Dard Hunter (1883-1966)
Dard Hunter Frames
See in Our Gallery
Dard Hunter I (1883–1966), born William Joseph Hunter was an American authority on printing, paper, and papermaking—especially by hand, using the tools and craft of four centuries prior. Hunter produced two hundred copies of his book Old Papermaking, preparing every aspect of the book himself: he wrote the text, designed and cast the type, did the typesetting, handmade the paper, and printed and bound the book.
A display at the Smithsonian Institution that appeared with his work read, "In the entire history of printing, these are the first books to have been made in their entirety by the labors of one man."
Active in the Arts and Crafts movement, he created and championed many other types of handmade arts and crafts, publishing his own guides, such as Things You Can Make. He experimented with pottery, jewelry, stained glass windows, and furniture. He also founded a correspondence school, the Dard Hunter School of Handicrafts.
Hunter was born and raised in Steubenville, Ohio, where his father published a gazette and ran a printery. From 1900 to 1903 he attended Ohio State University. He began his career in East Aurora, New York with a job at Roycroft, the Arts and Crafts company of Elbert Hubbard. In 1908, Dard married Edith Cornell, a pianist he met at Roycroft, and the couple honeymooned in Vienna, a location inspired by Hunter's interest in Josef Hoffmann. Hunter returned to Europe to study papermaking in Italy, and was graduated from Vienna's Royal-Imperial Graphic Teaching and Experimental Institute (K. K. Graphische Lehr und Versuchsanstalt).
The couple went to London in 1911, where he worked as a commercial designer with Norfolk Studios. An exhibit at the London Science Museum provoked his interest in papermaking. In his exploration of primitive and early papermaking (a craft with origins in China about 105 AD), he would travel to East Asia and Pacific locales such as Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji.
The Gomez Mill House, home to the Hunter family during the 1910s.
In 1912, they returned to the United States, and Hunter bought and moved into the Gomez Mill House near Marlboro, New York. He built a small papermill there, and crafted his first books on papermaking. Handmade paper was not being produced in America at the time; it had to be purchased from Europe. His English papermaking appliances were three centuries old, and were operated by a wooden water wheel. Over forty-six years, he wrote twenty books about papermaking, eight of which were hand-printed.
In 1919, the Hunter family returned to Ohio and purchased the 1850 "Mountain House" in Chillicothe, Ohio, which had been built for German winemakers. Hunter used a wing joined to the house for his letterpress printing studio, named Mountain House Press, where he produced eight handmade books, authored twenty books on the topic of papermaking, and was an active publisher between 1922 and 1956. In 1958 he published his autobiography, My Life with Paper.
Hunter opened the Dard Hunter Paper Museum at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1939, which he considered his greatest accomplishment. It was moved to the Institute of Paper Chemistry in Appleton, Wisconsin in 1954. The Dard Hunter Paper Museum now comprises most of the collection of the Institute of Paper Science and Technology, on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.
Hunter died in 1966 at Chillicothe, survived by two sons. His wife had died in 1951. Members of his family maintain Dard Hunter Studios at the historic Mountain House, which are open to the public by appointment. The studio provides an online library.
Dard Hunter I is considered one of the Arts and Crafts Movement's greatest artists. Hunter is known for his impact on the art of the handmade book and his influential graphic designs. A Harmonious Life: The Design and Book Art of Dard Hunter offers the first presentation of this important artist's extensive graphic works, as well as his influential books and the materials he used to create them.
Hunter joined Elbert Hubbard's handicraft community known as the Roycroft colony in East Aurora, New York, in 1904. A leading proponent of the Arts and Crafts Movement, Hubbard encouraged Hunter to develop his artistic talents in graphic design, stained glass, and metalwork. Hunter designed stained glass windows for the Roycroft Inn and title pages for the Roycroft Press, including the cover of Hubbard's monthly magazine, The Fra.
Dard Hunter continued to create original prints, hand made paper and unique type until is passing is 1966.
The Legacy of Dard Hunter continues today. Dard Hunter's Mountain House home is now the center for Dard Hunter Studios, dedicated to raising the awareness of the contributions made by Dard Hunter to the American Arts and Crafts Movement. It is the goal of the Dard Hunter Studio to insure the long term preservation of his home and working studio and to establish it as a living museum.
The solid oak frames we offer are made under the careful eye of Dard Hunter III. Following his families' tradition of authenticity and remarkable craftsmanship, Dard Hunter Legacy frames are the especially made for Motawi Tiles.
The staff of Arts and Crafts Tile.com is grateful that Dard Hunter III has allowed us to showcase his craft.