January 16, 2019

“Knitting the Endangered” at Hunterdon Art Museum

“OCELOT #6”: This hand-knitted textile is featured in “Ruth Marshall: Knitting the Endangered,” at the Hunterdon Art Museum through April 28. A textile-knit artist, Marshall hopes that her replications of endangered animals will remind people of the threat that animals face and the importance of wildlife conservation.

Ruth Marshall’s creations weren’t inspired by visits to art galleries or a university class, but by working at the Bronx Zoo.

Marshall is an Australian-American contemporary textile-knit artist, whose vivid hand-knit replications of endangered animals remind viewers of the threat the animals face and the importance of wildlife conservation. Her work is now spotlighted in a solo exhibition at the Hunterdon Art Museum (HAM).  “Ruth Marshall:  Knitting the Endangered” runs until April 28.

Marshall worked at the Bronx Zoo as an exhibition sculptor for 14 years and became very concerned about the plight of endangered animals. While on the job, she had a daily reminder of one such threatened creature.

“The snow leopard enclosure was right next to where I worked, so a snow leopard was the first cat I knitted from the zoo,” Marshall said.

Marshall spends months researching the animals she knits. Charting the pelts gives her the opportunity to inspect and observe the creatures up close, and to accurately transcribe the pelts into designs.

“I learn so much from them. They give me ideas and insights – especially with the paws,” Marshall said.

Marshall hopes viewers who see her exhibition will understand how beautiful these animals are, and how important it is to save these species from extinction for the health of the planet.

Marshall was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. Her work has widely exhibited at museums including MASS Art in Boston, Museum of Arts & Design in NYC, and The Textile Museum in Washington D.C. She teaches at the School of Visual Arts in the Bronx. She is also holds regular workshops and lectures about her art.

On Saturday, March 30, she’ll teach a workshop at HAM on knitting with plarn, plastic yarn made from plastic bags. Participants will learn how to crochet using this “free” yarn that can be made from plastic grocery bags. To learn more, visit www.hunterdonartmuseum.org.

The Hunterdon Art Museum is at 7 Lower Center Street in Clinton. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., and suggested admission is $5.