Date of this Version
Published in Textiles and Politics: Textile Society of America 13th Biennial Symposium Proceedings, Washington, DC, September 18- September 22, 2012.
This artist hand knits interpretations of exotic animals endangered by the illegal pelt trade. Each of her one-of-a-kind textiles represents an individual animal she spends months researching. This work brings attention to illegal wildlife trade and species loss in a way that unites a new, widened audience of scientists, art enthusiasts and the general public. Her textile pelts exemplify how artisan goods have the potential to have higher commercial value than a poached skin on the black market. The result would be a paradigm shift of the incentive in wildlife trade, which is the third largest illegal trade in the world. Her textiles reinforce that support of conservation and a society's culture is a more sustainable, viable and lucrative endeavor than the illegal wildlife trade. For over a decade the artist worked at the Bronx Zoo. She now researches animal pelts for her art at top institutions including the Museum of Natural History and the Peabody Museum. Her current project, the Tiger Pelt Project reproduces and interprets full-size tiger pelts as knitted textiles. Research so far has been conducted at the American Museum of Natural History and the Berlin Zoo, from pelt collections and captive live animals. There are thought to be only 3500 Tigers left in the wild, the artwork will draw attention to the plight of this iconic species.