The Paws Family
The body of work that relates to the Paws Family seeks to relay the tale of a unique and mysterious rabbit clan. First discovered and developed through a rich correspondence between sisters Maggie Weiss and Miriam King, it was then shared with the artist (their daughter / niece).
A well-to-do family that made its wealth in textiles at the turn of the century, the Paws are compelling in their intriguing family history, diverse value systems, and individual aesthetic sensibilities. They are a living and growing, sprawling clan served by a respectable staff and housed in numerous locations across this country, though they are primarily based in New England.
The material relating to the Paws Family was first shown in the spring of 2008 in fulfillment of the artist’s BFA, installed in the old stairwell of Cornell University’s Tjaden Hall, Ithaca, New York.
In conjunction with the installation, an abridged transcript of Ms. Weiss and Ms. King’s correspondence relating the history of the Paws Family was published.
After the first public showing of the Paws Family Archive at Cornell University, the exhibit travelled. First, it was shown at Stella’s Cafe in Ithaca’s Collegetown neighborhood.
From there, it was selected to be a part of the Providence Art Windows project in Downtown Providence, Rhode Island, where it received a warm reception and some national attention. Becky Krystal from the Washington Post had this to say about the work:
I was partial to Jillian Piccirilli’s ‘The Paws Family,’ which features an exhibit of artifacts and historical accounts of the soap opera-worthy story of a clan of rabbits.
Stella’s Cafe | Ithaca, NY
P.A.W. | Providence, RI
While the first tellings of the Paws Family’s story were executed primarily through exhibit installations, the artist is currently working on a novel version. The text will be firmly rooted in the correspondence between Ms. Weiss and Dr. King, and some of the imagery will naturally draw upon already shared material and research. The final book, though, will be a highly illustrated volume featuring a body of new work by the artist.