Maker of the Week - Tom Rauschke

Monday 10 October 2011

In Tom's own words, he "makes bowls that will never hold popcorn, teapots that would not hold water, and containers that will never contain anything but air." Tom is a craft artist whose intention has always been to make a functional object, something useful that a person would interact with rather than just look at.

He is a fine art sculptor whose 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," he says.

Tom has always had a life-long passion for trees, along with a 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," he says.

Tom's mobiles might be one possible exception to this in that their purpose is to fill a space with form, colour, and movement. Tom has been incorporating mobiles into his wood sculptures for over 30 years: "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."

His sculptures are made from various hardwoods that have been turned, cut and carved, inlaid or laminated to achieve the desired effect. He achieves different colours and textures by using different types of wood, most often native hardwoods. Finally a coating of tung oil varnish is applied to protect the wood.

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Images, from top to bottom:

1. 'Bee on Purple-headed Coneflower'

2. 'Lily with Dragonfly'

3. 'Bullhead Lilly with Damselfly'

4. 'Shrew Teapot'

5. 'Northwoods Moose Bowl' from the 'Lost Embroidery' series

6. 'Savannah Bowl' from the 'Lost Embroidery' series

7. 'Arctic Polar Bear Bowl' from the 'Lost Embroidery' series

8. 'Desert Oasis Bowl' from the 'Lost Embroidery' series