Dale Raddatz was born in 1945 and graduated from Luther College with a B.A. in art in 1970. He then earned M.A. and M.F.A. degrees from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb in 1972 and 1973. Over the years, he supplemented his education with participation in numerous professional workshops, including those at Pond Farm Pottery; the Rhode Island School of Design; Johnson Atelier Technical Institute; and the Peninsula Art School. From 1974-1983 he taught art at Elgin Community College in Elgin, Illinois and also worked as a professional potter at Poplar Creek Pottery in Hampshire, Illinois (1972-1982). In 1985 he became an assistant professor art at Luther College and in 1992 was promoted to associate professor. He continued teaching at Luther until 2007. While at Luther he expanded the pottery kiln room, created a foundry for bronze casting, and led several study-abroad courses, concentrating on Britain and Ireland. In 2005 he established Raddatz Studio in New Albin, Iowa, specializing in bronze, clay and stone works. After leaving Luther he divided his time between Iowa and a studio in Norway.
Raddatz has extensive professional experience in kiln and furnace design and construction. He has served on several panels related to the production and promotion of studio art, most notably the International Stone Carving Symposium in Uto City, Japan in 2003, where he was one of only three international artists invited to speak. His work is contained in numerous collections, including the Uto City Marina Sculpture Garden, Japan; the Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden, Rockford, Illinois; the Elise K. Wiggins Memorial Collection, Coconut Grove, Florida; and the Hinz Co., Tinley Park, Illinois. He has shown his work in dozens of national and regional exhibitions and festivals, including the Marietta College Crafts National Exhibition, Marietta, Ohio; Functional Ceramics, The College of Wooster, Wooster, Ohio; the Midwestern Sculpture Exhibition, South Bend, Indiana; and the Miami Beach Festival of the Arts, Miami Beach, Florida, to name only a few.
He says of his work: “My interest in making art has always been rooted in self-expression and the personal desire to challenge myself. Clay, bronze and stone are generally my materials of choice. Which one I use is determined by the nature of the concept, why, where or for whom the piece is made. Concerns might include durability for bronze, stone because I like the nature of it, clay when plasticity is useful and glaze when functionality is important. Each material demands different treatment an delivers a different aesthetic.”
There are two pieces by Raddatz in the Luther College Fine Arts Collection, a large raku vase donated by the artist, and a bronze bas-relief commissioned by the Luther College Woman’s Club in honor of Jeff and Shirley Baker, former president and first lady of Luther (March 1996 – March 1999). The piece, titled Mission, features a composite of religious images and structures from ancient times to the present.