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ECKHARDT, EDRIS

ECKHARDT, EDRIS (28 Jan. 1905-27 April 1998), internationally known sculptor, ceramist, and enamelist, won a Guggenheim fellowship in 1956 for her rediscovery of the ancient Egyptian technique for making gold glass, which had been forgotten for 1,500 years. Eckhardt, whose birth name was Edythe Aline, was born in Cleveland to Herman W. Eckhardt, a plumber, and Rachel A. (Rice) Eckhardt. She graduated from the Cleveland School of Art in 1931, however she was not given the Herman N. Matzen Award, which offered a year study abroad, because she was a woman. As a result, she changed her name to Edris, a militant and genderless archangel. Eckhardt was named supervisor of the Works Project Administration ceramic arts programs in Cleveland, a post she held until 1941. She taught at her alma mater, which became the CLEVELAND INSTITUTE OF ART, for twenty-eight years and received her bachelors degree in 1963. Eckhardt also taught at WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY, Cleveland College, University of California at Berkeley, Notre Dame College and Oxford School in CLEVELAND HEIGHTS.

Eckhardt made her own glass, rolled it, laminated anywhere from three to seventeen layers with tiny scales of colored glass between them, etched and fired it. She was known for inventing new processes for glass, bronze and other media. Her artwork won many regional, national and international awards and is in the collections of more than 50 museums around the world. She created sculpture for Eleanor Roosevelt, the U.S. Congress and the British Monarchy. Winning another Guggenheim for her work in ceramics, Eckhardt became the first Ohio artist to win the award twice. She also received a Louis Comfort Tiffany fellowship for her work in glass design and in 1990 was named a fellow of the American Crafts Council.

In 1936, Eckhardt married Arthur L. Porthill, who died in March 1972. Eckhardt died from complications from cancer in LAKEWOOD, OH. Her remains were cremated.