Natalie Weinberger: Ceramics With a Sense of History

 Words by Jennine Jacob

When you look at Natalie Weinberger‘s work, there is a sense of history. Her pieces pay homage to the past with their classic forms, but she gives them a contemporary edge with the details. The rough texture of the surface of many of her pieces has an ancient quality about them. Yet the crisp stripes with raw clay, beveled edges give rise to geometric detailing that has a distinctly contemporary appeal. Her work straddles the past and the present in a way that very few artists are able to articulate.

“Often I’ll see something out in the world that sparks an idea that I want to interpret,” she says.

This should come as no surprise given Weinberger’s background. She took her first pottery class while in grad school for historic preservation. Weinberger had always been drawn to vessels, in high school and college, she dabbled in glass blowing. So before graduating she knew that she would be changing her career path.  However, she worked with non-profits for four years doing pottery on the side before delving into the world of full-time ceramics.

In the time since she has become a full-time ceramicist, she has done a number of collaborations with artists, retailers, museums, and galleries. From interpreting the work of artists, she has come up with capsule collections like “Family” with Ana Kraš. Here, she worked off the drawings of the artist to create a line of coordinating sculptures. Most recently, Weinberger has collaborated with the Noguchi Museum Shop to create a line of striped vessels inspired by the work of the master sculptor Isamu Noguchi.

As to her creative process, around half of her work is hashed out before she gets to the wheel. “Often I’ll see something out in the world that sparks an idea that I want to interpret,” she says. Though the other half, she discovers her designs through the throwing and trimming process. She says she finds success in both methods equally. If this is how her finished pieces come out, we would have to agree.


Photos courtesy of Natalie Weinberger