(Dis) Table

Date of Award


Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)




Deborah Wing-Sproul

Second Committee Member

Owen Smith

Third Committee Member

Wayne Hall


In the process of building a walnut table in honor of my mother’s open-heart surgery I experienced an intimacy between the material, my body, and my relationship with my mother. This relationship between the table and myself expanded far beyond me doing something to the wood; instead it was an active engagement that allowed for the wood to do something to me. This active engagement was personal and I experienced it alone in my studio: but does this relationship extend to other bodies outside my process of making? Does my personal relationship with the wood have a presence for others who use the table? Ultimately, I am posing the question: are there design elements that when applied can activate the space between two bodies?

Upon further examination of my personal experience I articulated three intentional design strategies that, when applied, support an awareness of the environment, the self and the relationship between two people. On these three tables, I specifically locate my mother and I as the two bodies at each table but invite the reader to imagine possibilities when any two bodies orient themselves at these tables. This paper outlines each of these design principles: discoverability, markability and kinesthetic engagement and proposes three table designs that employ these principles.