Professor Michael Rice has had two essays published in the International Ceramic Publication, ‘Ceramics Art and Perception”. Ceramic Art and Perception is Published in Sydney, Australia and has been one of the world’s leading ceramic publications for over 25 years. It is the international magazine for ceramics, ceramic art and pottery. Presenting the latest news and views on ceramics globally, it is an invaluable resource for ceramic artists, potters, collectors, curators, students, and anyone with a passion for and interest in ceramics. Professor Rice’s first article focuses on him articulating his design philosophy and how working with clay has had a fundamental impact on how he views the design process.
“Clay really is a wondrous substance. Antonio Gaudi realized this and the window and door handles in his famous Casa Batlo in Barcelona took their design from clay gently squeezed in the hand to create perfectly ergonomic, intuitive and beautify distinct design elements. When I first used clay I immediately realized that this material was something I had to master, I was still drawing but now in 3D. I realized that I needed to understand the processes, skills and techniques that would transform this soft malleable and forgiving material in to the hard and fixed ceramic that it could become, all the time I was learning but it felt like I was simply playing. Not that there weren’t frustrations: making successful ceramics is mastering a series of sequential processes each one of which can spell catastrophe if not correctly executed. Life lessons are truly experienced in getting to know clay: patience, acceptance, failure, accuracy, and repetition making small gains as you go”.
The second feature looks at the inspiration behind his works and also speaks of a recent commission for the Abu Dhabi Festival commissioned by ADMAF ( The Abu Dhabi Music and Art Foundation).
“I can’t help but think that these thoughts focusing on the substance of the essential material of the world is perhaps some type of benign infection specifically to do with being a ceramicist: the result of clay permeating my skin for years on end, subtly working its way through my cuts and scrapes into my very tissues rendering me somewhat obsessed with the ground in its various manifestations and my eventual return to it. One of the things that I enjoy most about being a ceramicist is the fact that my work is truly composed of the earth, from its constituent components, from materials presumed to be of little value, inert, materials that are found everywhere. I love the idea that I’m literally creating solid beauty from the dirt, dirt in all its mundane glory. And just as ceramics are inexorably connected to the earth and all its various terrains, clay it has played an unrivaled role in the history of human cultures, the very word culture is a synonym derived from the tiling of the soil. Even in their syntax words like agriculture, horticulture, or cultivating speak to the fact that earth is literally the stuff that we metaphorically and literally base ourselves on”.