Hatteberg's People - Bill Craft

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On Hatteberg's People, as the infirmities of age creep across the landscape of our lives, we struggle sometimes to cope. A Hutchinson man has found a way that helps him, through art. Bill Craft may be losing his eyesight, but he is giving others reasons to see religion through his artwork.

In his Hutchinson home World War Two veteran Bill Craft uses his hands and not his eyes to hone his craft.

"This is about the only thing I can really do and accomplish."

He makes religious images with copper tooling - spending hours in his downstairs workroom with a wooden dowel going over and over a copper plate to hone the image.


Much of his work he cannot see due to Glaucoma dimming his eyesight.

"But I just keep on…."

His wife, Merle assists….but makes sure I know it is Bill who does the work.

"He does the pictures and I help with part of it, but he does the pictures."

"People are very surprised. I know for myself, there is no way I could do work like this."

Much of the copper art is sold at Sarah's Catholic Bookstore in downtown Hutchinson.

"Everyone who sees the pieces are amazed at how detailed they are. Especially when people hear that he has health issues with his eyes and what have you. They are just extremely interested."

As Bill crafts his art, visitors can look at a man with a rich 'life' experience.

It was a war that took him from the Kansas prairie in World War Two and placed him in the Navy on the USS Alabama. He and his brother were drafted just weeks before the end of the 1943 school year.

"Mr. Craft is a World War Two veteran. He helped defend our country. He finished his high school requirements by correspondence but he never received his diploma."

He didn't until May of this year when Kinsley High School awarded him his diploma 66 years after he left to fight for his country.

Today, the battle is different, but the fight goes on. Now, this Navy veteran is content to serve though his art. Remember, he can't see what he creates --- The Last Supper --- The Praying Hands - and the Christ Knocking. Together, he and his wife endure - just as they have together for the past 63 years.

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