PLEASE ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF,

I’M A MAN OF CLAY AND GLAZE

PUSHED MUD AROUND FOR SEVENTY YEARS

OR TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND DAYS.

Robin Hopper is a man of many parts, mostly worn out, rusty or dysfunctional, due to a lifetime of excesses! He started working with clay at the age of three and is still doing it over 70 years later. His lengthy, peripatetic career as a mudpusher has included side trips into working as a Professional Actor, Stage Designer, Property Maker, Stage Manager, Stage Carpenter, Grocer, Greengrocer, Jazz Musician, Teapot, Wine and Beer-Bottle, Trumpet, Trombone and Bugle Player, European Travel Guide, Founder of Several Clay/Art/Craft Organizations, Alchemist, Geologist, Primatologist, Linguist, Ornithologist, Botanist, Ceramic Historian, Educator, Author, Garden Designer, Lecturer on Japanese Garden Design, Laborer and Star of Stage, Screen and Potter’s Wheel!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

13 MONTHS LATER!


I can't believe that it is well over a year since I wrote my last blog at this site. The site has been busier since I stopped  than it ever was while I was doing it. I've looked in occasionally. I quit because I found it difficult to keep up with and I had so little response for the amount of time it took me. Imagine my surprise to see it still going strong! I was silent for about four months and then found Facebook and established an educational page there. I could carry on there and get some degree of feedback. I did one or two postings per week, mainly on ceramic topics, and, almost every weekend, did a posting on the ANGLOJAPANADIAN garden at 'Chosin Pottery, an on going art work that I've been working on for  36 years.  Many people asked me if I would do a book on the garden and the work that has been inspired by it. I'm happy to say that I'm about 90% through doing an eBook on the garden. With any luck, it will be up and running by mid-December 2014. It is choc-a-bloc with gorgeous images of the internationally recognized garden that I designed and built, to give myself a permanent, but continually changing, source of ideas and inspiration. I will post the information when I have more details of publication date. Meanwhile, you can get further information on my Facebook Page. 
HAPPY READING!



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

INTO THE SUNSET!


HI, ALL MY READERS, 
WHEREVER YOU MAY BE,

THIS IS MY LAST BLOG. 



I'VE ENJOYED DOING THIS BLOG OVER THE LAST 22 MONTHS. IT GAVE ME A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO LOOK AT WHERE I'VE BEEN AND WHAT I'VE DONE OVER A LONG PERIOD OF TIME. IT HAS BEEN A REAL PLEASURE TO TRAVEL BACK THROUGH TIME, SHARING IDEAS ABOUT WORK, DESIGN, GARDENS, LIFE AND LIFESTYLE THAT HAS KEPT ME CHARGED
 UP FOR 70+ YEARS.


ALBIZIA Julibrissin "Summer Chocolate" 
Japanese Maple - ACER Palmatum "Osakazuki"

Mixed Hellebores, Hostas and Ferns 

Mixed Hellebores, Hostas and Ferns

THE MAIN SOURCES OF IDEAS IN MY WORK COME FROM GARDENS, CERAMIC HISTORY, ARCHITECTURE AND THE LANDSCAPE. 


JAPANESE BERBERIS 'Rosea'

CATALPA Bignonoides and COTONEASTER Cornubia

FUCHSIA Bridal Veil
HYDRANGEA


A WALK OUT OF ANY DOOR FROM MY HOUSE AND STUDIO IS A GIFT TO THE SENSES, DESIGNED TO AWAKEN AND STIMULATE CREATIVE THOUGHT. THE GARDEN IS A 36 YEAR WORK IN PROGRESS. WHEN BARREN OF IDEAS, ANY WALK RESULTS IN A FLOOD OF IMAGES, COLORS  AND FORMS, ALWAYS CHANGING WITH THE SEASONS, TIME OF DAY AND QUALITY OF LIGHT. LOOK, SEE, SMELL AND THINK. 




JAPANESE MAPLES - CORALBARK AND TROMPENBERG

JAPANESE MAPLE - ACER Osakazuki


PANICUM VIRGATUM 'Skyracer'

MOST OF THIS IS FOUND JUST OUTSIDE MY STUDIO AS PART OF A LARGE GARDEN WHERE PLANT SELECTION WAS FOR FORM AND COLOR, AND COULD BE INTERPRETED WITH MANY POSSIBLE VARIATIONS OF CERAMIC PROCESS.

 I HOPE THAT THE IMAGES AND CONCEPTS PUT FORWARD IN THIS BLOG WILL CHALLENGE YOU IN LOOKING, SEEING AND COMING UP WITH NEW IDEAS TO DEVELOP ORIGINAL AND PERSONAL INTERPRETATIONS IN YOUR WORK.

THERE IS ENOUGH MATERIAL TO KEEP ME BUSY FOR SEVERAL LIFETIMES.



ROSA GLAUCA HIPS


EUONYMUS ALATA and GREEN BERBERIS

FALL COLOUR AROUND POND - 20 OCTOBER, 2013
IT WOULD BE WONDERFUL TO BE ABLE TO MAKE GLAZES THAT ALSO INCORPORATE PERFUME -  
ANOTHER CHALLENGE FOR THE FUTURE !




FALL COLOUR AROUND POND - 20 OCTOBER, 2013


CHRYSANTHEMUMS 


FALL COLOUR AROUND POND - 20 OCTOBER, 2013

UNFORTUNATELY, I HAVEN'T THE TIME OR ENERGY TO KEEP ON DOING THE BLOG, GARDEN, CORRESPONDENCE  AND OTHER THINGS AS WELL. 

WITH MY REMAINING ENERGY, I'M PLANNING TO WORK ON A NEW, UPDATED, SECOND EDITION
 OF MY FOURTH BOOK, 

 "MAKING MARKS"

THERE WILL BE MANY CHANGES REFLECTING RECENT DEVELOPMENTS, AS THE FIRST EDITION WAS WRITTEN TEN YEARS AGO. OBSERVATIONS OF WHAT WAS HAPPENING THEN AND DEVELOPMENTS SINCE, OPENS   MANY NEW DOORS FOR EXPLORATION. WITH LUCK, IT SHOULD BE PUBLISHED IN SUMMER 2015




  BYE,  AND THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES  



THIS BLOG WILL BE KEPT OPEN, JUST IN CASE I FIND TIME AND ENERGY AFTER THE BOOK IS COMPLETED.  



FOR FURTHER ONGOING INFORMATION, PLEASE CHECK OUR WEBSITE:   www.chosinpottery.ca
































Monday, September 30, 2013

PENULIMATE EXPOSURE!


WINDING DOWN or WEARING OUT!



RH Practicing for The Paradise Jazzband on his B-Flat Walking Cane
for aging trumpet players! Full of HOT AIR as usual!

I have some bad news for the regular readers of my blog. I have again been advised to quit by my doctors, to conserve energy and eliminate further health problems. I have found it increasingly difficult do do the postings for a number or reasons, loss of memory for one and diminishing hand skills for another. I will post my final blog in early November. 

It will primarily be photographic,  showing the colors and textures of fall in our garden at 'Chosin Pottery, just outside Victoria, B.C. Canada, on beautiful Vancouver Island in the Pacific Northwest.

It will be posting #114.  
 Thanks for looking and listening. 
 Best wishes to you all. Sincerely, Robin.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

# 3 NERIKOMI: CLAY VENEER: ZOUGAN




WORKING WITH LAMINATED and 
COLORED CLAYS - Part 3

NERIKOMI is the Japanese name for the process of making patterned blocks of colored clays by variations of cutting and layering. It is a very effective method of creating images that go through the complete block of clay. Nerikomi veneers are often made by taking very thin slices from prepared colored clay blocks and attaching them to a thicker white clay sheet with either water or thin white or colored slip.

CUTTING SLICES FROM SINGLE COLORED CLAY BLOCK


LAYERING THE SLICES FROM THREE COLORED CLAY BLOCKS

MOVING THE COLORED SLICES ONTO OTHER SLICES
CREATING CHEQUERBOARD PATTERN

PUSHING A RULER THROUGH A SIMPLE LAYERED BLOCK
TO CREATE BRACKET PATTERN

PUSHING RULER IN OPPOSITE DIRECTION

AFTER THE  BLOCK IS PATTERNED IT IS BEATEN TO ELIMINATE SMALL
 AIR POCKETS THAT OFTEN OCCUR IN PATTERN FORMING.


Laminated colored clays with a thin black slip applied at the time of lamination.
the work is fired in a wood firing kiln with a very low ash deposit, just a sheen really, on the ware.
COMPLEX PICTORIAL BLOCK-MAKING BY
SUSY SIEGELE AND MICHAEL HALEY OF ARKANSAS

They have been working with colored clay laminating processes for many years, producing a stunning array of functional wares, one of a kind artworks, tiles and murals. 

Colored clays are best made as white clays, followed by the addition of coloring oxides  and thorough blending to eliminate specks of color



The following sequence of images shows the careful attention to detail built into a large tapering block. When the consistency of the clay is suitable, the tapering block is cut vertically across the pattern to produce 8 each of 3 sizes of plate, saucers, bowls and other items down to a salt and pepper cruet at the final end of the block.  These are truly one of a kind dinnerware sets.








Completed, wood sheen fired, slab-built mug by Susy Siegele and Michael Haley.
The through-clay image can be clearly seen on the interior of the mug where it has been coated with a clear glaze and fired at cone 9.

ZOUGAN

The final three images in this posting are 3 views of  a piece 
by Les Manning of Alberta, Canada, titled Rocky Mountain Vase. 
It is made by an unusual Japanese process called ZOUGAN, where clays of different colors and radically different textures 
are stacked and either thrown, as shown here,  or carved into the desired form. Les uses clays from as fine as porcelain to heavily grogged stoneware to suggest the different strata of rocks from foreground to background. The porcelain suggests snowdrifts and mountain mists. To further enhance these qualities, the piece is covered with a light blue/green celadon glaze fired in reduction.
There is much tension from the diverse shrinkages of the contrasting clays and cracking on the seams between clay.  While undergoing some dental work, he noticed that dental amalgam looked like silver. Silver veins between rock strata was the perfect solution to a very annoying problem! A final, light sandblasting 
of the surface softens the visual quality of the glaze to eliminate 
highlights.








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Saturday, August 31, 2013

#2 Working with colored clays: AGATEWARE - NERIAGE




THERE ARE A NUMBER OF WAYS OF WORKING WITH COLORED CLAYS: WHEEL-THROWN AND HAND BUILT.

THIS POSTING DEALS WITH A FEW OBSERVATIONS COMMON TO BOTH.


MARBLED EARTHENWARE WARE BOWL - TANG DYNASTY CHINA - 660AD - 920AD

THE ABOVE BOWL IS FROM THE EARLIEST EXAMPLES OF MARBLED WARE MADE BY THE POTTERS OF THE TANG DYNASTY. THE PATTERNING WAS MADE BY    LAMINATING DIFFERENT NATURAL CLAYS, THEN  TWISTING,  FLATTENING AND PRESSING INTO A MOLD THAT HAS PROBABLY BEEN FIRED TO A LOW TEMPERATURE TO STRENGTHEN IT

CLAYS:  
MAY BE NATURAL CLAYS OF DIFFERENT COLORS, OR THEY MAY BE LIGHT COLORED CLAYS THAT HAVE BEEN TINTED  WITH COLORANTS TO CREATE A WIDER RANGE OF POSSIBILITIES.


18TH CENTURY ENGLISH MARBLED  EARTHENWARE 
LAMINATING COLORED CLAYS FOR AGATEWARE AND NERIAGE - SAME PROCESS, DIFFERENT LANGUAGE. AGATEWARE IS THE ENGLISH TERM AND NERIAGE IS THE JAPANESE TERM.


DIFFERENT COLORED CLAYS ARE CUT INTO SLICES AND SLAPPED TOGETHER TO ELIMINATE TRAPPED AIR. DEPENDING ON HOW THE DIRECTION OF THE LAMINATES ARE PRESSED TOGETHER THE PATTERN WILL BE CONTROLLED. IF THE LAMINATIONS ARE PLACED  VERTICALLY ON THE WHEEL THE PATTERNS WILL LIKELY BE FINE AND LACY. IF PLACED HORIZONTALLY, THEY WILL LIKELY BE BOLD. PATTERNS MADE THIS WAY WILL ALWAYS BE RANDOM.                                   


LIDDED JAR BY THE AUTHOR, WHITE, BLUE AND BLACK PORCELAINS LAMINATED AND PLACED ON THE WHEEL VERTICALLY AND FACETTED


PORCELAIN AGATEWARE BOWL BY THE AUTHOR, WITH LIGHT BLUE, DARK BLUE AND WHITE CLAYS LAMINATED AND PLACED ON THE WHEEL DIAGONALLY. FLUTED WHEN LEATHER HARD. ELECTRIC FIRED TO CONE 8



BLACK AND WHITE AGATE WARE VASE BY AUTHOR - SALT GLAZED 


BLACK AND WHITE AGATEWARE VASE BY THE AUTHOR - WOOD-FIRED

THE ABOVE IMAGES REPRESENT A FEW OF THE DIRECTIONS THAT I HAVE WORKED WITH IN AGATEWARE/NERIAGE. THE NERI PART OF NERIAGE MEANS "MIXED". AS A COMBINATION PAINTER/GRAPHIC ARTIST AND POTTER WITH A LOVE OF BOTH GEOLOGY AND HISTORICAL PRECEDENT IN CERAMICS, THE PROCESS SUITS ME PERFECTLY.

SEARCHING FOR THE IDEAL, PERSONAL MEANS OF EXPRESSION IN THIS MEDIUM IS DEMANDING AND TAKES TIME. I HAVE SPEN'T YEARS IN MUSEUMS AROUND THE WORLD LOOKING FOR IDEAL SOLUTIONS THAT I CAN FURTHER RESEARCH AND CLAIM SOME PERSONAL OWNERSHIP OVER. ONCE I'VE UNDERSTOOD THE ORIGINAL OBJECTS AND PROCESSES, I'M HAPPY TO PASS THEM ON TO OTHERS, KNOWING WELL THAT NO TWO PEOPLE WILL EVER INTERPRET THE INSPIRATION IN EXACTLY THE SAME WAY.

MY NEXT POSTING WILL CONCLUDE THIS SECTION ON WORKING WITH COLORED CLAYS, INCLUDING  NERIKOMI, HANDBUILDING PROCESSES FOR CREATING PATTERNED VENEERS AND THROUGH-BODY PATTERN MAKING AS WELL AS ZOUGAN.

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