Riku Rautio

Kemi (1939)

Art making began with painting for Riku Rautio, but his main focus currently lies in ceramics with interest in sculpting as well. The different materials do not compete but sumplement each other, and it is easy to discover the familiar touch, a hint of colour that gives room for the base material and its tones and shapes, by the artist.

In 1985, at a course in Kemi community college, the craze for ceramics began: ”I realized I have a sense of form”. As a technique, ceramics is demanding and ”you can not work with something wonky”. For decades, Rautio has managed to do molds and teach making them. ”You can not really get a taste for making money with this line of work, or even be compensated for the costs of materials ”, Rautio explains.

Unlike many of his colleagues, Rautio has two ateliers specifically designed for his work. The other one is in an outhouse in the courtyard and the other he has built in connection to his residence. Some of the ceramics are burned in a self-made wood-fired oven. To be able to build the oven and be of assistance to the professional bricklayers, Rautio attended a course on bricklayering. Earlier, he had to go all the way to Tervola to have his pottery work burned. Greater temperatures are achieved with another, industry made wood-fired oven situated in the workspace of his residence.

There are shelves and shelves of different coloured experiments on ”eternal clay” in the ateliers and storages. The artist feels, that he has still got a lot to learn. Making different kinds of surfaces is challenging but pleasing. ”You can not stay put”, he notes on future challenges.

The artist presents a room with stacks of aquarelles filling every possible surface. Furthermore, the attic of the residencial building is also filled with paintings. Themes consist of children, whether his own or the neighbours. But when spring starts to shine and glimmer in invite, the artist rushes to boreal marshes to paint. Sketches are born with oil paints and watercolours. The time of fall foliage must also be captured on paper.

Rautio has sculpted since a tender age. Even though his heart still desires towards wood sculpting, ”it is impossible to do everything”. He has, however, collected wood and let it dry in the sun. There they wait for the possible spare time of the artist.

Text: Elina Vuorimies. Translation: Ina Aaltojärvi. Photos:  Jaakko Heikkilä and Veli Granö.