[Faculty Profile] ] [ Faculty Profile Art Professor Margaret Rack and Lowell artist Yary Livan in front of the Cambodian ceramics kiln they helped build on the grounds of Lowell National Historical Park. Margaret Rack Helping Preserve the Ancient Art of Cambodian Ceramics hile Art Professor Margaret Rack teaches foundational art courses at Middlesex – and sculpts heavy metal in her own artwork – she has an undeniable soft spot for Cambodian ceramics. With the help of dedicated college and community partners, Rack has successfully completed a 10-year effort to build a smokeless, wood-fired Cambodian ceramics kiln in Lowell. Constructed on the grounds of Lowell National Historical Park (LNHP), the W kiln will help preserve an ancient art form that was almost wiped out by the Cambodian genocide. It also enables Lowell artist Yary Livan, one of the few surviving masters of Cambodian ceramics, to continue working and teaching a new generation of artists. As an art form, Cambodian pottery dates back to the ancient Angkor Kingdom (802-1431), explained Rack. “Now that we have the kiln, our hope is that with Yary passing on his knowledge and skills, we’ll make Lowell an international destination for Cambodian ceramics,” she said. Funded by Middlesex and the Theodore Edson Parker Foundation, and completed in September, the innovative kiln is located at 220 Aiken St. It was designed with guidance from Japanese kiln maker Masakazu Kusakabe, who modified Livan’s traditional kiln to be smokeless and more environmentally friendly. An MCC adjunct professor of art and artist-in-residence at LNHP, Livan teaches ceramics to Middlesex and Lowell Public Schools students, as well as members of the community. All student work is fired in the new kiln Profiles [ 20 ] “ “ 4 I made building a kiln the focus of my FulbrightHays project. I wanted to save this art form before it completely goes out of practice. Margaret Rack MCC Art Professor