Cyndi Casemier Blog

Remembering Robin Hopper – potter, teacher, gardner, author, mentor, & friend

Robin Hopper tooting his horn I have been thinking about writing this blog for awhile.  Reading other friends posts about Robin made me reluctant to do it.  What else could I say about this man?  He was known by many for his workshops and books/videos.  He was a national treasure of Canada for his artwork, research, and many years of teaching.  April of 2015, we brought a birthday lunch to his home.  It was a special day filled with horn blowing, laughter, and of course sharing of knowledge. You can find lots of information about Robin on the internet.  Tony Clennell was special friend to both Robin and Judi (Robin's wife).  I believe that he will be speaking at the next (NCECA) International Ceramics Conference on Robin's behalf.  I am sure there won't be a dry eye in the room and mostly because the goal will be to make the crowd laugh so hard that they cry.  Click on Tony's picture below to read his farewell to Robin (You will love his wit.) The Last Supper - Tony Clennell One of Robin's last projects was to produce a DVD title, Swan-song.  It shares this artist's 70 plus years in the arts, his wit, and love for teaching.  ALL of the proceeds goes to two things he loves:  arts education and pediatric cancer research.  When watching Swan-song, I laughed, cried a bit, and learned a few things.  You won't regret purchasing a copy.  Steve Branfman at the New Hampshire Potter's Shop was a good friend, helping him with this last project.  You can purchase from his site.   Swan-Song DVD I want to share Steven's post because I think he says it so well:  " Swansong is Robin’s final contribution to the world. It is a labor of love that speaks to his love of art, history, culture and philanthropy. In the introduction to his last book Robin Hopper Ceramics, Robin’s words describing the book summarize his life;  It is also a love story–a somewhat unusual love story. It is about passion, intrigue, and obsession. It is a story about a lust for life, a thirst for knowledge, a passion for pots, a mania for mud and minerals and a commitment to furthering the development of ceramic communication and education. " I am grateful for my time with Robin and all that I learned from him.  I tried very hard to never say anything foolish or ask a question where the answer could be found in one of his books.  He left the world a better place.  I believe that he hopes many of us will take up his torch to better our personal worlds.  One of the last things he said to me was to remember to be kind, look for the good or bright side of things, and just keep "making". "Try It and See" Some images of Chosin Pottery Gardens and several pieces from my collection: Click to see more garden images Robin's obituary:  Times Colonist An article about Robin:  December 2015 One of our conversations recorded One of his last public performances at NCECA:    


Cauliflower Rice Burrito Bowl

Cauliflower Rice Burrito Bowl Makes 2 bowls Ingredients: 1 small head of raw cauliflower, any color, cut into medium florets (or Trader Joe's frozen  Cauliflower Rice) 2 tablespoons olive oil salt and pepper to taste 1 cup black beans, warmed 2 cups kale or spinach, wilted and sautéed in olive oil and garlic 2 spoonfuls spicy salsa 2 small handfuls shredded cheddar cheese 1 ripe avocado, sliced or cut into chunks pickled jalapeños fresh fried corn tortilla chips fresh cilantro leaves   For the Cauliflower Rice: (Like any rice, this cauliflower rice takes on any flavor that you’d like.  Feel free to add sautéed onions, garlic, or fresh herbs to this rice.  Below are the bare bones of cauliflower rice.) 1 small head of raw cauliflower, any color, cut into medium florets 2 tablespoons olive oil salt and pepper to taste OR: Purchase Frozen Cauliflower Rice from Trader Joe's (this is what I do.). For the Burrito Bowls: (Divide and heap each of the following onto two large shallow bowls, or two plates.) 2 large portions of cauliflower rice 1 cup black beans, warmed 2 cups kale or spinach, wilted and sautéed in olive oil and garlic 2 spoonfuls spicy salsa 2 small handfuls shredded cheddar cheese 1 ripe avocado, sliced or cut into chunks pickled jalapeños fresh fried corn tortilla chips fresh cilantro leaves Instructions: To make the cauliflower rice, place florets in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment.  Process until cauliflower is ground into fine bits that resemble bits of rice or couscous. Place a large skillet over medium heat.  Add olive oil.  Add the cauliflower bits to the heated pan and toss to combine.  Allow to cook until the cauliflower rice has softened slightly and browned, about 6 to 8 minutes.  Season generously with salt and pepper.  Add any other flavoring, herb, or seasoning you might enjoy.  Remove from heat and spoon into two large bowls.  If you have any excess rice, store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To make a burrito bowl, start with a large shallow bowl or plate.  Spoon cauliflower rice onto the plate.  Spoon warmed black beans next to the rice.  Spoon sautéed kale next to the beans.  Top generously with hot salsa, shredded cheese, ripe avocado, pickled jalapeños, fried tortilla chips, and fresh cilantro leaves.  Enjoy! From the Blog of Joy the Baker.


Sculpture I Love – Glass Cairns

David and Melanie Leppla In the hills of Vermont you will find internationally recognized artists working in many mediums (clay, wool, glass, metal, & more), selling their art in galleries all over the country.  Mad River Glass, aka David and Melanie Leppla, opened their glass shop in the early 2000's.   I love their use of this medium, creating modern versions of recognized objects:  rock totems, Japanese lanterns, vases, and more.   You have to keep your eyes open when visiting this small state.  Hidden in the hills are gorgeous homes, world class restaurants, quiet rocky rivers, and of course, mountains for skiing, biking, and hiking.


A Photograph I Love – the atomic age and Salvador Dali

Philippe Halsman I know I have said it in the past but the information on the internet is amazing.  Last night I decided that I was going to feature an iconic image from the 1940's.  Most of these images are of the war or related to it but then I found this photograph.  Philippe Halsman wanted to create a photograph that related to the new atomic age and Salvador Dali’s surrealist paintings. Philippe was born in the early 1900's in Latvia.  He lived a privileged life traveling and spending time in the great museums.  He found a camera in his teens and fell in love with capturing the expressions of individuals.  World War II arrived.  Most of his family left for the USA, while he waited.  Luckily, he had been in communication with Albert Einstein.  Albert talked with Eleanor Roosevelt to add this artists name to a list of artists and writers who could enter the United States.  Arriving in North America, was a challenge for this photographer.  Gone were his connections but he did speak 5 languages.  Connie Ford was just beginning to model.  Through his photographs of her, he gained recognition for his skills with the camera and capturing unique compositions.  Many of his images were used for book covers.  What an amazing find..... on the internet!  Love learning something new.  


A Painting I Love – Morning Line Up

Learn what Mark Mehaffey thinks about painting

Mark Mehaffey Mark Mehaffey is one of our gallery artists.  He taught in the Lansing school system for many years and now leads workshops all over the world.  He paints daily - it's his JOB.  This painter is known for creating in many styles and techniques.  Not just competent, but has received awards for his art in several countries and in the United States. "Morning Line Up" makes me think of standing outside on the streets of either Chicago or New York City waiting for a breakfast table.  I think of the small diners in both cities that serve eggs and toast old school style.  What story forms in your head while looking at this watercolor painting?


10 Forgotten Female Pioneers of the Bauhaus

Forgotten Female Artists of the Bauhaus School The male icons of the early-20th-century Bauhaus school, like Josef Albers,László Moholy-Nagy, and Paul Klee, are some of the most celebrated pioneers of modern art. But the women artists who taught, studied, and made groundbreaking work with them are often remembered in history books as wives of their male counterparts or, worse, not at all. While women were allowed into the German school—and its manifesto stated that it welcomed “any person of good repute, without regard to age or sex”—a strong gender bias still informed its structure. Female students, for instance, were encouraged to pursue weaving rather than male-dominated mediums like painting, carving, and architecture. Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius encouraged this distinction through his vocal belief that men thought in three dimensions, while women could only handle two. The year 2019 will mark the 100th birthday of the Bauhaus. As that date approaches, this bias toward the school’s male students is being revised, and its many integral female members recognized by scholarship and institutional exhibitions. Weavers, industrial designers, photographers, and architects like Anni Albers, Marianne Brandt, and Gertrud Arndt not only advanced the school’s historic marriage of art and function; they were also essential in laying the groundwork for centuries of art and design innovation to come after them. Below, we highlight 10 female Bauhaus members who contributed fundamental work, instruction, and innovation to the school over the course of its relatively short existence, between 1919 and 1933, and bolstered its lasting legacy. Anni Albers B. 1899, BERLIN, GERMANY D. 1994, ORANGE, CONNECTICUT Albers arrived at the Bauhaus in 1922, with the hope of continuing the painting studies that she had begun at the School of Arts and Crafts in Hamburg. By 1923, however, she was spending most of her time in the school’s weaving workshop, where she became a quick master of the loom. Influenced by Paul Klee and “what he did with a line, a point or a stroke of the paintbrush,” Albers used weaving to develop a signature visual vocabulary of hard-edged patterns. Her early tapestries would go on to have a considerable impact on the development of geometric abstraction in the visual arts, along with the work of several of her Bauhaus peers, including her husband, Josef Albers, who she met at the school. Albers explored the functional possibilities of textiles with focus and passion; in 1930, she designed a cotton and cellophane curtain that simultaneously absorbed sound and reflected light. In 1931, she was appointed to helm the weaving workshop and became one of the first women at the Bauhaus to assume a leadership role. Several years after immigrating to the U.S. in 1933, she began to teach at the influentialBlack Mountain College in North Carolina. Albers became famous for the fabrics she crafted for large-scale companies like Knoll. She was also the first female textile artist to have a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, in 1949. Marianne Brandt B. 1893, CHEMNITZ, GERMANY D. 1983, KIRCHBERG, SAXONY Marianne Brandt No. 15 Kandem Table Lamp, 1928 Chamber Marianne Brandt Théière et passe-thé, ca. 1924 Les Arts Décoratifs Brandt’s early work so impressed László Moholy-Nagy that, in 1924, he opened a space for her in the metal workshop, a discipline that women had previously been barred from. She went on to design some of the most iconic works associated with the Bauhaus. These include an ashtray that resembles a halved metal ball, an edition of which is housed in MoMA’s collection, and a silver tea infuser and strainer, which was her first student design and today is owned by both the Met and the British Museum, among other institutions. During her years at the Bauhaus, Brandt became one of Germany’s most celebrated industrial designers. And after Moholy-Nagy stepped down as head of the metal workshop in 1928, it was Brandt who replaced him, beating out her male counterparts for the position. During the same year, she developed one of the most commercially successful objects to come out of the school: the best-selling Kandem bedside table lamp. After leaving the Bauhaus in 1929, Brandt became director of the design department for the metalware company Ruppelwerk Metallwarenfabrik GmbH. Gertrud Arndt B. 1903, RACIBÓRZ, POLAND D. 2000, DARMSTADT, GERMANY Arndt’s ambition was to become an architect, but it was only after she landed at the Bauhaus in 1923 that she realized architecture classes were not yet available at the school. She ended up crafting geometrically patterned rugs in the weaving workshop. One of these textiles famously decorated the floor of Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius’s office. But despite Arndt’s success at the loom, it was her photography practice, which she honed outside of the structured Bauhaus workshops, that would become most influential to modern and contemporary artists. As a self-taught photographer, Arndt began by shooting the buildings and urban landscapes around her. She also assisted her husband’s architecture firm by photographing their construction sites and buildings. It was Arndt’s series of imaginative self-portraits titled “Mask Portraits,” however, that ultimately shaped her legacy. The series—which shows Arndt performing a range of traditional female roles, and wearing a profusion of veils, lace, and hats—is now seen as an important precursor to feminist artists like Cindy Sherman. Gunta Stölzl B. 1897, MUNICH, GERMANY D. 1983, ZURICH, SWITZERLAND Gunta Stölzl, Textile Sample for Curtain, c. 1927. © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art, NY.  Gunta Stölzl, Wall Hanging, 1924. © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art, NY.  Stölzl was one of the earliest Bauhaus members, arriving at the school in 1919 at the age of 22. The same year, she penned confident diary entries that would foreshadow her success as a leading designer of the era. “Nothing hinders me in my outward life, I can shape it as I will,” one reads. “A new beginning. A new life begins,” goes another. While she experimented with a diverse range of disciplines at the Bauhaus, Stölzl focused on weaving, a department that she helmed from 1926 to 1931. There, she was known for complex patchworks of patterns, composed of undulating lines that melt into kaleidoscopic mosaics of colored squares. They took the form of rugs, wall tapestries, and coverings for Marcel Breuer’s chairs. After being driven from Germany by the Nazi regime for marrying a Jewish man, fellow Bauhaus student Arieh Sharon, Stölzl established the hand-weaving company S-P-H-Stoffe in Zurich with former Bauhaus peers Gertrud Preiswerk and Heinrich-Otto Hürlimann. She ran the company until 1967 and designed countless popular carpets and woven textiles. “We wanted to create living things with contemporary relevance, suitable for a new style of life,” she once said. “It was essential to define our imaginary world, to shape our experiences through material, rhythm, proportion, color and form.” Benita Koch-Otte B. 1892, STUTTGART, GERMANY D. 1976, BIELEFELD, GERMANY Benita Koch-Otte, Woven Wall Hanging, 1923-24. Manufactured by Bauhaus Weaving Workshops, Weimar. Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art, NY.  Koch-Otte had already taught drawing and handicraft at a girls’ secondary school for five years before she joined the Bauhaus, shifting her focus to her own studies. There, with fellow weaver and painter Stölzl, Koch-Otte used textiles to explore new approaches to abstraction. To further develop their skills, the two also took classes at the nearby Dyeing Technical School and the Textile Technical School. Koch-Otte married the director of the Bauhaus photography department, Heinrich Koch, in 1929. Together, they relocated to Prague when the Nazi regime rose to power. After her husband’s unexpected death, however, Koch-Otte returned to Germany. There, she became director of a textile mill, and continued to teach until the very end of her life—and her fabrics are still in production today. Otti Berger B. 1898, ZMAJEVAC, CROATIA D. 1944, AUSCHWITZ, POLAND Courtesy of Rogers Fund, by exchange, 1955  Courtesy of Rogers Fund, by exchange, 1955.  Berger was one of the most creative members of the weaving workshop, with a more expressive and conceptual approach than that of many of her contemporaries. After Stölzl abdicated her seat as head of the department in 1931, Berger assumed the position and established her own curriculum, but remained there only until 1932, when she set out on her own. Berger went on to open her own textile atelier in Berlin, and began the process of applying for a visa, with the goal of relocating to the U.S. There, she planned to join Moholy-Nagy’s New Bauhaus school in Chicago and escape Hitler’s regime (she was Jewish), but her application stalled. While waiting for approval, she returned to Croatia, where she was arrested by the Nazis and taken to Auschwitz. She died there in 1944, but her fabrics live on in collections from the Met to the Art Institute of Chicago. Ilse Fehling B. 1896, DANZIG-LANGFUHR, GERMANY D. 1982, MUNICH, GERMANY Fehling had a natural talent for creating sculptural forms and theater designs, skills that she honed further while at the Bauhaus. There, she took classes with painter Paul Klee and sculptor Oskar Schlemmer, among others, between 1920 to 1923. Her objects and theater sets married whimsy and function; in 1922, she patented a rotating round stage for stick puppets. After leaving the Bauhaus, she moved to Berlin and established a multifaceted freelance practice, splitting her time between concocting costume and stage designs and sculptures, the latter of which were celebrated in a solo show at Fritz Gurlitt Gallery in 1927. After studying in Rome in the early 1930s, Fehling returned to Germany, where her sculptures—forged in metal and stone and fusing cubism and corporeality—were deemed “degenerate.” She pushed on, continuing to develop her diverse oeuvre throughout her long life. Alma Siedhoff-Buscher B. 1899, KREUZTAL, GERMANY D. 1944, BUCHSCHLAG, GERMANY Alma Siedhoff-Buscher. © Klassik Stiftung Weimar.  Alma Siedhoff-Buscher. © Klassik Stiftung Weimar.  Siedhoff-Buscher was one of the Bauhaus’s few women to switch from the weaving workshop to the male-dominated wood-sculpture department. There, she invented a number of successful toy and furniture designs, including her “small ship-building game,” which remains in production today. The game manifested Bauhaus’s central tenets: its 22 blocks, forged in primary colors, could be constructed into the shape of a boat, but could also be rearranged to allow for creative experimentation. The toy could also be easily reproduced. Siedhoff-Buscher also became known for the cut-out kits and coloring books she designed for publisher Verlag Otto Maier Ravensburg. But her most pioneering work proved to be the interior she designed for a children’s room at “Haus am Horn,” a home designed by Bauhaus members that exemplified the movement’s aesthetic. Siedhoff-Buscher filled it with modular, washable white furniture. She designed each piece to “grow” with the child: a puppet theater could be transformed into bookshelves, a changing table into a desk. Margarete Heymann B. 1899, COLOGNE, GERMANY D. 1990, LONDON, ENGLAND Margarete Heymann-Marks, Kandinsky Inspired Teacup, 1929. Courtesy of The Ellen Palevsky Cup Collection, Gift of Max Palevsky. Courtesy of Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  Margarete Heymann-Marks, Haël Werkstätten, Disk Handle Teacup and Saucer, 1930. Courtesy of The Ellen Palevsky Cup Collection, Gift of Max Palevsky. Courtesy of Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  At just 21 years old, Heymann refused to follow the majority of her female peers into the Bauhaus’s weaving workshop, convincing Gropius to open up a place for her in ceramics. There, the young, free-thinking artist began to create angular objects, composed of triangles and circles and spangled with constructivist patterns and colorful glazes. She left just a year later, though, after butting heads with her teacher Gerhard Marcks. Heymann and her husband went on to establish a workshop, Haël-Werkstätten, that produced her designs. They were a quick hit, selling at chic shops in Europe, Britain, and the U.S. alike, but Heymann was forced to sell the company in 1934. As European political conflict stirred, Heymann, who was Jewish, fled to England to escape persecution. There, she established a new company, Greta pottery, and would later devote her days to painting. Lou Scheper-Berkenkamp B. 1901, WESEL, GERMANY D. 1976, BERLIN, GERMANY Like many of her Bauhaus contemporaries, Scheper-Berkenkamp was a passionate colorist, an interest she pushed in the school’s mural painting workshop, where she was one of only several women. Her work took her to Moscow with her husband, Bauhaus peer Hinnerk Scheper, where the couple established an “Advisory Centre for Colour in Architecture and the Cityscape,” and concocted color schemes for the exteriors and interiors of buildings across the Russian capital. After the Bauhaus shuttered in 1933, Scheper-Berkenkamp worked as a freelance painter in Berlin and published a number of whimsical children’s books, coming-of-age narratives told through the lens of fantastical adventures. Tales like “The Stories of Jan and Jon and their Pilot Fish” (1947) are today considered part of the children’s book canon. They were some of the first to pair surrealistic drawings with outlandish plots; two of the books have recently been re-released by the Bauhaus Archive in Berlin. After her husband’s death, Scheper-Berkenkamp took over his color design business, spearheading the schemes for Hans Scharoun’s Philharmonie building in Berlin, the Egyptian Museum in Berlin, and the Berlin Tegel airport building, among others. —Alexxa Gotthardt Cover image: Hazel Larsen Archer, Anni Albers, ca. 1948. Image courtesy of Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Charlotte (Lotte) Stam-Beese, Otti Berger and Atelierhaus, 1930. Gift of Manfred Heiting, The Manfred Heiting Collection. Courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. © Estate of Lotte Stam-Besse; Lou Scheper-Berkenkamp; Gunta Stölzl in the Bauhaus weaving studio.


A Sculpture I Love – Mysterious Traveler

David Petrakovitz We have a wonderful sculpture park in Northern Michigan, Michigan Legacy Park.  It has multiple sculptures throughout the wooded park.  You can spend an afternoon wandering and learning.  The Mysterious Traveler was created using old industrial steel objects with newer metal fabrications.  The artist's idea was to create a sculpture that used references to Michigan's industrial past.


A Photograph I Love – Dreaming of Water by Lori Reed

Lori Reed Lori Reed is a graphic artist who is taking her photographs and turning them into collages.  I didn't get to visit Tucson this year so this artwork caught my eye reminding me of the saguaro cactus that stand like soldiers.  Lori tries to move from a photographic documentation of a place at a particular time, to an impression of a place that is timeless ... more of a memory or a feeling of the space.  We will be hosting her artwork July and August this year.


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