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Peter Benz




Workshop with Product Design Students at Bauhaus-University Weimar in January 2000

My first formal teaching experience. I have been an avid collector of spoons since the early 1990s. Through a personal encounter with Prof. Heiko Bartels from the Faculty of Art & Design of Bauhaus-University Weimar in late 1999 I unexpectedly got the opportunity to teach a two-week intensive workshop (10–21 January 2000) for first year students of their Product Design programme on my favourite artefact.

A spoon is possibly the most versatile tool of human kind. Every culture in history developed spoon-like devices to take in food, which vary rather little in functionality, but immensely in forms.

In addition to its obvious purpose the spoon also carries complex cultural meanings. It is a medium in more than just its functional way:

· Diogenes in classical Greece gave up all his possessions… except for his spoon;

· Some tribes in West-Africa nail a spoon to the roof of their houses to protect them from evil spirits;

· A young Lapp in Scandinavia will present his love a spoon as a token of their engagement;

· A complete set of cutlery in Germany includes 18 different spoon variations.

In this two-week workshop the participants explored the spoon, its history, its meanings and potentials. At the end stood a personal spoon-design.

A selection of spoon-designs by workshop participants: