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Nikki Rayburn '11 headshot

Nikki Rayburn '11

Assistant Director of Exhibitions, Adjunct Assistant Professor Woodworking & Furniture Design

Dept. : ICA at MECA, Woodworking & Furniture Design

“First and foremost, I strive to create an environment for my students in which they can feel safe and comfortable. My greatest emphasis upon entering the classroom is to encourage each student to be open and honest, building that trust through my own honesty with them regarding my expectations. I believe that individuals learn best by doing, and I work with my students by discussing and analyzing the challenges they face in constructing their work ‐‐ always asking them questions, rarely giving answers. I often remind my students that the studio is the safest place to fail, and it is through our failures that we realize the possibility of creating truly great work. Problem solving within the studio environment is a physical activity, thus I encourage my students to keep making and keep trying in pursuit of successful works of art.”

Nikki Rayburn is an assistant professor in Woodworking & Furniture Design, and is also MECA’s Assistant Director of Exhibitions.

Nikki received an MFA in Craft/Material Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2013 and a BFA in Woodworking and Furniture Design from Maine College of Art in 2011. Her work, which embraces traditional craft techniques, demonstrates her training in woodworking, textiles and basketry construction, and aims to honor the laborious and physical nature of the making practice. Nikki has exhibited her work extensively throughout the United States, and it is part of multiple permanent collections, including the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, VA. She recently curated Made in LA, an interactive exhibition of the thriving yet often hidden creative makers in Lewiston-Auburn, Maine, showcasing the ideas, processes and products driven by innovation and dependent on traditional and contemporary design solutions.


● Work collected by The Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond, VA

● 2014 MECA Stephen Pace House Residency award

● VCUarts Graduate Research Grant for a research trip to London


In addition to her love of woodworking, Nikki is very passionate about the traditions within the field of textiles. Her work often encompasses a variety of skill sets, from working in the woodshop to weaving sculptural forms utilizing basketry techniques to weaving on the loom and developing surface patterns on the computer. On days away from the studio, she can be found hiking the trails with her husband and their Great Dane puppy, Boomer.

Nikki’s Website