Tag Archives: Robin Hopper

Book Arts: Writing on Stone(ware)

Monument for the Neolithic Tartaria tables, Tartaria, Romania

Monument for the Neolithic Tărtăria tablets, dated to 5500-5300 BC and discovered in 1961 at Tărtăria, Alba County, Romania by the archaeologist Nicolae Vlassa. The clay tables are associated with the Turdaş-Vinča culture and the Vinča symbols on them predate the proto-Sumerian pictographic script. The monument has been created near the discovery location. By Țetcu Mircea Rareș via Wikimedia Commons

We know the act of writing on clay tablets is an ancient practice. To date, the oldest that have been found are the unearthed at neolithic sites in modern-day Romania and Hungary. The three Tărtăria Tablets have been radio-carbon dated to 5500 BC and are thought to be evidence of proto-writing. For me, today’s post, is exciting to work on…for several reasons. Having been involved with Book Arts since the mid-1980s, it is high time I combined this art form with my favorite medium, clay. (If writing on clay interests you, check out Tom Trusky’s Idaho iPods, about a project based upon Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets.) For today’s post, though, I’d like to first unveil Forrest Snyder’s Ceramic Books, a beautifully designed and enticing site. He creates loose-leaf books which are presented as stacks, hangings, and objects. Pages overlap or drape over shelving and chunky cubes are stacked. Snyder’s pages are adorned with letters, words and images, and the ‘ink’ is a warm brown, which works well with the cream-colored clay. The pages may be stamped or printed; I’m not quite sure how it is done. Print appears on different portions of the page. “My books contain poetry, prose, and related images spanning many pages,” he states on his website. “I try to enhance my thoughts by the choice of materials and methods, the firing resulting in permanent artifacts, and the conditions of their existence – pages change over time,” he continues. These images of his ceramic books are breathtaking and it is such a pleasure to view his slide show. Another approach is shown on Chris Skinner’s Lestaret’s Blog. Here, you’ll find slipcast and slab-built book covers with very fine finish work. Skinner makes rubber moulds of old, embossed books, then replicates them in clay, highlighting textures, print, and designs with stains. The work must be painstaking and the results are

Plantin letterpress

Plantin letterpress type. By France3470 via Wikimedia Commons

perfection. Actually, I have a project I hope to begin working on in the near future: a porcelain book. The idea has been in the back of my mind for about a year and I’ve thought of it while I’ve made other things. I want to roll out thin sheets of porcelain, cut to size (maybe), tear a ‘deckle edge’ (definitely), dry very, very slowly (weighted), write with an underglaze pen, fire, then bind. The idea of writing on clay tablets thrills. The Book Arts field covers much terrain and there are many ideas to explore and projects to create using different clays and techniques. When I gave a workshop on bookbinding several years ago, I made a tiny book and I think I will also want to experiment with tiny clay books. If you would like to begin such projects using clay, too, you have many means available for writing on your ceramic pages. Underglaze pencils, pens, crayons and trailers are among the tools you could use. If you subscribe to Ceramics Daily, read this article by Robin Hopper to learn how to make your own. If you want to write or do detail work with gold, Kemper Tools sells a Gold Pen. The possibilities are endless and timeless.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Ancient History, Articles and Interviews, Featured Artists, How-to-do-it, Videos/Photos/Slides

Robin Hopper: Three decorative techniques for ceramics

Otto showed me a book he bought when he was at his annual ceramics retreat at Metchosin. Robin Hopper’s Making Marks: Discovering the Ceramic Surface is one of the most beautiful and exciting books I’ve seen in some time. Joan had told me about it when she was advising me about books to add to my Resources section, but I had yet to see it. Making Marks covers everything and anything you’d need to know about decorative techniques and pigmentation. The examples and art work he’s chosen to illustrate his book are incredible. That said, it made me think of Robin Hopper and today I’m posting his instructions for three techniques, two on video and one in print Slip Dotting, Mocha Diffusion and Painting on Porcelain Canvas. We are so lucky an artist of his caliber is only a ferry ride away, on Vancouver Island.

The video below is partly entitled Mocha Diffusion and Hopper refers to it briefly, but that technique is not demonstrated in the video. If you would like to know more about it, click here. MIY Ceramics and Glass has printed Hopper’s article about the technique from the Ceramic Arts Daily post.

I looked up the ‘porcelain substrate’ Robin Hopper uses for canvases in the video below and decided that if I were to pursue this form, I’d have to make my own. The material he uses is very expensive. If I was to go the DIY route, would first make porcelain paper clay by adding bits of toilet tissue to porcelain to strengthen it while working with it, as taught by Pauline. Once I finish my current projects , I’ll pursue this because I want to see how thin I could roll porcelain out on my own. How see-through I can get it. I’d start out with the slab roller, then finish with a rolling pin. It’ll the next step in my clay draping experiments. Back to the next video, though… Watching Hopper paint and draw on porcelain canvas is a real treat. I enjoyed watching this video because he’s very clear about what he’s doing: explains and demonstrates each step and discusses the materials.

2 Comments

Filed under Articles and Interviews, How-to-do-it, Resources, Videos/Photos/Slides

Artisan tile conference slated for June in Seattle

TILE + ARCHITECTURAL CERAMICS

June 24-26

Seattle University, Seattle, Washington

A Potter’s Council Conference

Hosted by Artisan Tile Northwest

________________________________________________

Featuring: Joe Brecha, Nadine Edelstein, 
Robin Hopper, Peter King and Angelica Pozo

________________________________________________

Ceramics Daily says “This comprehensive conference will cover such topics as: equipment use, tile making, tile design, tile installation, construction methods for large-scale architectural projects, the public art commissioning process, and so much more. Having difficulties in your own studio? Bring your questions and have them answered by professional tile contractors and artists who have been working in architectural ceramics for many years. This conference will have you excited to get back to your studio to try out the tips and techniques you’ve learned over two-days of demonstrations and presentations.”

Register by April 17th to save $75. Potter’s Council members: $270, non-members: $322. Click here

______________________________________________

Schedule of Events: Click Here

Presenters: Click Here

Host/Sponsors: Click Here

Travel/Directions: Click Here

______________________________________________

What you’ll learn . . .
•    Understanding of equipment used in tile making and setting.
•    Learn how to install tiles in a variety of settings: walls, floors, interior, exterior, wet areas and tabletops.
•    Understand proper mortar mixing and trowel techniques.
•    You will see various substrates suitable for tile setting and the importance of tile layout.
•    Explore a new direction in the making of tile as fine art.
•    Gain knowledge in the construction methods used to create very large-scale architectural projects within the confines of a small ceramic studio.
•    Trouble shoot your tile making dilemmas while walking through the entire handmade tile process: slab rolling, handling, kiln loading and firing. Discover the pitfalls.
•    Learn how to make flat tiles.
•    Questions about public art commissioning process, bring them and have them answered.
•    Wetware slip decorating techniques: transferring images onto wetware tiles, combing, chattering, slip application tips, masking and resists, sgraffito tips, brushwork with slip and underglazes.
•    And much more!”

— Source: Ceramics Daily


Leave a Comment

Filed under Current Events, Featured Artists, Home and Garden, How-to-do-it

Book Arts: Writing on Stone(ware)

We know the act of writing on clay tablets is an ancient practice. To date, the oldest that have been found are the unearthed at neolithic sites in modern-day Romania and Hungary. The three Tărtăria Tablets have been radio-carbon dated to 5500 BC and are thought to be evidence of proto-writing. For me, today’s post, is exciting to work on…for several reasons. Having been involved with Book Arts since the mid-1980s, it is high time I combined this art form with my favorite medium, clay. (If writing on clay interests you, check out Idaho iPods, about a project based upon Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets.) For today’s post, though, I’d like to first unveil Forrest Snyder’s Ceramic Books, a beautifully designed and enticing site. He creates loose-leaf books which are presented as stacks, hangings, and objects. Pages overlap or drape over shelving and chunky cubes are stacked. Snyder’s pages are adorned with letters, words and images, and the ‘ink’ is a warm brown, which works well with the cream-colored clay. The pages may be stamped or printed; I’m not quite sure how it is done. Print appears on different portions of the page. “My books contain poetry, prose, and related images spanning many pages,” he states on his website. “I try to enhance my thoughts by the choice of materials and methods, the firing resulting in permanent artifacts, and the conditions of their existence – pages change over time,” he continues. These images of his ceramic books are breathtaking and it is such a pleasure to view his slide show. I was also happy to learn of his connection with Montana’s Archie Bray Foundation, our Northwest Mecca.  In addition, he is the founder of Critical Ceramics. Another approach is shown on Chris Skinner’s Lestaret’s Blog. Here, you’ll find slipcast and slab-built book covers with very fine finish work. Skinner makes rubber moulds of old, embossed books, then replicates them in clay, highlighting textures, print, and designs with stains. The work must be

Plantin letterpress

Plantin letterpress type. By France3470 via Wikimedia Commons

painstaking and the results are perfection. Actually, I have a project I hope to begin working on in the near future: a porcelain book. The idea has been in the back of my mind for about a year and I’ve thought of it while I’ve made other things. I want to roll out thin sheets of porcelain, cut to size (maybe), tear a ‘deckle edge’ (definitely), dry very, very slowly (weighted), write with an underglaze pen, fire, then bind. The idea of writing on clay tablets thrills. The Book Arts field covers much terrain and there are many ideas to explore and projects to create using different clays and techniques. When I gave a workshop on bookbinding several years ago, I made a tiny book and I think I will also want to experiment with tiny clay books. If you would like to begin such projects using clay, too, you have many means available for writing on your ceramic pages. Underglaze pencils, pens, crayons and trailers are among the tools you could use. If you subscribe to Ceramics Daily, read this article by Robin Hopper to learn how to make your own. If you want to write or do detail work with gold, Kemper Tools sells a Gold Pen. The possibilities are endless and timeless.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Articles and Interviews, Uncategorized