Erin Cross

! Reliability and cooperation are at the top of my list of what it means to be human. As a
glass artist, the joy brought from from helping others realize their ideas is perhaps the greatest
part of working in a studio. The excitement of collaborating with other craftspeople makes me
my most authentic, energetic self- creating something that communicates, using communication
to create it.
I believe human nurture is much more powerful than human nature. My paternal
grandmother taught me how to weave when she gave me my first loom. My maternal
grandmother taught me to set a table and to create a comfortable environment. The dichotomy
between my hand quilting paternal grandmother and my table setting maternal grandmother is
something I work to balance and understand within myself. I am trying to comprehend the
nuances of adult behavior and interpretations. My maternal grandmother, representative of
human’s inventions created to make us “more comfortable” and my paternal grandmother as the
ancient resilience of life; both working inside the domestic realm. Human nurture and the
experiences we have as children shape us, far more than our genetics play into our work.! !!
Ferns, the first thing I ever wove, share that same resilience- allowing parts of them to
die in order to support new life, growing on almost any surface, no matter how inhospitable,
similar to the most beautiful form of art- the making of what you need, of what you have. !
This battle between the ancient resilience and modern comfort is where I find craft today. The
possibility of almost anything we make to be made by machine, faster and cheaper, forces us to
wonder about the value of our works, forcing our hand to make things no machine ever could.
The idea of a handmade mug is one I refer back to- each object only has the value you assign
to it. The value of your daily coffee mug only exists because you have connected with that
object. !
! !
! I think about the domestic expectations not only of women, but men as well. My father
was a stay at home dad who raised my younger siblings and me in the Virginia countryside. I
was frequently hospitalized for food allergies which sent me into anaphylaxis- so every meal
was prepared at home. My father worked in the food industry as a bread maker and a head chef
before my birth interrupted that career path. While he considers woodworking to be his
expressive art form, he crafted beautiful, carefully thought out meals for my family, every single
night. He taught us that the best way to show someone you love them is to make them a warm
meal. As a result of growing up in this environment, I knew fractions before the alphabet, and
could recite Nestle’ Toll House Chocolate Chip cookie recipe before I could read.! !!
The thread I find that draws together all mediums I enjoy working in- glassblowing,
quilting, weaving, cooking, gardening, printmaking- is an ironically machinelike repetitive act of
the body, communicating all the while.