Visiting the NorthWest, plus Having Fun!

Visiting the NorthWest, plus Having Fun!

It has been a busy month.  I can’t believe it is the 13th of November.  I was able to get out and visit four dear friends in the NorthWest earlier this Fall.  I highly recommend visiting Seattle and then taking the ferry to Victoria.  Such a lovely part of the country.

I visited a fellow potter, Vicki Hamilton, and her husband, Dennis,  in Seattle.  Vicki teaches and pots at Moshier Community Art Center.  I had fun hanging out with her and watching her teach.  My take away from her class is that I am not a teacher.  Vicki is a very good one.  Her students love her and she loves helping them become better ceramic artists.

Vicki Hamilton and Cyndi CasmierVicki and Cyndi

2014-vh-potsVicki and I took the ferry to visit Robin Hopper and Judi Dyelle.  Robin and I became friends more than 15 years ago when he stayed in our home for a Vermont pottery workshop.  I feel fortunate to call him “friend”.  In my opinion, Robin is a living treasure for Canadian artisans.  He has spent his entire career educating potters about form, function, and glaze formulation.  His wife, Judi, is also a well -known educator.  After relocating from Ontario to Victoria, British Columbia, they organized their own ceramic studios and gallery, a “AngloJapanadian Gardens”, the Stinking Fish Tour, and MISSA (a summer school for adult artists).  Not much dust gathers on either of their soles.

Judi Dyelle and Robin HopperJudi Dyelle and Robin Hopper

Each time I visit Robin and Judi, I have to take a walk through their gardens.  Robin always educates me while we walk with his dog.  I try to remember the names of plants but never do.  This past trip, I took pictures, then emailed him for the names of the plants and trees that resonated with me.  Robin is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to plants and glazing chemicals.  One time when talking with him, he told me that I needed to visit the Geology Museum of Colorado.  He said that by seeing the actual gemstones and minerals, I would understand the periodical table of elements.  Nope, sorry, Robin.  Seeing those stones and minerals do not connect me to that table.


Each time I visit, I am reminded to really look at the world around me, wherever I am.  Robin spent his life painting on his pots – showing us his interpretation of the world around him.

Robin Hopper Pots

From Robin’s Clemetis & Southwest Series

For me, Judi’s pots are about form, texture, and how far can she push her materials.  Her hope is that her work has a timeless quality to it.

Judi Dyelle pots

Judi Dyelle’s Pierced Bowl, Boat Form-Kamloops, and Paracus Container Series

Both Judi and Robin’s ceramic work is in many private and public collections throughout world.  Robin, with Judi’s help, has written more than 5 books on ceramics.  I believe there is one more in the works that will be focusing on their gardens.  Go to for more information.

When visiting their studio in Mechosin, you are able to walk their 2.5 acre “ANGLOJAPANADIAN” garden.  Robin calls his garden this because he organized it to be reflective of Japanese garden history.  It features a wide range of oriental plants.  More than 11 varieties of red dissectum Maple trees are on the property.  Robin and Judi planted the Maples so that they could see the red autumnal colors that they missed from living in the NorthEast.  A walk through the gardens is always a sensory overload – the different textures from trees and plants; the hidden sculptures; the archways, and benches.

I love the texture of plants and tree bark.  Check out this lovely Dawn Redwood (scientific name of Metasequoia).

I never knew that Rhododendron’s have rust under-leaves!


Victoria has an amazing climate that allows a wide variety of plants to thrive.  The first time I saw these HUGE Queen Anne’s lace, I felt that I was inside the story “Alice in Wonderland”.

This plant is a toxic hogweed plant and not really loved by local residents.

Even though we are north of the USA, South American Pampas Grass grows here, too.

Whenever, I visit, it is the tall Douglas Fir and mists over the water that catch my attention.  They caught Robin’s too in 1977.

Douglas Fir and more

The Mists, 1977 Robin Hopper

“The Mists” by Robin Hopper, 1977

In Robin’s words:  “Have Fun”.  Robin is never far from his bugle mouthpiece.

Robin Hopper

plus “Try it and See”

More images (mostly for my memory)