while fostering connection in an increasingly disconnected world.
Think about it- Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric and there have been thousands of peer-reviewed, western scientific studies that show it is a potent natural fighter against cancer. And if more people cooked with more spices like turmeric they would likely spend more time with loved ones around a table enjoying great food in great company. I'd like to think that a little handmade box can inspire creativity and a little more humanity in everyday routines. Support the project and see for yourself!
What are the project details and how will Kickstarter support help?
We are trying to take the prototype to the next level and actually make some boxes. The $6500 project goal will enable us to make the boxes but we need your support!
Is it fair trade?
Yes. I spent a few years in sustainability consulting and swore that any product I designed would be as socially responsible as possible. I am willing to bet that no other product in the spice category comes close, and it can hold it's own across any category sustainability-wise. We are going to invest in an educational fund for not just the artisan group but also the entire community where they work.
How about the rewards for support?
The whole point is to get the box into the hands of people who want to be creative when they cook, or want to give it as a gift to creative cooks. That's where you come in. The various levels of support will be rewarded with boxes and spices so you can experience the creativity of the box firsthand. And I hear they make great gifts for the holidays...
- (30 days)