One of the things artist Peter Hunner, ’76, loves about working with glass is the quick-flowing process. As a student double majoring in political science and art, he switched from specializing in ceramics to glass because, as he said, “It takes two weeks to complete a ceramic piece while glass only takes 30 minutes. The creative development happens at a more flowing rate.” The Whitworth professors who knew Hunner best remember him not only for his talent but also for his drive and enthusiasm. “He set this place alive,” said art professor Pauline Haas.
The admiration between Haas and Hunner was mutual, as Haas was his mentor at Whitworth. “Pauline taught me to see,” he said. “She taught me to look at the world with my eyes, my heart and my hands.”
Three years after graduating from Whitworth, Life magazine devoted a full page to Hunner’s work when it was part of the International Corning Glass Exhibition in New York. By then he had become an artisan to royalty, with pieces held in private collections all over Europe, including the late Queen Ingrid of Denmark. His work has been shown in international exhibitions in Japan, Denmark, Sweden, England, Switzerland, Germany, Finland and Norway.
In 1980, Hunner and his wife, Maibritt Jonsson, established Baltic Sea Glass on the Danish island of Bornholm. The two met while studying at Copenhagen’s School of Applied Arts. Their studio has flourished and hosts between 80,000 and 100,000 visitors annually. Their company designs and produces functional tabletop glassware, and visits to the studio are an interactive experience. Jönsson and Hunner not only display their glasswork, they also create it in front of visitors.
Whitworth’s permanent collection includes several pieces of Hunner and Jönsson’s work, and Hunner has returned to campus to speak with aspiring artists on numerous occasions.