Tag Archives: Sculpture

Kaaren Wiken – Metal Sculpture

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.

Xntrix Website

Tom Rauschke – Wood Sculpture

I make bowls that will never hold popcorn, Teapots that would not hold water, and containers that will never contain anything but air. As a craft artist my intention has always been to make a functional object, something useful that a person would interact with rather than just look at. As a Fine Art sculptor, my concerns are more aesthetic with less concern if it actually performs a function. In between these two influences I have created a body of work that, while starting out with the appearance of functional objects, are in reality intended to intrigue the mind and enchant the eye.

The Mobiles that I make might be one possible exception to this in that their purpose is to fill a space with form, color, and movement, and that function they serve fully well. For over thirty years I have been incorporating mobiles into my wood sculpture works. These mobiles were generally very small as they often “flew” within my sculptures, adding an aspect of movement inside the form. A small flock of crows, a school of fish, or leaves falling from a tree, these mini- mobiles also brought an element of narrative to the piece.

Over the past number of years these mobiles have grown in size and complexity to where they have become ever-moving and interacting shapes that have burst out to fill a much larger space. Stars, planets, and other astronomical objects floating in space, or flocks of Sandhill Cranes spiraling up to glide off are two of my favorite themes, along with my Underwater series where various aquatic plants and animals swim in ever-changing patterns.

Photo of work by Tom RauschkeMy sculptures are made from various hardwoods that have been turned, cut and carved, inlaid or laminated to achieve the desired effect. Different colors and textures are achieved by using different types of wood, most often native hardwoods. Finally a coating of Tung oil varnish is applied to protect the wood.

That my medium of expression turned out to be wood, seems to have been almost pre-ordained. My relationship with trees has been a life-long passion, along with my preference for all things natural. Through my work I have found a way to express and examine the things that fascinate me most. Many of my works are small dioramas where the mind can go exploring. The element of Discovery is also important in my work, and I would be disappointed in any of my pieces that didn’t have some sort of surprise or twist to it.

After 34 years as a professional artist I can still say that I’m never completely sure what I’m going to make next, but that I still manage to amaze myself from time to time.

Xntrix Website

Jef Raasch – Sculptor

I leave the sunny path, push past the thickets and brambles, and enter the world of sun dappled and dark. Listen to the scolding Squirrel and warning caw of the Crow. Wander. Step over rotten log. Taste the dampness in the air. Wonder. Dig into the leaf mold past the moss and mushroom, into the primeval loam. Smell the earth. Find the clay. Feel the squish and ooze between my fingers. With it I fashion the things I’ve seen and imagined, into the three dimensional canvas onto which I paint.

For over twenty-three years I have made my living as a self-employed artist and have exhibited my work in juried art shows all over the country. Clay is the medium in which I specialize. People and animals are the focus of my work.

Show Participation

  • La Quinta Arts Festival, La Quinta, CA
  • ACC Craft Show Baltimore, Baltimore, MD
  • Saint Louis Art Fair, Clayton, MO
  • Lake Front Festival of Art, Milwaukee, WI
  • Coconut Grove Art Festival, Coconut Grove, FL
  • Smithsonian Craft Show, Washington, DC
  • Crafts on Park Avenue, New York, NY
  • Plaza Art Show, Kansas City, MO
  • Long’s Park Art and Craft Show, Lancaster, PA
  • American Craft Exposition, Evanston, IL

Jef Raasch website