Marianne Hunter


P O E T I C  S Y M P H O N I E S


by Marbeth Schon



Kabuki Kachina
watches over Summer's
fishes glisten in the
 slowing waters
while the streamside
shifts from green grasses
to golden grain

 Kabuki Kachina Watches Over Summer

Materials: opals
 chrysoprose from pearls
iridescent pyrite from the Olga River

3 1/4" x 2 1/2" x 1/8"

In enamels I find the perfect balance between two of my passions--painting and metal arts, but now, through Marianne Hunter's compositions, music and poetry also come into play. Though silent, the shapes, textures and jewel-like colors of Marianne Hunter's enamels are poetic and musical--symphonies in metal.

(For each of her enamels, Hunter writes an original poem--the poems are included in this article beside the photographs of the pieces for which they were written.)

Hunter has been enamored with enamels since 1967, the year she graduated from high school and was given a hobby enameling kit.  Looking back, she sees that as a defining moment--the time when the rest of her life began.  The distinctiveness of her art arises from personal invention.  From the start she worked alone, without guidance, developing unique techniques such as a dry-application grisaille.  Her metalwork, too, comes from the wellspring of her imagination--it grows out of "the necessity of concept." "Everything about my artwork is personal," she says, "how I taught myself, how I practice it and how I feel about what it encompasses. It is driven by passionate yearning."

As Dusk Softens

namels over pure silver, gold foils
Imperial Picasso stone
plume agates

snowflake obsidian
5" X 1 5/8" X 1/8"

as dusk softens
the wide wild landscape
the wondering heart
is caught and comforted
in a billowy boundary of trees

After working for twelve years perfecting her techniques in grisaille, Hunter began to add color and foils to her pieces which, she says, gave her the feeling of "a door opening."
In 1970, Hunter participated in the first in-door, all craft show in Southern California where she met her  future husband, collaborator and inspiration, wood sculptor Bill (aka William) Hunter.  Since 1977, she and Bill have been building a life in art together.

The piece on the right (Wisteria Kimona) combines both Marianne's and Bill Hunter's talents: Inside the wood vessel (created by Bill) is a silver bottle that pulls out and opens to reveal a strand of pearls. The Kimono is attached to the top of the silver bottle by means of a square silver bar through a fitting. Lifting the Kimono pulls the silver bottle out of the pink ivorywood vessel. Pulling the bar out releases the Kimono necklace and putting the bar back in completes the bottle top.

Wisteria Kimona is in the permanent collection of the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina,
a gift of Arthur and Jane Mason.


Wisteria Kimono

Materials: enamel with pure silver, pure gold foils, druzy lavender chalcedony, opals.
Metals:  24kt •14kt • sterling silver fabricated and engraved. Vessel sculpture by William Hunter in Pink Ivory wood,
 satinwood and ebony.

The symphonic metaphors of counterpoint and composition in Hunter’s enamels are deliberate: " I see the enamels, metals, stones and other materials as instruments working in concert," she says. " The image in enamel is the melodic theme, underscored and embellished by finely detailed fabricated metalwork. The other materials, ranging from diamonds to feathers to fossils, are used as refrain or counterpoint to the enamel’s theme. The orchestration of the finished work is balanced so the melody is compelling and the supporting variations are unifying."

Kabuki Kachina at the Peak of the World

Materials: enamels: grisaille w/foils
boulder opal & opal

Metals:  24kt • 14kt yellow, green, pink • sterling silver
fabricated & engraved

3¼” X 2”

At the peak of the world
Kabuki Kachina
opens your eyes to the dawn.
below... the valley vastness...
a bowl of snow mists
beyond the towering mountains
blanketed in endless snows.
Shivering in your shelter
do you sense the
faint scent of roses?

Mysteries speak
across time
and oceans
in gestures without



Mysteries Speak

Materials:enamels with foils
kinsote (druzy)
turquoise, sapphires, apatite

24kt • 14kt • sterling silver
22K, porcelain, lapis, onyx

What is easily seen in Hunter's work is beauty, but what is perceived beyond the loveliness is something mystical--a deeper view of the universe that invokes calmness. There is an immediate sense of connection to ancient cultures or, perhaps, worlds not yet explored.

Hunter says, "The sustaining motive for my work remains the same whether the subject is the world of nature, myth, or culture: to become immersed in and articulate the beauty and mystery of the world and turn away what is harmful in the world by overpowering it with benevolence. Each piece is a story I tell myself while I am working."

Kabuki Kachina in Her Patchwork Silks

Materials: enamel w/foils / dry layered ametrine, quartz w/goetite
 & amethyst tourmaline

24kt •14kt • platinum-silver
     fabricated & engraved

ametrine, tanzanite, amethyst, 20kt

2 13/16" x 1 7/8" x 1/8"

Kabuki Kachina
in her patchwork silks
of purple rain
and amber grains
whistles for joy of the morning



Kabuki Kachina, the puzzlemastic artist
sculptor of flora
inventor of fauna
conductor of water and bird song


Kabuki Kachina, the Puzzlemastic Artist

Materials: grisaille w/foil enamels
cultured pearl

24kt •14kt • sterling silver • yellow golds
fabricated & engraved

2 5/8" X 2" X 1/8"

Like a composer, Hunter approaches her design compositions by first searching for a theme. She says, "the inspiration can come from a particular stone, personal experience or studies...sometimes it's just there. Next I draw the design to scale in full detail of enamel, metals and stones. The shapes to enamel are traced onto the metal and sawed free. Now the music starts."










Kabuki Kachina Blooms in Summer

enamel (w/texture)
druzy agate, rutilated quartz

24kt •14kt • sterling silver
fabricated & engraved

22 kt, carved jasper, onyx
2" x 2¾ " x 1/8"

Kabuki Kachina
Blooms in summer
stately sunflowers
crown the fields



Nothing extraordinary, however, whether music or art, comes without process--sometimes laborious, often painstaking.

Hunter explains her technique: "My enamel technique begins with 3-5 background firings of black enamel over copper or silver. The images are then built up in multiple firings of very thin layers of enamels which are applied dry by sifting or by laying on with a tiny knife. My grisaille process utilizes very fine mesh white enamel over the black for a full range of value: black to gray to white. Color can then be added directly over the white or more often over precisely cut 24kt and .999 silver foils. The foil elements are each carefully placed then fired over the previously fired and cooled layers. A delicate layer of transparent and/or opalescent enamels is then laid and fired. Layers of enamels and foils are built and fired until the full range and depth of color, shading and detail is achieved. A finished piece will require from 12 to over 100 firings."

The Desert wears stillness
as a cloak
a soul of vibrant



Vibrant Spirit

Materials: enamel on copper
Montana agate
fossil dinosaur bone
rutilated quartz over pheasant feathers

24kt •14kt • sterling silver
fabricated, embossed & engraved

agate, moonstone 22kt
3¼" x 2½" x 1/8"

Hunter creates the totality of her pieces, juxtaposing shapes, colors and textures. Using enamels, stones and metals she presents complete, unified compositions.

Everything is done by hand. The metalwork is "hand-fabricated, textured and engraved to
present the enamels and stones in a painterly continuation of imagery."

A Garland of Dreams  

Materials: PMC silver & gold w/ enamels
 formed over orchid set on sterling silver
 pearls: garland

24kt •14kt rose & yellow gold


A Garland of Dreams (detail)

A garland
of dreams
the scent of
elusive as moonbeams

Hunter uses 24kt gold for all of her bezels and most (90%) of the other soldered decorative appliques.  She also uses rose, green, yellow and white 14/18kt. golds. For the supporting structure and clasps, she uses 22kt, 14kt, gold and/or sterling silver.

Each of Marianne Hunter's enamels is personal and unique. Its individual number, metals, the title poem written for it, date and signature are engraved on the reverse and each is registered to its owner.

Petroglyphs dance
on canyon walls
painted with sunsets' brush



Petroglyphs Dance

Opalized Wood, Boulder Opal Split
Enamels w/Foils

24K•14K • sterling silver
Fabricated & Engraved

Crab Shell Agate, Pin-Fire Opal, 20kt Gold


Hunter's resume is deep and broad--her work is respected by museums, galleries and individuals throughout the world. We list it below:


Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC

National Museum of American Art, Renwick Gallery

Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

Los Angeles County Museum of  Art, Los Angeles, CA

Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA

Gemological Institute of America Museum, Carlsbad, CA


2008                   “Transforming Vision, The Wood Sculpture of William Hunter, 1970 – 2005,”
Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA

2007                   “Transforming Vision, The Wood Sculpture of William Hunter, 1970 – 2005,”
Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA
Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, AL
The Wood Turning Center, Philadelphia, PA

2006                   “Transforming Vision, The Wood Sculpture of William Hunter, 1970 – 2005,” Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, CA

2005                   “Japan Shippo Conference Juried Exhibition,” The Pola Museum Annex, Tokyo, Japan

                            “California Visions,” Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, CA

2004                   “Celebrating Nature: Craft Traditions/Contemporary Expressions” Los Angeles Craft & Folk Art Museum, L.A., CA

                            “Art Auction X,” Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, CA

                            “Le Bal des Bijoux” Phoenix and the Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, CA.

2003                   “Beyond the Mines: The Art of Gold” Crocker Museum, Sacramento.CA

                            “Japan Shippo International Exhibition,” Syosenkyo Rope-Way Art Museum,
Yamanishi & Pola Museum, Tokyo, Japan

2002                   Gemological Institute of America Museum, Carlsbad, CA

1999-02             “Shippo Conference Exhibition” Syosenkyo Rope-Way Art Museum.

                            Tokyo, Japan. Grand Prix ‘02 Materials Integration Award,’00,’01;
Ninomiya Enamel Award’99

2000                   “Arthur & Jane Mason Collection”, Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC

1997                   “Enamelist  Society’s ‘97 International Juried Exhibition”
Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN.

                            “Glass On Metal”, Coastal Arts League Museum,12th Annual Juried Show,
Half Moon Bay, CA, Best In Show 2-D Award

                            “9th International  Exhibition of Enameling Art in Japan” Musashino City Hall, Musashino-shi, Tokyo Ninomiya Enameling Award

                            “9th International Exhibition of Enameling Art in Japan”
Hiroshima Prefectural Museum, Hiroshima

1995                   “Glass On Metal”, Coastal Arts League Museum, 11th Annual Juried Show,
Half Moon Bay, CA, First Place 3-D Award

1993                   “California Metal Invitational,” Hearst Art Gallery Museum,
St. Mary’s College of California, Moraga, CA

1992 - 93           “Woodturning As An Art Form: The Irving Lipton Collection,” Erie Art Museum,
Erie, PA and University Museum, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA



2008                   “Transformed by Fire,” NCEG 9th Juried Enamel Exhibition, Northern CA Enamel Guild, Oakland Museum, Oakland, CA

                            “Composting Good and Evil: Redesign for Sanctimonious Sinners,” Virtual Exhibition, Ethical Metalsmiths

                            “Wearable Expressions,” Palos Verdes Art Center, Palos Verdes, CA

2007                   “Shades of Green,” Aaron Faber Gallery, New York, NY

                            “Fusion,” Enamelist Society Exhibition, Columbus, OH

                            “Couture Awards Exhibition 2007,” Pratt Mansion, New York, NY

2006                   “On Fire!” gallery MIM, Baltimore, MD

                            “Wearable Expressions,” Palos Verdes Art Center, Palos Verdes, CA

2005                   “In the Water,” Aaron Faber Gallery, New York, NY

                            “The James Renwick Alliance Craft Leaders Caucus,” Los Angeles, CA

                            GIA Collection, JCK Show, Las Vegas, NV

2004                   SOFA Chicago, “Aaron Faber 30th Anniversary”, Chicago, IL

                            “Aaron Faber 30th Anniversary”, Aaron Faber Gallery, New York, NY

                            SOFA New York, “Focus on Enamels”, Aaron Faber Gallery at SOFA New York, New York, NY

                            “Marianne Hunter” Concepts Gallery, Carmel, CA

2003                   “On the Edge,” The Enamelist Society IX Biennial International Juried Enamel Exhibition,
The Evergreen State College Art Gallery, Olympia, WA

                            “Colors”, Aaron Faber Gallery, NY, NY

                            “GemFest”, Mineralogical Society of Southern California, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

                  “Americana”, Decorative Arts Guild, Riverside, CA

                                “16th International Cloisonné Jewelry Contest”,
The Japan Shippo Conference Juried Exhibition, Tokyo, Japan

                            “Zaruba Gallery Enameling Show”, Zaruba Gallery, Rockville, MD

                  “On the Edge”, 9th Biennial International Juried Exhibition, Enamelist Society,
Evergreen State College Art Gallery, Olympia, WA
Gallery Mack, Seattle, WA & Contemporary Crafts Gallery, Portland, OR

2003-98; SOFA Chicago, Aaron Faber Gallery at SOFA Chicago, IL.

                            SOFA New York City, Aaron Faber Gallery

2000                   Nature, Aaron Faber Gallery New York, NY

1999                   Crossing Boundaries, Canada.

                            Modern Enamel Masters” Aaron Faber Gallery New York, NY

1998                   “William and Marianne Hunter” Del Mano Gallery, Brentwood, CA

1997                   Northern California Enamel Guild Second Annual Juried Enamel Exhibition.
IN SIGHT Gallery, San Francisco, CA.  Award of Excellence.

Aaron Faber Gall     1995                   “William and Marianne Hunter, 25 Years as Studio Artists,” Del Mano Gallery

“Great Expectations,” The Enamelist Society V International Biennial Exhibition
Charles H. Taylor Arts Center, Hampton, VA, The D’Art Gallery, Norfolk, VA &
Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, Waterloo, Ontario

“Marianne Hunter,” Stonington Gallery, Ketchum, ID

1993-95             New Art Forms / SOFA., Chicago, IL

1992                   Gallery 500, Elkins Park, PA
Jewelers Invitational, Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge, MA

1991                   “Hunter & Hunter,” Zimmer Gallery, Mendocino, CA

1989                   The Enamelist Society Second Convention, Covington, KT

“Marianne Hunter,” Croma Gallery, Wellesley, MA

“Hunter & Hunter: Works From Their Third Decade,” del Mano Gallery

1987 - 91           National Enamel Society Juried Exhibition, Cleveland, OH ...with honors



Transforming Vision: The Wood Sculpture of William Hunter 1970-2005,

American Couture Jewelry, An Exhibition in Print, Andreasen & Andreasen

Art Jewelry Today, Snyder

Best of America: Jewelry Artists & Artisans, Vol 1, Kennedy

Contemporary Enameling, L. Bachrach

Celebrating Nature, L.A. Craft & Folk Art Museum

Wood Art Today, D. Meilach

Careers in Art, G. Brommer

Enameling with Professionals, L. Bachrach

The Art of Fine Enameling, K. Cohen

Beautiful Things, Guild Publishers

Metal Techniques Survey 1,La Plantz

The Art of Jewelry Making, A. Revere

Art Jewelry Today, Dona Meilach

A Manual of Cloisonné and Champleve, Stroshal

Metal Techniques Survey 2, La Plantz




Jewelry Artist

Art of the Times

The Loupe

Arts Monthly

Art Jewelry


American Craft

Wedding Magazine

American Style

Colored Stone

Decor & Style


Lapidary Journal

Arts and Antiques

Washington Home & Garden

National Jeweler

American Woodturner


S. F Art Review

Arts Monthly


Crafts Report

Renwick Alliance Quarterly

Inside Weddings





The Enamelist Society Newsletter

Palos Verdes News

Long Beach Press Telegram

Palm Beach Daily News

New York Times

LA Times

Washington Post

Palm Beach Report

Design Florida

SF Chronical

San Francisco Examiner

S.M. Daily Breeze

Essex Journal

Oakland Tribune

Contra Costa Sun

Pasadena Star

Malibu Times

Yomiuri America

San Francisco Guide

Halfmoon Bay Review

Vitreous Voice

Art Talk etc

Charlotte Observer

Peninsula News

The Sacramento Bee

Fort Mason Center Monthly

The Easy Reader


Teaching and Lectures:

“Inspirational Interplay: the collaboration of artist and materials,”
Gemological Institute of America, Carlsbad, Ca

“Two Lives Expressed in Art,” Beverly Hills Forum, Beverly Hills Municipal Gallery, B.H., Ca

American Craft Council/SOFA, “In Cahoots” Slide presentation, NYC, NY               

Craft Student League/SOFA, “Marianne Hunter,” NYC, NY

“Marianne Hunter on Creativity” Bead Collectors Society, S.F., Ca

Loyola Marymount University, LA, Ca

St. Mary’s College, Moraga, CA

Revere Academy, S.F. , Ca

Contemporary Crafts Market: 97, 98

“Collecting Contemporary American Art” B.H. Ca

“Marianne Hunter” Sierra Madre Arts Center, Sierra Madre, Ca

“Marianne Hunter”, William Zimmer Gallery, Mendocino, CA


Joan Quinn Profiles, 2005

The Carol Duval Show  “Marianne Hunter”, HGTV, 2002

Channel 4 News, Washington, D.C. 2001






Hidden in plain sight the heartbreaking beauties
who take your breath away





Hidden in Plain Sight

Materials: grissaille & foil enamels
agates, chalcedony

24kt •14kt • sterling silver
22kt, jasper, amethyst

Marianne Hunter • P.O. Box 68 • Palos Verdes Peninsula • Ca 90274 • 310-377-1871

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Photographs courtesy of Marrianne Hunter

Web design by Marbeth Schon

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