Museum, Artist Requesting Wool Blankets for Project

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Nov. 21, 2008 – The Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Museum at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus and artist, Marie Watt, are making a request for wool blankets to use in an art project involving the community titled “Blanket Stories.”

Watt has offered to trade a silkscreen print for each wool blanket. The blankets will be accepted until Dec. 2.  Blanket tags, available at Crisp Museum, should be completed with the person’s name and their blanket story. The blankets will then be stacked and exhibited at the museum.

Watt will host a sewing circle workshop open to the community, to stitch a newly constructed art piece in the museum’s classroom on Dec. 2 from 4-8 p.m. and on Dec. 3 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-8 p.m.  No experience in stitching is required and participants may arrive or leave as they wish.

“I have found when your eyes are diverted and hand busy with needle, then cloth story telling just begins to happen,” Watt said.  “I think of thread as a metaphor for how we are connected. It isn’t unusual for people to realize that they have interests or friends in common. I also enjoy how each person has a unique stitch which in many ways is signature-like.”

Formally, Watt’s work draws from indigenous design principles, oral tradition, personal experience, and Western art history.  Her approach to art-making is shaped by the proto-feminism of Iroquois matrilineal custom, political work by Native artists in the 1960s, a discourse on multiculturalism, as well as abstract expressionism and pop art.

Unlike the pop artists, she uses a vocabulary of natural materials (stone, cornhusks, wool, cedar) and forms (blankets, pillows, bridges) that are universal to human experience.

Watt’s artwork is on exhibit until Dec. 20 in “Migrations: New Directions in Native American Art” at the Crisp Museum. Visit the museum’s Web site at www.semo.edu/museum/ for more information about this exhibit or call (573) 651-2301.

This exhibition is organized by the University of New Mexico (UNM) Art Museum, Albuquerque, N.M., in collaboration with the Tamarind Institute, a division of the College of Fine Arts, UNM. Support for this project was provided by TREX (Traveling Exhibitions Program of the Museum of New Mexico), the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Financial assistance for this project has been provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.

The Crisp Museum is located at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus, 518 S. Fountain St. in Cape Girardeau, Mo.