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From the beginning my Work has been about trees. The first attraction was to the wood itself, in its raw form, “tree parts.” I loved all of it, the color, the grain, the knots, the bark and even the cracks. For me it was an obvious choice, and it grew everywhere around me. All different types, most of it free, and ready to work. All I had to do is figure out a way to remove the parts that I didn’t want. That’s where tools and techniques come in.
One of my favorite occupations is turning wood on a lathe, an act I call “bringing order out of chaos.” Taking a crude irregular tree trunk and spinning it can be a death-defying event, but being able to shape it into a smooth, symmetrical form is still magical. It also allows me to remove most of the wood, leaving only a thin shell, which can then be carefully cut using a fret, or jeweler’s saw. In this way I am able to cut fine-details out of the side of a bowl shape. New doors open.
Once past how to make something, you come to the question of why to make something. A continuously recurring theme in my work has been the form and shape of a tree, standing alone, or in a grouping. A tree becomes a tree, a part of the forest regenerates a forest. The art we choose to make is influenced by where we live, an area of Wisconsin known as the Kettle Moraine. Oak forests and rolling prairies ride atop hills pushed up by the last Ice Age, and then reappear as the pattern cut on the edge of an oak bowl. We also make pieces that explore subjects we’re interested in. Native birds, turtles, fish and insects have all contributed to the forms found in our work.
2009 Return to Nature: Wildlife Biennial. Miller Art Museum, Sturgeon Bay.
2006 Meet Rauschke and Wiken. Racine Art Museum, Racine, Wis.
2006 Turned and Sculpted Wood Invitational. Del Mano Gallery, Los Angeles, Calif.
2004 Celebrating Nature. Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, Calif.
2004 The Perfect Collection. Fuller Museum of Art, Brockton, Mass.
2004 The Edge of the Woods (solo show). St. Norbert College, Depere, Wis.
2003 Into the Woods-Greenburg Collection. Long Beach Museum of Art, Calif.
2001 Celebrating Boxes (invitational). Tully House Museum, Carlisle, UK.
2001 Narrative Wood (solo retrospective). Villa Terrace Museum, Milwaukee, Wis.
1999 SOFA Show, New York. Katie Gingrass Gallery, Milwaukee, Wis.