Meet the Salt Monsters! Starting at the top left, they are Melvin, Nessie, Louise, Quinn, Wanda, and Louise's brother Brendan.
These charming critters are here to hold your salt for easy use while cooking, either by pinching some and sprinkling it, or using their tongue-spoons to add a bit. They are based on the "salt pig", a vessel that is popular with French cooks, both at home and professional. They are now available for sale in my online store, and on exhibit in the upcoming Ceramic Showcase Online.
Here's Melvin ready with a little salt for you:
Like a lot of my other ware, the salt monsters didn't start out with eyes and teeth. Those sort of ... evolved. How they started out was a request by a cooking club for some logo-embossed salt pigs. I played around with various designs, and decided the most reliable one would be a bent cylinder. I make these by throwing a cylinder on the wheel and cutting it in half diagonally, then sticking it back together. This created what I thought was a pretty good shape for keeping salt by the stove:
Like other salt pigs, this one had a wide opening for taking pinches, but is covered from above, in order to limit the amount of things that fall into the salt from nearby cooking activity. That's pretty important if yours is going to be right next to the stove the way mine is. However, one thing I found out immediately was that I needed to scale up a bit to make it comfortable to use with my oversized hands.
So, when I made some non-logo ones I started making them bigger, throwing a 4" to 4.5" wide cylinder. I also started looking at them and thinking how much they looked like open mouths. Not pigs, though, more like some kind of muppet beast. And thus the first salt monsters were born.
I made that little beastie as part of a matched set with several other items (spoonrests, soap dishes, etc.) for a friend's wedding. They liked it quite a bit, and I made a brown one and kept it for myself. Also sold a few. However, my friend gave me the feedback that he'd really love to have some kind of handle on top to move the salt monster around. And after using my own for a while, I started thinking ... what if that tongue were a spoon?
Say hi to your new salt monsters!
These critters have decorative crests on their heads, that not only add to their monstrous cuteness, they're also useful for grabbing the monster and moving it around the kitchen counter. And I made a bunch of little porcelain spoons in the shape of tongues and glazed them pink. I tried to make the spoons exactly 1/2 tsp or 1 tsp, but that didn't quite work; it's really hard to account for clay shrinkage with that precision. So the spoons are more like 1/3 tsp and 5/6 tsp.
And, of course, I had to give them names. Adopt a Salt Monster today, you'll be glad you did.