Bill Hunt • Ohio (1946- )
100 Variations of a Bowl • Porcelain 5” x 5” x 2” each
When “why not?” is as important as “why?” You’re a former philosophy major who took up ceramics because there are only, like maybe, 6 philosophy jobs available … ever. Ceramics sounded like an easy A at Wooster College and you soon found you were having way too much fun. While pursuing a Master’s Degree at The Ohio State University, the Head of the Art Department at tiny Valley College on the barren plains of North Dakota notices your work and asks you to join his faculty. “Why not?”
Before leaving for the frozen tundra (an exaggeration, but still) Bill Hunt asked OSU professor Sid Chafetz for some teaching advice. “Stay one lesson ahead of the kids and you’ll be fine.” It worked for about a year until Hunt said what he felt about the Vietnam war and was promptly unemployed again.
In 1972, the editor of Ceramics Monthly magazine died and the owner decided he didn’t want to hire another journalism major. He approached Hunt who had gone 8 months without a paycheck. Over the next 22 years Bill Hunt traveled the world interviewing top ceramicists. “It was like I got a couple of Phd’s for free. I got to see how they lived, worked and who influenced them.” Why couldn’t he do what they did? Why not?
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In 1999, the Columbus College of Art and Design called and asked if they could coerce him into teaching there. “Why not?”
“That’s the way life goes. Every time I’ve taken a substantial risk, as frightening as it might be, it always worked out.”
Today Bill Hunt is a full-time studio artist in Delaware, Ohio. His interest in blue and white porcelain, grew from studying Japanese ceramics. “People have appreciated blue and white porcelain back to the 8th Century. It is often associated with royalty and top-of-the-line stuff.” For the Columbus College of Art and Design’s 125th Anniversary exhibition, Hunt set out to make 125 bowls, wondering if he could decorate each piece differently. He did, but pruned the original 125 to the 100 now in the Canton Museum of Art’s Permanent Collection. “Actually, I gave them 101, in case one broke.” Why not?
Canton Museum of Art Permanent Collection
Doran Foundation in Memory of Edward & Rosa J. Langenback 2005.6.1 - .101
4 Ways to Sound Smart When Viewing at The Canton Museum of Art
“The son of a Presbyterian minister, this guy was preordained to attend Wooster College.”
“He was editor of Ceramics Monthly for 22 years. Talk about learning on the job, he had the best seat in the house.”
“100 bowls, each with different decoration and feet. Now that’s a challenge.”
“Is ceramics art or craft? As Bill Hunt said: ‘You can’t trace the history of art without ceramics, but you can without painting’. Enough said.”