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About Inna

Inna Alesina was born in Kharkov, Ukraine, where she studied industrial design at the Ukrainian Institute of Industrial Arts and continued her studies at Parsons School of Design in New York City. Her interest in universal design and environmental issues led her to design products that have won numerous awards and wide recognition by the press. Her work is published in the compendium Dish: International Design for the Home, and it is featured in many design collections including Material Connexion.... more

tools for body storming

Did you ever wonder why some objects become useless or obsolete while other are very useful?
Tools for body-storming definitely the second group of objects. They are designed to be useful to satisfy needs we don’t even have yet. How do they do that?
First of all they are simple and durable. Second, they do not have prescribed function, which makes them useful in all kinds of situations.
Finally, when not in use, they are still useful props for thinking and inventing as any good object should be. Perhaps they are not as useful as cardboard box, but it getting close.

Test Kitchen for Change

TEST KITCHEN FOR CHANGE produces participatory bread-making events designed to encourage people to embrace slower processes in their lives.
In our ever-accelerating world, many feel that quality of live diminishes as we lacking time to savor things that are important. The question of my design research is not how this situation came about or how it affects us, but rather what can we do to introduce some of the slow and quality experiences back into our fast lives.

Of all things that become fast, food seems to me the most basic, most missed, and one of the most impactful. Almost weekly, we learn terrible news about toxic ingredients discovered in all sorts of processed foods, including school lunches, canned goods, and bread.

Bread is a staple food that unfortunately became unhealthy when it became mass-produced. Eating cheap, processed bread introduces extra sugar, salt, and additives into consumer’s body. Not mentioning, unknown health effects of genetically modified grains, bleached flours and commercial yeast products made at the factory.
The sourdough bread tastes better and is proven to be healthier because it does not need artificial preservatives, and extra salt. The reach taste of sourdough is acquired by a slower fermentation process and is hard to achieve at the huge bakery plant. So, how people can get bread of superior quality and taste? By supporting local artisanal bakers and growers we can create access to wholesome bread, but it may cost more in the beginning. I believe that as people demand better quality of food, we will all have more choices. But until we have a system of small local bakeries, bread-making at home can be an option. Naturally, a home baker can achieve a better control of bread’s ingredients, making the product more suitable for his/her family. However, there is a gap in the skills, knowledge and general stigma that home baking requires serious time commitment.

That is why I started to stage free public hands on bread making events.

Educational hands-on events are the central focus of Test Kitchen for Change — the project I am working on since February 2012.
I have staged dozens of bread making events in churches, galleries, communal gardens, corporate offices, people’s homes, and even at the juvenile detention facility.
Participants mentioned that most important part of it all was the actual touching of the dough; and the whole multisensory experience, immediately, they could understand how it should feel and behave.

Educational events are designed to demonstrate participants that healthy and delicious bread can be made at home with a little time commitment. The process of sourdough bread-making consists of small steps performed between the long stretches of time, which can allow someone to live a fast and busy life while engaging in slow food processes. As with many slow processes, the key to success is that the process itself needs to be enjoyable.

My project evolved with every event, making it suitable for a particular audience and location.

  • instructional video about bread making

    I made a video that shows step by step slow bread making
  • Bread stamp

    Traditionally, loaves are proofed in baskets, leaving the signature mark of the banneton on the crust. Experimenting with the marks left by the proofing baskets, I tried an array of found and specially made objects to leave a mark on a proofed loaf. Shown here is a result from a 3D printed bread-printing tool.
  • Permeable Bowl

    Permeable Bowl was inspired by and made with a mixing bowl as a basic shape. It is perforated with holes and water will spill from it, yet dough will proof (rise) in this container.
  • Adept Apron

    Bread-making events in the community are the most important part of TKFC’s approach. For each event, we designed a special emblem and applied it to the aprons. Shown here is a apron rack/slow bread timeline. It shows how bread making can consist of short tasks performed between longer stretches of time during which fermentation happens.
  • Communal Mixing Bowl

    Bread-making events conducted over the past 18 months helped to improve the bread-making instructions, brought various people together, and elevated the appreciation for the quality of artisanal bread. Participants met other people, tasted, smelled, touched, and made bread. Participants expressed the need to see and be part of the entire bread-making process. That is why every event is advertised as a “bring your mixing bowl” event. Communal breadmaking is an engaging experience.
  • Containers with free sourdough starter

    Participants picked up loaves and sourdough starter in the specially designed containers. The brown paper bag works best to preserve the fresh bread's crunchy crust. Sourdough starter need special instructions for feeding. Test Kitchen for Change distributes free sourdough starter at events.
  • Baking Stones

    Working with clay is a physical process, similar to bread-making. I used my feet and no power tools to mix the terracotta clay with firesand. Historically, people have used feet as tools to juice grapes and mix clay.
  • Budding Yeast Cells/ containers for sourdough starter

    Fermented foods can last longer, taste better, and make us healthier. Natural slow fermentation makes foods more complex. Sourdough starter is a community of local yeast cultures captured from the air and is very different from the mono-culture commercial yeast made at the factory.
  • Bread Stamps

    Traditionally, loaves are proofed in baskets, leaving the signature mark of the banneton on the crust. Experimenting with the marks left by the proofing baskets, I tried an array of found and specially made objects to leave a mark on a proofed loaf. Shown here are the results from a range of bread-printing tools.
  • Double Juicer Tool

    Making food by hand is a sensual experience. When you touch the food you make a connection to it on a very different level. Juicer is a metaphor: "What does it feel like to be an orange?" One hand feels what the other makes.

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Inna's Curated Collection

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