Heriberto Ponce

Heriberto Ponce

#PeopleofNIU Photo by Wade Duerkes/Institutional Communications

Hometown: Aurora, IL

Major: Master of Fine Arts, Fiber Arts

Why did you decide to pursue fiber arts?
We are pretty much all artists in my family, in a way. My grandmother and my great uncles, they were all weavers, that’s what they did for a living. I wouldn’t consider it art, I would consider it more of a way to sustain themselves. They would do a lot of commission work for other people, creating weavings from their own handmade looms. I picked that up a little. I’m exploring natural dyes, I collect my own wool and collect my own dye material from plants.

Who are your favorite professors?
Christine Lofaso, she is the fiber arts department head and my mentor. She’s been helping me since I was in undergrad. Originally, I wanted to become a potter, and I still do pottery, but Professor Lofaso is the one who suggested, why don’t you try what you already know from your family? That’s when I started weaving. Also, Jamie Obermeier, he is a metalwork professor. I like his honesty in critiques. Michael Barnes, is a printmaking professor, I like that when he gives me a critique there’s honesty. That’s what I’m trying to look for, honesty, that’s what I need to do my work.

Why should other students choose NIU?
We get the support from the faculty and staff, we do a lot of research, and we work on our own work. They guide us to learn what we are supposed to learn, but at the same time they let us do our own research and work. One of the nice things about the art department is that you have other students you can work with and talk with. Also, the institution itself is wonderful. We get a studio to work in. The residence halls are so equipped for student needs; they don’t have to worry about anything. Even if you’re not living on campus, I think just being here, having access to the buildings and the school, I think is a good place to be. The area is excellent too. There is a lot of inspiration if you’re an artist. Just walk a little bit to the south, the east, the west, you can get inspired.

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