This self-taught Milwaukee maker has been creating custom counter tops, among other things, since 2005.
In the second installment of our Milwaukee Maker series, we profile a designer who gets his hands dirty with concrete and creates amazing results.
Name: Aaron Hoenisch
Hometown: Wausau, currently resides in Cedarburg
Family: Daughter, Emily Hoenisch (age 12) and son, Ethan Hoenisch (age 14). Significant other/partner, Katharine Nygren.
What do you make?
Counter tops are definitely what I am asked to do more than anything, but I am not sure I specialize in anything in particular. I love getting creative with design and challenging the norm of the materials with which I work.
Favorite type of material to work with and why?
Concrete – it’s malleable, allowing me to create what I want while having endless and undiscovered possibilities. Although, I have yet to have the personal freedom to create and explore on the scale I’d like.
How did you learn/what type of schooling did you have?
I learned by making a lot of mistakes. I went to collage at Carthage for basketball and graduated with an English degree. Shortly after graduating, I dove into teaching high school English with MPS. I have never been formally trained on my trade – it was something I stumbled upon and immediately was drawn to the challenge and platform of expression.
When did you start doing this?
March 5, 2005, was the day I left teaching and April 20, 2005, was the day I decided to start my own business. I have been evolving and creating ever since – over 11 years now.
Where is your merchandise currently sold?
I have been lucky enough to have participated in several artistic showrooms over the years – spanning from Wausau (where my business originated after leaving teaching) to downtown Milwaukee. Although, they have been more pop-up shop opportunities to showcase design and original ideas alongside other artists/friends rather than a brick-and-mortar store. I prefer to work with clients personally to create what best suits their needs while utilizing original designs and the integrity of the material.
What’s been the most difficult thing about being an independent maker?
I have a tendency to shake hands without signing contracts.
What’s been the most surprising thing?
The degree of extreme ups and downs. Between family, clients, deadlines and unexpected set-backs with the materials I handle, I can’t do more than try to be prepared and hopefully surprise myself.
Favorite part about doing business in Milwaukee?
The exposure to clients who understand and appreciate what I’m doing and creating for/with them. When they love the design and work with me through it, while knowing it can change at any moment considering the material, it is honestly the best feeling. It is so gratifying.