By Linda Cicoira- Elizabeth Hunt could throw a lump of clay on the potter’s wheel and turn it into an elegant form.
But simply glazing that bowl, vase, or jar wasn’t enough for her. With immense patience, Hunt would carve designs into the perfect vessels and turn them into the most intricate works of art. She was a master of dragonflies, for example. And she had a great following.
Last Saturday, the 50-year-old woman passed away at her studio at the Onancock School on College Avenue, according to a message sent via email to other members of the Artisans Guild of the Eastern Shore and friends. Paramedics determined she had died sometime within the past 24 hours.
“Elizabeth had a bed in her studio,” the note conveyed. “It appeared as if she had laid down to take a nap and never woke up. She had no food, drink or medications within reach.”
A new home was found for her dog, Exzavier, who was with her.
Hunt was also a teacher. She often ran children’s classes at ESO Arts Center in Belle Haven where handbuilt pots were made and students got a chance to use the wheel. She also conducted classes in her own studio, encouraging adult students to thrive, relax, and enjoy creating.
Hunt was also always experimenting with Raku, which means “happiness in the accident,” and is a Japanese technique of firing pots in which the items are brought to temperature, removed while still red hot, and put into a container of sawdust or other flammable material. Quickly covered to reduce oxygen, the results can be stunning and never duplicated.
“Elizabeth was an amazing woman,” wrote Annie Jones, a fellow potter. “Her intelligence and talent were surpassed by few. When I first took up my attempts at making clay pots, she always went out of her way to compliment me — to give me encouragement. She was generous in sharing her talents and in encouraging others to expand their minds and skills. Life was not always easy for Elizabeth. But I can tell you, the universe is now minus one talented, generous and loving soul. I miss her already.”
Other artists flocked to Facebook to voice their distress in losing their friend. In addition to being talented, Hunt was a member of MENSA, which means she had an IQ in the top 2 percent of the population.
She also was known for having a great love of chickens — as pets, not for consumption. And she was an art appreciator as she often traded her ware with other artists whose work she admired. Hunt also was an avid player of Words With Friends, a Facebook scrabble-like game. She was excellent at that too.