Niko Weissenberger

Ceramics
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Lecturer, Part-time
Ceramics

I have been living in Waco, Texas since 2008 after graduating from the University of North Texas with an MFA. Currently, I support myself as a part-time lecturer at Baylor University and McLennan Community College. Making work manages to get in there somewhere. The line between sculpture and function is faint and the forms have more to do with the wood kiln itself than any allegiance to a particular technique. I try to be honest with the material and to be involved with it physically and mentally. The process of wood-firing has proven to be a good source for both of these things. Long hours of splitting wood, loading pots, and burning logs have brought me into more intimate contact with the materials.

MFA, University of North Texas
BA, Trinity University

Artist Statement

I try to be honest with the material and be involved with it physically and mentally. The process of wood-firing has proven to be a good source for both of these things. Long hours of splitting wood, loading pots, and burning logs have brought me into more intimate contact with the materials. The physicality of the process appeals to me on many levels. For example: aside from the smell and noise, the simple action of running a log splitter can be quite meditative once a good rhythm has been established. This "quality time" with my fuel source also lets me know what I have. Is it dense, open, heavy, light, wet or dry? Knowledge of one's materials is essential and the kiln does not magically decorate the pieces inside. A neatly split and stacked pile of wood is also as much an aesthetic experience as a finished piece. The how and why being as important as the what.

I've learned from watching and listening, viewing the clay, fire, and crew as collaborators and respecting them as sources of information. But even at its best the process is always generating more questions than answers, forcing me to contemplate, accept, and hopefully expand. The simplicity or primitiveness of the overall process stands in stark contrast to the complexity of aesthetic considerations made during the loading and firing of the kiln. The record of the piece's final transformation is permanently etched into its surface. The directionality of flame and ash give evidence to the piece's position in the kiln during firing and serve as a narrative that unfolds slowly over time with use or contemplation.

The objects I make, hopefully reference function in a way appropriate to its long standing multicultural history. The vessel in all its permutations has connected man and his environment in the most intimate of relationships for millennium. It is this tradition and culture that connects us with something bigger than ourselves, something timeless.

Professional Work

Shield Vase | woodfired stoneware, 12
Shield Vase | woodfired stoneware, 12" x 9" x 3", 2015
Little Sips | woodfired stoneware, 2.5
Little Sips | woodfired stoneware, 2.5" x 2" x 2", 2009
Firebox Cups | woodfired stoneware, 4.5
Firebox Cups | woodfired stoneware, 4.5" x 3", 2015
Orangestone Cups | woodfired stoneware, 4
Orangestone Cups | woodfired stoneware, 4" x 3" x 3", 2014
Firebox Cups | woodfired stoneware,  4.5
Firebox Cups | woodfired stoneware, 4.5" x 3", 2015
Shield Form | woodfired stoneware, 18
Shield Form | woodfired stoneware, 18" x 14" x 5", 2012
Firebox Jar | woodfired stoneware, 24
Firebox Jar | woodfired stoneware, 24" x 18" x 18", 2012
Firebox Jar | woodfired stoneware, 22
Firebox Jar | woodfired stoneware, 22" x 18" x 18", 2012
Ikebana Vase | woodfired stoneware, 10
Ikebana Vase | woodfired stoneware, 10" x 5" x 5", 2013
Shield Vase | woodfired stoneware, 9
Shield Vase | woodfired stoneware, 9" x 10" x 3", 2012