Some weekends ago Owyn and I attented to the October New York Handweavers Guild meeting, featuring Adrienne Sloane‘s “Knitting the Political Landscape” lecture, in which she covered “works by artists and activists who are helping to change the landscape of knitting art” as well as her own art work.

Adrienne Sloane – Truth to Power (detail)

(image from www.adriennesloane.com)

Amongst the several exciting knit/crochet artists that Adrienne presented, we came across with the work of Ruth Marshall and her tiger pelts.

Ruth Marshall is an artist in residency at the Museum of Art and Design, in New York and is currently working on her Tiger Pelt Project. In this project, Ruth has been knitting live size tiger pelts, based on the actual tiger pelts collection of the American Museum of Natural History and data from wild tigers being studied by scientists.

Tiger Cub, knitted yarn, 2010

(image from www.madmuseum.org, photo and art by Ruth Marshall)

“Through studying actual pelts that were collected from 1944 onwards to live wild tigers captured by photographs, I hope to trace the history and stories behind these amazing tigers that are facing the threat of extinction today.” (in http://www.madmuseum.org)

Ruth has been working with animals for a while. After graduation she joined the exhibit/graphic & design team of the Wildlife Conservation Society of the Bronx Zoo, and she worked there as an exhibition sculptor for more than 12 years.  This experience gave her the opportunity to study a world class animal collection and to learn about conservation strategies related to endangered species. (www.madmuseum.org)

Some of her previous projects include series of pelts from other cats species, like jaguars and leopards, and a series of 68 knitted coral snake skins. All knitted pelts and skins are a faithful and detailed reproduction of the principal characteristics of the species, like colors, stripes, …

Gold Jaguar, knitted yarn bamboo and string, 2007

(photo by Maja Kihlstedt)

(Artist: Ruth Marshall, Courtesy of Dam,  Stuhltrager Gallery)

Clouded Leopard (from the Small Cat Series),  hand knit wool yarn, wooden frame, twine, 2009
(photo by Maja Kihlstedt)

(Artist: Ruth Marshall, Courtesy of Dam,  Stuhltrager Gallery)

Coral Snake Series, 2006, exhbited at Dam, Struhltrager Gallery, Brooklyn

(photo by Maja Kihlstedt)

(Artist: Ruth Marshall, Courtesy of Dam,  Stuhltrager Gallery)

” My art is related to and bound by a fascination with animals. In essence the work is a synthesis of concepts relating to wildlife conservation and visually interpreting natural animal forms. Exploring the precarious balance of our relationship to nature reacquaints us with an exotic world that we are in danger of losing with all the inherent drama of that loss fueling a search for survival.” (www.ruthmarshall.com)

In a society that keeps acknowledging the use of animal pelts as a Fashion need when the cold days come, these awesome uber-detailed knitted pelts and skins should be a reminder for all of us of the need to preserve these species. And, that real animal pelts are way more beautiful when seen “live and alive”.

Ruth Marshall was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. She got her  BA in sculpture and printmaking at Phillip Institute of Technology, and in 1995  her M.F.A in sculpture at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Her work has been featured in multiple exhibitions, throughout the USA and internationally, and in several publications.

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