RAAQUU was founded by Adil Abdul Ghani who has over fifteen years of experience of being a ceramic craftsman and his designs have been exhibited all over the world. Join us for today's designer interview to learn more about these unique designs and the artist behind the creations.

How did your brand begin?        

RAAQUU is a ceramic art brand founded in 2020. It intends to make the magical world of raku ceramics more accessible to ceramic art lovers all over the world.

Almost 15 years ago I was enamoured with raku pottery while undergoing a ceramics training program in Japan. I decided to hone my expertise in all things raku and the result of that decision led to the birth of RAAQUU.

When did you first fall in love with designing and knew you wanted to become a designer?              

My love for Raku began 15 years ago during a ceramic training program in Japan. The methods, difficulty and skill required to produce each piece was truly challenging and it only made me more determined.

I then decided to hone my expertise and specialize in this unique form of ceramic finishing.

Values are really important to us at JewelStreet. What are your core brand values?       

The RAAQUU brand has the tagline " Painted by Fire". It embodies values of passion, uniqueness, collaboration and diversity.

Raku is a difficult form of ceramic work. Its unpredictability leads to many pieces that never make the mark and it requires teamwork, determination and skill to execute.

Our range of different shapes and finishes also is an ode to the many forms of the human heart. Who can say what inspires another person?

We strive to have something that is able to speak to anyone around the world without regard to race, religion, beliefs or nationality.

Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs? 

There are many sources of inspiration for my RAAQUU pieces. One of them is nature - the Umi vase is a coral inspired piece. I also include organic curved surfaces in most of my designs to soften its impact on the surroundings.

The Raku finish also leads to a very organic, natural rainbow hue of colours that clash and merge at whim. Sometimes it looks like a starry night and other times like a volcanic eruption!

How do you ensure your designs are ethical and sustainable?    

I used to create my pieces in my humble workshop in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia. This small town is located in the natural beach-and-island paradise off Malaysia’s east coast. Famous for its island life and coral reefs, Terengganu is a well-known tourist destination.

One of the exciting things I intend to do with my work is to support the rehabilitation of coral reefs near my home, as well as globally, by producing ceramic coral bases. Placed on the seabed, these bases help to accelerate coral attachment, supporting the preservation and expansion of existing coral habitats. I will make these bases available to coral rehabilitation organisations worldwide at no cost, funding the initiative with a portion of the proceeds from our Art Series (and NFT) sales.

How are your products made?  

RAAQUU products are made using a 2-step firing method. The first step is to create the base shape of the vase. Once that is done, I then proceed to the second stage which is raku firing.

Depending on what I intend to produce, I employ different techniques that change according to finish and size of the completed item.

RAAQUU pieces come in 5 different types of finish: full-copper matte, half-copper matte, smoked (or ‘naked’), carbon half-copper matte, and obvara (a slightly varied technique of firing).

The final finish of a raku fired ceramic piece cannot be reproduced. This makes each piece a unique, one-of-a-kind work of art with its own story to tell.

Are there any specific manufacturing/crafting techniques you use?        

Raku ceramics are special because of the unpredictability of the raku firing technique. Raku firing is done in an extremely hot kiln. The piece is then removed while the ceramic is still red-hot or molten. Immediately after coming out of the kiln, the ceramic piece is then placed in a reduction chamber – usually a simple metal bin or container – filled with sawdust or paper. The extreme heat from the ceramic piece then ignites the combustible material in the reduction chamber, which is then sealed for a while. What happens inside the reduction chamber next is the key to the unique and unpredictable colours and patterns of each raku ceramic piece.

How do you source your materials?        

All my materials are sourced locally supporting the ceramic industry in Malaysia.

Have you won any awards for your work?          

In 2022, my work was awarded the Malaysia Good Design award by a Malaysian government agency.

Tell us about some of your most inspiring clients, or bespoke commissions.       

In the 15 years that I have been making Raku pieces, I have met people from all walks of life.

Each one of them brings a different piece to the table and forms a special part of my journey.

I have been commissioned to make pieces for hotels around the world, made custom commissions for ceramic collectors, and sent small vases around the world as meaningful mother's day gifts.

The stories shared by each of these experiences are precious to me and inspire me to keep going.

To this day, I look forward to the reactions of those who purchase my pieces when they unbox their first RAAQUU piece.

How do you want someone to feel when they see your designs?             

Throughout my journey as a ceramic artist, I have found that awareness of raku fired ceramics is very low, even among the ceramic enthusiast community. Most raku work is made by individuals as a hobby, rather than commercially, since the complex raku process must be carried out one item at a time and can still lead to inconsistent results. This narrow field limits the awareness of raku firing and accessibility to the body of work.

With RAAQUU, I aim to change all that. It is my mission, enabled by my business partner, Diane Sebastian, to use the digital world to expand awareness and appreciation of this specific ceramic art form.

If you hadn't become a designer, what would you be doing?     

I would probably be running my own little bespoke coffee house. Coffee is another great love of mine that I share with my wife.

Do you work with any charities?              

I am producing ceramic coral bases to help protect reefs in Malaysia and around the world. They are available to coral rehabilitation organizations worldwide at no cost. We fund the initiative with proceeds from our Art Series (and NFT) sales.

Have you been featured in any exhibitions?       

In my 15 years in the ceramic world, I have exhibited my work internationally, including in Germany, Japan, Singapore and South Korea.

My journey was not a charmed one. I credit my current position to many factors, among which is the unending support and understanding that I receive from my wife. We’ve been through thick and thin together, and having her there beside me kept me going for all of those years before I gained commercial acceptance.

Do you have any exciting future plans and where do you see your brand in 5 years?      

This year we have now successfully shared our work with ceramic art lovers in more than 30 countries worldwide. I now truly believe that it is possible to be commercially viable and stay true to your art form. This represents a big change in my mindset, and one that has opened up limitless opportunities for RAAQUU globally.

I see RAAQUU as a brand that introduces Raku ceramics to enthusiasts around the world. We can carry them along a journey of increasing immersion in the form, from RAAQUU Basics, to RAAQUU Art Series and finally to the RAAQUU Signature series.

In 5 years, I hope that my work creates joy and inspires a new generation of ceramic artists to include raku firing as one of their forms of expression.

What drew you to JewelStreet?

As my journey grows, I find that RAAQUU receives its best responses from a like-minded community that values handcrafted, unique, and artisanal products. This is the exact feeling I get when I first explored JewelStreet. I do hope that our addition to the range offered adds a special flavour to the community.

How do your brand values align with those of JewelStreet?        

I feel that there is great alignment. RAAQUU is a brand that holds dear to values of passion, diversity and collaboration.

These values ring true with my experience with the platform and the team behind it. Although it has been a brief experience so far, I trust that this is how JewelStreet operates and look forward to a long term partnership.

If you could only have one piece from your collection, what would it be and why?          

Our Art Series Vases are the most striking items in our collection. They are bound to create conversation and attract the eye. These vases come with a unique serial number and are a wonderful addition to any ceramic collection.

Thank you so much for talking with us Adil!

Discover beautiful ceramic designs over at RAAQUU on JewelStreet.