Judi Dyelle and Robin Hopper – Purveyors of Fine Pottery

Judi Dyelle and Robin Hopper – Purveyors of Fine Pottery

Elegant and refined; bold and colourful! Are these the descriptions of Judi Dyelle and Robin Hopper’s pottery, or their respective personalities? Perhaps they are a bit of both! We had the pleasure of meeting up with these two experienced, award winning artists and teachers at their home in Metchosin, B.C.; also home to their studios and gallery at ‘Chosin Pottery. Our approach along their horseshoe shaped driveway wending through the forested front yard gave us a glimpse into the natural setting that they not only call their home, but their inspiration! The incredible gardens and architecture throughout their property were created by Robin and inspired from a Japanese design; the feat quite aptly named the “Anglojapanadian” garden.

Judi Dyelle

Judi Dyelle


Robin Hopper

Robin Hopper

Before we started the formal part of our interview, we sat with Judi and Robin at their dining room table to get acquainted. We were surrounded by a world of handmade furnishings, both functional and decorative, including the mugs we sipped our green tea from. Robin was talking about how much research, trial and error went into actualizing the perfect mug. Considerations to examine were: Is it too heavy or too light? Does it cause me to dribble? Are my fingers comfortable? Do they get squished or are they too loose causing slippage? Is it top heavy and tippy? These questions and more were carefully scrutinized before arriving at an aesthetic form with the proper function; and sure enough, there was something so much more gratifying about the “feeling” of my mug of green tea and knowing what went into making it and who made it. We didn’t realize then that this topic was a preamble to Robin and Judi’s interview and their thoughts about not only the historical cultural importance of pottery, but why it should be of present day cultural importance.

Judi Dyelle

Judi Dyelle


Robin Hopper

Robin Hopper

Judi is a potter with a passion for Oriental ceramics! Her extensive studies in art school combined with studying for a year and a half in Japan had not only added to her collective experience for teaching pottery across Canada and the U.S., but also her love for it! She enjoys working mainly in porcelain, preferring to use it as a very fine and delicate clay body incorporating piercing, cutting and textures into her work. She notes that porcelain is an amazing substance; fragile while working with it but once fired in the kiln is stronger than ceramic and does not chip easily. She also demonstrated the rich “bell” sound one of her bowls made, revealing another sense that reaps the artistic rewards (Play ‘Porcelain Song’ below). Judy notes that the form of her vessels are unequivocally first priority, with the finishing process such as glazes secondary and used to accentuate the piece. She does not paint her work and for that reason the glazes she develops are very important in order to embellish the form of the vessel appropriately.

‘Porcelain Song’:

Judi Dyelle

Judi Dyelle

Make sure to click on Judi’s images below for a closer look:

Robin’s foray into pottery was more like a trial by fire when we was three years old! His introduction to clay happened during the bombing of London in World War II when the shells would crater the land and displace the sub-surface clay upwards, giving him an endless supply to play and work with. Well after those beginnings and his ensuing art school training in his late twenties, Robin traveled and taught pottery around the world on most of the continents and has had his creative hands in many mediums and endeavours ever since. Authoring six books, creating educational DVDs based on those books and designing a world class garden are but a few of his comprehensive pursuits outside of the many hours of “pushing clay around.” His initial art training was in painting and drawing and it has always been at the core of his ceramic work. His latest interest draws on those skills and involves glaze paintings on a porcelain-like substrate and then firing it in the kiln giving it a wonderfully vivid and textured effect, as seen below.

Robin Hopper

Robin Hopper

Make sure to click on Robin’s images below for a closer look:

Both Robin and Judi commented on their fascination with ancient cultures that used pottery for their everyday needs, with various cultures still utilizing their pottery-ware today as an integral part of their lives, be it for practical or ceremonial purposes; usually both. Judi relates how in Japan and Korea these simple ceramic dishes bring on a beauty of their own through the ceremony of eating and gathering of family and friends. This fundamental appreciation for food and family does not harmonize with our fast-food and throw-away culture in North America. Robin notes that he has followed the history of pottery which has followed the history of humans; clay being a necessary part of ancient cultures as they produced items for eating out of or for cooking with, many times the vessel being created for a specific food or dish. These were not mass produced factory items with no personal connection, they were cherished pieces tied irrevocably to the family’s social structure just from the act of making them with their hands, or knowing who did. It is Judi and Robin’s hope that North American society can adopt such heartfelt customs once again, bringing back to the family table not only the family, but a less instant way of life and one closer to the the earth, and clay!

Join Robin and Judi in their gallery as they “turn” us on to pottery! Please share with social media and feel free to leave a comment below!

One Response to Judi Dyelle and Robin Hopper – Purveyors of Fine Pottery

  1. It is so thrilling to get a glimpse into the gallery and gardens of these two masters. I appreciate their insights into making a life around one’s art. Robin and Judi, you are inspiration! Many thanks.

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