Among the great pleasures of Robin Hopper’s work which is also found in his life — is a quality I can best describe as the “unexpected”. A quality that is represented in the porcelain trumpet or horn pictured above. The horn was likely made in ca. 1970 at his Hillsdale Studio, Ontario or in Toronto.
It is an odd piece for sure and might be considered a potter’s whimsy or trifle — perhaps with a bit of Middle-Earth quality about it. But like all Hopper work it is lovingly executed with a buttery craqueleur glazing, punchy ham-fisted lugs (for attaching the braided hanging strap) all of which play off a trailing blue line-decoration and a mean crumpled hand-grip stem.
It is a piece that I think captures Hopper’s intense curiosity and energy when it comes to pottery, studio craft and medium. In some ways it is also a potter’s pot — and a collector’s pot — something to think about and to learn from. Just holding it, feeling its weight and balance, listening to its ring — even its toot and bellow give me a sense of what craft and clay and a potter’s life is truly about. For more on Robin Hopper, the man, Musician and potter and his immense contributions please visit Journey of a Life Time and at Swan Song
You can also find more Hopper at Chosin Pottery.
His work and teaching is hugely accessible on-line and his major books Functional Pottery – Form and Aesthetic in Pots of Purpose, 1986, 2000 and The Ceramic Spectrum — A Simplified Approach to Glaze and Color Development, 1984, 2001 are essential reading for the collector and potter.