Cobweb Club

The Cobweb club is a mixed media installation in homage to Margaret Jane Mussey Sweat’s late 19th century woman’s club of the same name. Sweat was a noted literary figure, world traveler and supporter of the arts. Cobweb Club detail Cast paper jagaurs and wall painting detail Cobweb Club Installation at the Portland Museum of Art, Maine Cobweb Club Installation detail Model of the imagined club meeting room In keeping with the 19th century’s fascination with the natural world and Sweat’s own peculiar brand of whimsy, she devised the Cobweb Club’s name and motto and
presented her own natural history of spiders at one of the earliest meetings. Part of the purported goal of the club was to improve the reputation of spiders, which came to be revered as the Cobweb Club’s “patron saint” and served as a metaphor for the women themselves. Sax presents 15 cast paper spiders, thirteen cast paper jaguars, a wall painting and a small model of Mrs. Sweat’s parlor room in which all of these elements are imagined to have coexisted. The piece honors both the spirit of these women and the significance of their early feminist activities.