Wes Hunting: Looking Back, Moving Forward
I never had an early interest in glass in particular but always had an interest in creativity.
Sometimes, I’m not too sure where it’s going; but for me, it’s all about being able to make what I want, when I want, and keep it moving until I can no longer do so. I took the scenic route on the way to working with glass. I was always interested in the visual arts and music, and in 1976, I started my education at Kent State University with a major in painting. During this time, I had a weekend job as a groundskeeper at Hale Farm, an early American historical village just outside of Kent, Ohio. It was there that I was literally thrown into glassblowing.
Hale Farm has a small glass shop along with other craft areas for visitors to walk around and ponder. One afternoon, the head gaffer at the glass shop walked off the job after getting into a tiff with the grounds manager. The manager looked at me and said, “Hunting, get over to the glass studio and give the guy a hand.” The next thing I knew, I was gathering hot, molten glass out of a replica of a historic furnace. I was smitten and the rest is history.
I opened Hunting Studio Glass in the summer in 1982 in Chicago. When my son, Wesley Justin, was born in 1987, it gave my life new purpose and we moved to Princeton, in central Wisconsin. Once I settled in, I found more time to focus on my work and that became evident in the detail and coloration that began to emerge and has never stopped.
Now I work with my son, Wesley, as a team in rural Wisconsin. We are always striving to take the work to a new level of intensity. It has developed into a way for me to express myself by painting with molten glass. There is no other material like glass. The colors are totally unique as they can be transparent or opalescent. The way light passes through colored glasses adds a third dimension that cannot be duplicated by any other material.