Martha Rehkamp

Martha Rehkamp

About The Artist

Martha Rehkamp • Minneapolis, MN

Martha Rehkamp lives in Minneapolis, MN creating clay sculptures that marry her background in arts education, her passion for gardening, and her love of experimentation. She began working in clay in 2012 at the Northern Clay Center and has continued her journey as part of the 2022 MN NICE cohort. Her recent sculptures depict the beauty inherent in fading garden forms. She uses the garden metaphor as a sly way to assert that aging is not to be feared.


Artist website

Q&A with the Artist

Tell us how your work is made.

I collect mental images from nature and find a way to express them through clay using hand built slabs, molds and extrusions. There is an intuitiveness to my making in trying to get the clay to mimic natural forms. The challenge of my work is to find the time to manipulate and experiment with the clay to create forms that look effortless, and natural. I constantly experiment with different ways to do this and find useful tools and methods that can change the outcome. I want to capture the essence of nature’s forms without trying to duplicate them. Arranging them into still lifes and vignettes requires careful observation over months and constant rearranging until the final form is decided on.

What makes you passionate about the medium you work with?

My eye lands on something that intrigues me, and my mind creates an image I want to make. My brain loves the challenge of getting the clay to respond to the image in my mind. It is fun, demanding, and stimulating. All of my senses are engaged. I love working with clay because it has the amazing ability to mimic the way a leaf unfurls or flower pedals as they start to wither. It also grounds me in the fact that I am working with nature's own material as I create forms that mimic nature.

What is something unique about you or your practice?

Adding actual dried plant life to my sculptures has added a dimension that enhances the ceramic elements and causes my viewer to take a closer look. What is real? My body of work is an examination of life’s impermanence. Wilting, dying, ceramic flowers are composed into a still life, contrasting formality along side the organic fragility of dried natural elements. The natural elements enhance the premise that while the arrangement suggests a loss of original vibrancy, upon closer examination it still shows the grace and resilience of aging forms and their inherent, underlying beauty.