Palmyra artist Kaaren Wiken has been a professional artist along with her husband Tom Rauschke under the name XN-TRIX since 1977. Known primarily for her intricate embroideries incorporated into Tom’s wooden sculptures, she also took up working with metal in the early 90’s, creating life sized sculptures of numerous creatures. In 2006 Kaaren stopped embroidering, but has continued with hand stitching as a Zen Buddhist sewing teacher, and with her business Zen Tailor, custom sewn Zen robes. As sewing takes up more of her time, although she will always be an Artist, there will be fewer sculptures to purchase.
Kaaren’s work is done free hand with a 23,000-degree plasma cutter that would normally be guided by a programmed robotic arm. “I not only found that I loved the act of cutting metal much more than programming a computer” said Kaaren, “but that I could also give each creature more character with free hand cutting. I may be following my pattern, but each sculpture is still one of a kind.”
Kaaren begins with various gauges of recycled metal and, after cutting and fitting the pieces, starts the rust patina with a mild acid bath. Most of her creatures are life-sized and come in a variety of posses that have an uncanny ability to capture the creature in 3 dimensions, or “2-and-a half”, as Kaaren likes to admit. All designs are original and all sculptures are hand cut by Kaaren or her husband Tom Rauschke.