Erika Cross



City

Dundee

State

Michigan

Zip

48131

Artist's Statement

​Step: a coffee table inspired by tools found in the workshop. Step blocks are simple mechanical devices for clamping and holding. This new Step consists of two pieces, a wedge and a cylinder. They can be arranged with either one on top. Whichever way is up, ridges on the mating surfaces allow the overall height to be adjusted. ​-- I have always been interested in the relationship between scale and identity. Also, I'm fascinated by interactions between individual parts that combine to form composite objects. Step table was inspired by tools in the workshop – step blocks – which embody these interests. Step blocks are simple mechanical devices used for various clamping and holding tasks. They are pairs of metal wedges, with teeth along the long edges that articulate to hold the blocks together at different positions. The Step table takes these industrial objects and transforms their scale, creating a composite object with a new purpose. The same type of mechanical interface is present between the two parts of the Step table: articulating teeth provide height adjustability. With a larger scale, and with refined geometries, simple industrial tools have been repurposed into household furniture. Producing the prototype was quite labor intensive. I completed the work over the course of a year. It was important to me to use the resources available within the workshop, without outsourcing any of the prototype production. I had to resolve a series of design and engineering challenges in order to conceptualize and then fabricate the necessary pieces in the workshop. This included creative use of a 2.5-axis CNC router, along with various other carpentry and finishing steps. The fabrication process was complex and required many creative solutions, including custom jigs for handheld routers and innovative use of machinery.

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