Lucartha Kohler, 79, died peacefully on Saturday, December 16, 2017 in the Duke Hospice-Hock Family Pavilion.
Lucartha was born October 5, 1938 in Pittsburg, PA to William Donges and Jessie Whitehead. Lucartha is survived by her siblings Betsy Crist and William Donges, her children, Frank Robert Kohler of St. Simons Island, GA, Elizabeth Kohler of Underhill, VT, Rebecca Kohler of Carrboro, NC, and Kathryn Kohler Amory of Boston, MA; one daughter-in-law Susan Kohler; two sons-in-law, Todd Toensing and Robert Crook, and eleven grand-children.
Lucartha had a long and successful career spanning forty years as a pioneering glass artist, teacher, and author. Kohler studied visual arts at Carnegie Mellon Institute, Moore College of Art, and Penland School of Crafts. She began her career as a fashion designer in Philadelphia, PA. In the 1960s, she moved to the historic glass area of southern New Jersey where her life-long affair with glass as material for her art began. She specialized in glass casting but worked and taught in various other techniques (e.g., fusing/slumping, flame-working, blowing, and mosaics). Lucartha exhibited her work in more than a 100 shows across the United States, Japan and Hungary, received many awards and commissions, and her work is included in important glass collections. She also taught workshops both nationally and internationally, and was especially fond of her time spent at the Glass Furnace Glass School in Istanbul, Turkey in 2002. She was an adjunct faculty at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia (1999-2009) and faculty at Fleisher Art Memorial, an art school run by the Philadelphia Art Museum (1994-2009). She regularly taught courses at The Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass. She authored two books about glass art that were considered seminal works in her field: Glass: An Artists Medium (1998) and Women Working in Glass (2003). She was a founding member of the Glass Art Society, and enjoyed immensely serving as a teacher, mentor and friend to many young aspiring artists throughout her career. Lucartha’s art was truly an integral part of her life. As she often said, “I work in my house and I live in my studio.” Her spirit lives on both in her family and in the art she created.
A celebration of life will take place in early spring 2018.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Glass Art Society in Seattle, Washington at 6512 23rd Ave NW #329, Seattle, WA 98117.