The husband and wife team of Tom Rauschke and Kaaren Wiken has become nationally recognized for their unique and intricate wood and fiber sculptures. Tom’s nature inspired sculptures are often lathe-turned, hand-cut, and carved from the native hardwoods of the Kettle Moraine, and depict environments and inhabitants of the area. Some of these works might take the form of a Mobile of birds spiraling in flight, or stars and planets floating in space. Others are animal boxes that open up to reveal some secret function. Into some of these objects Tom inlays colorfully detailed embroideries created by Kaaren. They have been collaborating for over 30 years, and are known collectively as Xn-trix.
You can visit the Xn-trix studios during the Kettle Moraine Studio Tour each year.
Kaaren Wiken began her metal sculpture career in 1996 when she attended a welding class at a local technical college, hoping to realize her dream of creating life-sized metal outdoor sculptures. Beginning with a full-sized buffalo, she proceeded to design and create all the animals native to the area, believing these to be the most appropriate lawn ornaments for one living in the Kettle Moraine. Cutting recycled steel with a 23,000 degree plasma cutter, Kaaren has been able to bring into existence a whole menagerie of creatures to inhabit their property. Kaaren’s ability to visualize in 3 dimensions the different poses that the animal might take lends to the sculptures an uncanny look that Kaaren likes to refer to as 2 ½-D.
Tom and Kaaren have sold their work in museums, galleries and art shows throughout the country.