Professor Michael Rice of the American University of Dubai demonstrates the firing techniques and processes of the Raku kiln.

Raku firing is an astonishing Japanese ceramics technique invented in the 16th century for a tea ceremony in Kyoto. Used by Zen Buddhist masters, Raku means ‘pleasure’ or ‘enjoyment’.

Pots are taken from the kiln when they are still red-hot, then placed in a combustible material like sawdust or newspaper to starve them of oxygen, creating a glaze with a wonderful variety of colours.

About American University in Dubai

The Mission of the American University in Dubai is to serve as a culturally diverse learning community committed to the pursuit of knowledge through excellence in teaching and scholarly and creative endeavor, leading to students’ academic, personal and professional success, as well as the advancement of society.

About Michael Rice

Ceramicist Michael Rice makes sculptures, surfaces and textures that are difficult to date to a specific culture or place. His aim is to create completed objects with aesthetics that are visually striking but also have a familiarity of form. His post-firing techniques make the most out of the least materials, and his finishes are straightforward yet complex, creating a dialectic that transcends simple visual meaning, moving into iconic or ceremonial territory. Complementing the shape of each piece, these techniques create a synthesis that results in an archetypal presence.

The praxis of Michael’s discipline has always been to create awareness within himself, and to establish an understanding of what he is doing by first taking action and then reflecting and re-reflecting upon the action.
“When looking at a shell on the beach, a stone made beautiful by the endless caress of the tide, objects, forms, things created over time by the earth, I am awed by the skill of nature,” he says. “I have longed to be able to make things that look as natural as if nature had made them, to create objects that resonate with a timeless quality, with a feeling of a genesis beyond the constructed and manufactured.”