Xn-trix, the husband and wife team of Tom Rauschke and Kaaren Wiken, are famous for their intricate wood and fiber sculptures inspired by the natural world. This week on Inside The Warehouse, Tom Rauschke provides insight into his and Kaaren Wiken’s connection to Wisconsin and how the State’s natural environment inspired their Tree Goblet series.
“Both Kaaren and I are born and bred Wisconsinites. Kaaren grew up in Muskego, and I in Waukesha. We met at the Milwaukee Public Museum in 1972, where we both worked. We married in 1975. Kaaren has a BS from Stevens Point, and I have a BFA from UWM. We both attribute our love and fascination of the Natural World to being able, from an early age on, to go roaming freely in the wilds of Wisconsin. That sense of Awe and Adventure is what we attempt to convey in our artwork.
The very first Tree Goblet I made was for a "Goblet Show" at the Northwest Gallery of Fine Woodworking in Seattle WA in the 1980's. After that I continued to explore the Tree Goblet theme with different types of trees. Trees with multiple trunks, trees with birds, trees with leaves,...and then a tree with a nest, that has a bird sitting on an embroidery of baby birds hatched underneath it! Also at this time I became aware that every tree flowers in some way, so, tiny little flowers in the branches turned and carved from colorful exotic hardwoods.
The Tree Goblet that is in the Shannon/ Serr Collection, and in the current Exhibit, On the Nature of Wisconsin, at the Warehouse was turned, cut, and carved from the trunk of an Ash tree. You can see the bark, and count the rings. There is some irony in making a tree back into a tree.”
Xn-trix, "Birds in Tree" (1997). Featured in the On the Nature of Wisconsin exhibition.
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