Art made for space travel

Stinking Fish art show evenings held at the Metchosin Community House, 4430 Happy Valley Rd. start Nov. 8

Robin Hopper shows off some of his pottery. The painting is on the same ceramic material that covers spaceships.

Robin Hopper shows off some of his pottery. The painting is on the same ceramic material that covers spaceships.

It came from outer space.

Not a Martian or an android, it’s spaceship armour.

Metchosin potter Robin Hopper proudly holds a ceramic painting explaining the ceramic component is the same material that covers spaceships.

“I am using a ceramic product that was developed for space shuttles as a heat shield,” Hopper said, adding it can withstand temperatures up to 1,500C.

“It looks and feels like porcelain, but it’s quite different,” he said, loudly banging the material on his table. “It is very strong, much stronger than porcelain.”

The material has a ceramic substrate, he explained.  About three years ago Hopper contacted a company in Colorado who makes the material for the space shuttles. He asked what they do with the leftovers. When he was told they end up in the trash he asked if the company would mail him some.

“Two months later I sent them a glazed painting,” Hopper said. “They were blown away. Now they have a secondary industry selling (the materials to artists.)”

“I had been looking for something like this for 50 years,” said Hopper who has played with clay since he was three years old.  “Now with my health problems I can’t hold a brush for a long time.”

Hopper, 73, grew up in London and during the Second World War he remembers the city being bombed.

“The bombs exploded and there were giant pits of clay, I started to play in the bomb craters when I was three,” Hopper said.

Hopper will be one of three speakers at a Stinking Fish art show evening held at the Metchosin Community House, 4430 Happy Valley Rd. The talks begin Nov. 8 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.  He will be talking about his history, materials and his art.

This is the first year the Stinking Fish Studio tour will be held at the Metchosin Art Gallery, 4495 Happy Valley Rd.

“Fall has always been tough and weather permitting. People live up steep hills and down long driveways. If there is a slight problem with the weather people don’t come out,” said the show’s co-ordinator Judi Dyelle. “This year we thought we’d put everything together.”

 

Dyelle is a potter and her work will also be on display at the Metchosin Art Gallery until Nov. 30.