Roberta Jean “Robin” Kraft, age 65, of Lafayette Indiana and Portsmouth, Virginia, passed away Monday, September 7, 2020. Robin was a long-time member and supporter of SNAG.
She graduated Naperville High school, Naperville Illinois in 1973, obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Painting in 1978 from the University of Illinois, Chicago and a Master of Fine Arts in Jewelry and Metalsmithing from Kent State University in 1991.
Robin was Professor of Jewelry and Metalsmithing at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana from 1994 until her retirement in 2019. She was a wonderful teacher and mentor, devoted to and loved by her students. Her curiosity and thirst for knowledge was infectious and she inspired her students to work hard to meet her expectations.
Robin was an artist in the true sense of the word, approaching her artwork seriously and studiously. Her talent and versatility in material usage enabled her to focus on content. Her work is beautiful, meticulously and painstakingly crafted, eliciting wonder from her audience. Robin’s work had to answer the right questions or would not make it to completion – there was never a ‘good enough’. Her thoughtfulness about a subject was apparent in each piece she made.
Robin lived every aspect of her life as a creative person, rising to the challenge of new projects and situations, meeting them with vigor and enthusiasm. She was involved in art from a very young age, first at home with her mother, then in school, working in silver for the first time in high school. She attended workshops, participated in residencies, exhibited widely, was published in several journals and books, and for a time went on the retail craft show circuit. She loved to travel and visit artist communities and museums anywhere in the world. Her work won many awards and is included in very prestigious collections across the country.
Robin lived with cancer for many years, and as it progressed, she adapted to its challenges creatively and with patience. She was a fantastic cook and continued to make her own food, even recently when a feeding tube became necessary. Her Vita-Mix blender enabled her to eat what she wanted, to the surprise of her doctors. One of her great joys was feeding people. Her rhubarb pie is legendary. She was a collector of anything odd and interesting, a gardener, a bird watcher, a crossword fanatic and the cat whisperer. Any cat that was under her care was indeed a loved and very lucky animal.
Robin was preceded in death by her parents Robert E. Kraft and Shirley M. Kraft and her brother James E. Kraft. She is survived by her partner and husband of 32 years, Edward Francis of Portsmouth Virginia, her sister Dr. Susan L. Kraft/Michaels, brother-in-law Donald Michaels, nephew Zachary Michaels, niece Charlotte Elise Michaels, niece Emily Kraft and nephew Andrew Kraft along with extended family and many friends.
There will be a celebration gathering in the future, when it is safe to do such things again. Time and place will be made known when the planning starts to take shape.
SNAG extends its condolences to all of Robin’s family and friends.