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, December 30, 2012

DRAWING TO A CLOSE!

THE END OF ANOTHER 
STIMULATING AND FRUSTRATING YEAR!


THANKS TO CINDY, BRACKER'S CLAY, KANSAS, FOR THE CAKE AT A RECENT WORKSHOP IN LAWRENCE.

THE MESSAGE ON THE FRONT OF MY T-SHIRT IS NOT WHAT YOU MIGHT BE THINKING! IT WAS MY ATTEMPT AT A LIFE AND WORK PHILOSOPHY. IT BASICALLY MEANS "GET RID OF ALL THE OTHER  INTRUSIVE CLUTTER OF YOUR LIFE, SIMPLIFY YOUR JOURNEY AND MOVE ON, UNENCUMBERED". 

I'M PRIVILEGED TO HAVE DONE NEARLY 200 WORKSHOP PRESENTATIONS OVER NEARLY 40 YEARS, AND IN MANY PARTS OF THE WORLD. IN A TWO-DAY SESSION THIS WAS THE FIRST PHILOSOPHICAL STATEMENT. THE SECOND WAS "THINK BIG!". THE THIRD WAS "THINK TALL!" THE LAST WAS DOUBLE SIDED! ON THE FRONT IT SAID "IT'S IN THE BOOK!" AND ON THE BACK IT SAID "TRY IT AND SEE!" BY THIS TIME I WAS FEELING TIRED SO I JUST POINTED TO THE MOST RELEVANT SIDE WHENEVER THERE WERE QUESTIONS. UNFORTUNATELY,. I CAN NO LONGER DO THE WORKSHOPS, BUT THE PHILOSOPHY REMAINS INTACT. AS LONG AS I CAN RETAIN MY STRANGE BRITISH SENSE OF HUMOUR, THINGS SHOULD BE JUST FINE.



The Legend of the Crane
Throughout history, birds have been viewed as animals of special value and have been ladened with meanings often derived from legends and stories that have survived over many generations. The Crane may conceivably be the oldest bird on earth; there is fossil proof that they existed over 60 million years ago. Greek and Roman myth tended to portray the dance of cranes as a love of joy and a celebration of life. The crane was usually considered to be a bird of Apollo, the sun god, who heralded in Spring and light. Throughout all of Asia, the crane has been a symbol of happiness and eternal youth. In Japanese, Chinese, and Korean tradition, cranes stand for good fortune and longevity because of its fabled life span of a thousand years. Existing in fifteen species which inhabit five continents, the most majestic is the Japanese Crane which stands almost five feet tall with its wing span of more than six feet and its white body capped with its red crown. The Japanese refer to the crane as “the bird of happiness;” the Chinese as “heavenly crane” believing they were symbols of wisdom. The powerful wings of the crane were believed to be able to convey souls up to paradise and to carry people to higher levels of spiritual enlightenment.





Twentieth Century Copies of 17th Century Cranes from Thailand,
 standing at the edge of the pond in our Japanese inspired garden.

I'M EXTREMELY THANKFUL FOR HAVING HAD THE MOST AMAZING LIFE I COULDN'T HAVE IMAGINED! BEING IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME, MEETING MANY REMARKABLE PEOPLE IN MANY WALKS OF LIFE, MAKING THE RIGHT DECISIONS, HAVING THE RIGHT PARTNERS AND HAVING THE OPPORTUNITY TO FOLLOW MY DREAMS, AND HELP OTHERS FIND AND FOLLOW THEIRS.

 MOST OF THE LAST TWO YEARS HAVE BEEN LESS THAN ENJOYABLE WITH VARIOUS HEALTH PROBLEMS THAT HAVE ALMOST CUT THE ABILITY TO DO THINGS TO ZILCH. WHEN PARTS OF THE OLD BODY GIVE UP FROM USE, ABUSE OR MISUSE, I TRY TO SMILE AND MOVE ON TO A NEW DIRECTION IN MY ARTS, EXPAND AND EXPLORE SOMETHING NEW. I ALWAYS COME BACK TO MY FINAL T- SHIRT MESSAGE AND THE CLOSING STATEMENT OF MY FIRST BOOK,
 "THE CERAMIC SPECTRUM",

"TRY IT AND SEE!"


JAPANESE CRANE 
I'VE  ALWAYS HAD SEVERAL THINGS ON THE GO AT THE SAME TIME. I ACHIEVED A LOT BUT AT QUITE A COST TO HEALTH.  I'M NOW DOWN TO JUST TWO - WRITING AND GLAZE PAINTING.  I WILL CONTINUE AS LONG AS I HAVE THE ENERGY AND HAND CONTROL THAT I NEED. TODAY IS THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THIS BLOG. IT HAS MAINLY BEEN A PLEASURE, TOUCHED WITH FRUSTRATION FROM LACK OF A DIALOG.  LIKE THE TOPSY-TURVY LIFE I'VE HAD, THIS MIGHT BE THE LAST POSTING, BUT THEN AGAIN, IT MIGHT NOT!

ALL MY VERY BEST WISHES FOR 2013 AND ONWARDS.

ROBIN

7 comments:

  1. Good morning Robin!
    I love the picture of you with the cake. I've seen and read of your t-shirts and the "sayings" and philosophies behind them before. I find myself repeating the "try it and see" to myself quite often and when I do I think "that's what Robin would say." I look forward to reading your blog so I hope that you will have the energy and ability to continue on even if in a "reduced" format. I wish you and your family a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year in 2013! You'll be in my thoughts and prayers. Best Wishes, Rudy

    p.s. I'm looking to purchase a new potter's wheel. Any advice or recommendations from your experiences? Any advantages/disadvantages to one with a removable tray vs. a solid tray? I appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Rudy, The wheel that I have used for about the last ten years is a THOMAS STUART, now manufactured by Skutt Kilns of Portland Oregon. It is the most sensitive wheel I have ever used I was given one to use at a workshop in Denver and have never looked back since. Speed, power, solidity, sensitivity and fine control with the TS leave all others I have used standing in the dust. In my 60 years of throwing pots around the world with just about every type of wheel imaginable - THOMAS STUART IS WHERE ITS AT! My wife, Judi Dyelle, has one too! I prefer a solid tray - more strength and stability.

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    2. Hi Robin,
      Sounds great. Thanks!
      Rudy

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  2. Robin...THE ABSOLUTE BEST TO YOU AND YOURS in the new year. Continued strength in your health. Thank you for the blog writings and I, too, hope that you will continue.
    Cheers, Trish from Alberta

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  3. Happy New Year, Sir Robin,

    Great writing for beginning the new year. I said to Brian this morning that I need to commit to making more work in 2013. Somehow, some way. I appreciate the effort you make to write interesting, informative blogs. I always learn something. Here's to a peaceful 2013 in all aspects of our lives. Hugs to you and Judi.

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  4. It's interesting Robin, that you mention a lack of dialogue as reason to feel frustrated with the blogging platform. I totally understand. There is something vulnerable about laying it all out there.... sharing the stuff you normally keep nice and tidy, ... and then not getting feedback. It is a strange feeling for sure.

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  5. Thanks Cyndi. You have been one of the special people who I wrote the blogs for and kept me going. I realize that bloggers get very little feedback but I was looking for new content and hoped for dialog. I could always depend on you. I have a major project that I'm working on that will take most of my time and energy. The University of Victoria Archives wants to have my papers and glaze, color and teaching research material, so others who might be interested can follow up in the future. I'm excited about this even thought it will be a huge commitment in time and energy. It is unlikely that I will have much time for the blog, but I will try to keep a few thoughts going for those who, like you, enjoy my musing. Onwards and upwards! Robin

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