Owen Rye completed his doctorate in 1970, the first in Australia in the ceramic arts, before working at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC and the Prehistory Department, ANU. From 1980 he taught ceramics at the Canberra School of Art and then at Monash University Gippsland, and has presented workshops and lectures on woodfiring in Australia, the USA and Europe. He has curated numerous exhibitions on woodfired ceramics, organised the first Australian woodfiring conference (1986) and has published extensively including the book The Art of Woodfire (2011). His autobiography will be published in 2021.
Rye has exhibited widely in Australia and internationally and is represented in public collections in USA, China, Korea, Germany, France, and many Australian collections including the Australian National Gallery, most state and many regional galleries, and in private collections. He is an elected member of the International Academy of Ceramics, the principal organisation representing the interests of ceramists worldwide.